Tom Brady Ready to Put Super Bowl Loss in Past, As Familiar Faces Have Him Excited for New SeasonThe Patriots returned to work this week, with organized team activities taking place in Foxboro. OTAs don't often mean too much, but it does signify a new beginning for teams.

That's exactly what the Patriots are looking for after a heart-breaking Super Bowl loss to the Giants in February, denying Tom Brady and the Patriots their latest chance to add to their ongoing legacy.

That was in the past, of course, and Brady and the Patriots are more than ready to admit that.

"I said the other day that's part of the offseason and it's part of learning as a player," Brady told reporters Thursday at Gillette Stadium. "Hopefully you get a chance to be in this position again. At this point, we try to move on and you try to look forward to what this season is going to be about.

"It's a different group of players, different coaches, a little different system. You're trying to put together a team here that can go out and compete every single week. You don't look back too much on the past and say, 'What if? What if?' You'd drive yourself crazy. At some point you have to put it in the past and move on."

It's a different year, yes, and there is different personnel, no doubt. The system is also technically different, too, but there is no denying there's also a lot of familiarity for Brady as he returns to work.

Josh McDaniels is back in New England, serving as the offensive coordinator now that Bill O'Brien has moved on to Penn State. Starting in 2001, McDaniels served as an assistant in New England before eventually ascending to offensive coordinator, a post he held from 2006-2008. 

"It's nice to have the familiarity with Josh kind of stepping into that role," Brady said of McDaniels, who also served as the team's quarterbacks coach from 2004-2008. "I really enjoy him. We've had a great working relationship for a very long time. It's good to see him out there and work together. It's been a fun spring."

There's also the return of receivers like Donte Stallworth and Jabar Gaffney, whom the Pats brought in this offseason. And while Wes Welker's contract situation sounds like it's far from resolved, Brady can sleep easy at night knowing that one of his favorite weapons is at least under contract for this season after Welker signed his franchise tender last month.

"We've brought in quite a few guys," Brady said. "Hopefully the mix of guys we had last year with the new guys can create some different options for us. It's a very competitive position. All of our days with the new guys can create some different options for us. [Competition] will help our defense out, it will help our offense out."

There's no reason to believe that the Patriots can't get back to that place this season, however. As they have been for much of the Brady and Bill Belichick era, New England comes back, if not as the prohibitive favor, on the short list of teams that should expect to contend for a Super Bowl.

Yet, at the same time, the window could start to close at some point on Brady and this era of Patriots football, if it hasn't already. That may still be down the road, if Brady's continued elite performances are any indication. With the stable of receivers and tight ends he's been blessed with, there's no reason to expect a drop off any time in the near future.

However, Brady is aware that time waits for no one, and even his clock is ticking.

"Maybe at 34 I feel a little differently in that sense," he said. "I appreciate, I love it just as much now as I ever have. I love being out here for the OTAs. When I was 25, I was probably complaining about OTAs. But when you're 34, you're not. You're saying, 'All right, let's see what kind of team we've got.' I've really got nothing else going in my life so I try to come out here and do a good job for this team."

That last statement may be a little bit modest for someone who spends his life in the spotlight as much as Brady does, but Patriots fans have to like what they hear out of their leader's mouth, even if it is "only" OTAs.

These OTAs signal a new beginning for Brady and the Patriots, but at the same time, they're stepping back in time so to speak. That combination may make all the difference for a team and a quarterback that remain as hungry as ever.