FOXBORO, Mass. — Of the several factors that led to the end of the Bill Belichick era with the Patriots, special teams decline was a major one.

From rookie kicker Chad Ryland missing a number of key field goal attempts to mental mistakes, the Patriots struggled among the league’s worst units.

Head coach Jerod Mayo looks for a clean slate with the hiring of special teams coordinator Jeremy Springer. With special teams experience at the college level and with the Los Angeles Rams, Springer is preaching a return to excellence at the forefront of his coaching.

“My approach is to get back to the elite level that it’s been,” Springer told reporters at Gillette Stadium on Wednesday. “… (We can) be a team where when we take the field, teams have to prepare for us.”

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Springer alluded to the high-level production during the Patriots’ championship years, often headlined by the play of the recently retired Matthew Slater. As a new era takes place in New England, Springer emphasized how games can be decided by one special teams play.

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“At this level, the margin of error is so tight,” Springer explained. “If you miss a field goal or give up a big return, that right there can cost you the game. In college, depending on what type of team you’re playing, like an FCS team that’s not on your level of talent, you can have a significant advantage there. At this level, everyone is good. The margin is thin. That margin of error is crucial.”

Springer’s message came on a day where “fresh starts” were a theme across the coaching staff as the Patriots look to build back from a 4-13 season.

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As one of three new coordinators under Mayo alongside offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt and defensive coordinator DeMarcus Covington, Springer looks to lead the Patriots forward with his own unit in 2024.

Featured image via Eric Canha/USA TODAY Sports Images