The New England Patriots have plenty of reasons to be optimistic heading into the 2014 NFL season.
The Patriots went 12-4 and made it to the AFC Championship Game in 2013 despite their roster being decimated by injuries. Head coach Bill Belichick and director of player personnel Nick Caserio were pulling players off the scrap heap to fill in along the defensive line after Vince Wilfork and Tommy Kelly went down, and the team still somehow outplayed 28 other NFL teams.
The Patriots’ roster has only improved going into 2014, after adding cornerbacks Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner and wide receiver Brandon LaFell. The additions have Matthew Slater excited to be back at Gillette Stadium for voluntary offseason workouts.
“There’s a lot to be excited about,” Slater said Tuesday at Gillette Stadium. “There are some extremely talented players that we’ve added to the roster, along with some extremely talented players that we’ve had here for a while. But all that’s on paper and it really doesn’t mean anything right now. We haven’t even had one practice together, so we have a long way to go.”
After a grueling season, Slater said player take a few weeks off to give their bodies some rest. But the Patriots are already back pushing their bodies in full force. The entire team reportedly showed up Monday for voluntary workouts, and they don’t get another extended break until June.
“We know the cost that we have to pay, and we know it’s not going to be easy,” Slater said. “Whether it is easy or not, we are going to do everything we can to be successful year in and year out.”
The Patriots can be even more successful in 2014 than they were last season if they can add more depth in the draft and keep that pesky injury bug away during the season.
Check out the video below to hear more Slater.
Photo via Twitter/@Nick_Underhill