FOXBORO, Mass. — Ask pretty much anybody on the New England Patriots about returning to training camp as defending Super Bowl champions, and the answer more or less will be the same: The page has been turned.
So, predictably, that was the sentiment around Day 1 of Patriots training camp Thursday morning at the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium.
It began with Bill Belichick, who couldn’t have seem less concerned about the results from 2018.
“Well, every year is its own year, so we start all over again every year. We’re not really worried about last year,” Belichick said before practice. “I think every year is its own year and you start from scratch and you build from the bottom up every year. That’s what we’re doing.”
With Belichick’s comments in mind, safety Duron Harmon said the message of moving on starts with Belichick.
“He lets us know from the moment we start OTAs that last year is last year, this year is this year,” Harmon said. “What we want to accomplish this year has nothing to do with last year, we have to put the same work in — probably even more work than we did last year. We’ve got to come out here each and every day with a hard worker’s mentality and just continue to put the work in and get better each and every day. Not get complacent, but always just shooting for greatness and shooting for that standard of excellence. And when we do that, good things happen.
“The parade, it’s all in the past,” Harmon later noted. “I think the last thing that we celebrated about the Super Bowl was the ring ceremony and I think after you do that everything is done with last year. We have a great group of guys this year, a great coaching staff and we’re really looking forward to seeing what we can do this year.”
Fullback James Develin, now a three-time Super Bowl champ, echoed Harmon and Belichick.
“You try to put that stuff in the past. You enjoy it when we were celebrating after the game and stuff like that, but you don’t get to carry anything over from last year. So when we showed up Day 1 of offseason training we knew we had to start from the ground up and build ourselves back up and try to improve every single day and that’s what we’re out here doing.”
While the Patriots certainly must’ve benefitted from the lessons learned from yet another lengthy postseason run last season, it doesn’t sound like it’ll be on the front of their mind at any point.