For the first time in 20 years, the Patriots will not have Tom Brady on their team.
This is obviously a huge change and will impact the way the team does things, especially on offense, but speaking on a conference call Wednesday, defensive captain Devin McCourty said the goals of the team will not change.
“Yeah, my goal is always winning as many games as possible," McCourty said. "I don’t think you ever come into a season and talk, ‘Super Bowl, Super Bowl,’ it is about improving and winning games along the way. I think that will stay the same. Like I said, now you have a lot of time to be on Twitter and stuff and a lot of what I have seen is people tweeting me like, ‘Enjoy what you guys had. It’s over. You guys won’t win a game.’ I think that is natural, though. I think if I was a fan and I watched the team and I watched a guy for a long time and he left and he was so great, I would say that team would be terrible too.
"It’s expected, but I think it is our job as players to go out there and compete when we get that opportunity. I just think for us as a team, my 10 years there, that is always going to be the same. I am passionate about that, (Matthew) Slater, the coaching staff, so I don’t think that is going to change. That is how we’re going to be. I expect is that is how we will lead the team and get new guys, young guys to follow the same way.”
McCourty, who was already a big leader in the locker room, is looking forward to a new challenge of leading a team that does not have Brady.
“I am excited," he said. "I think we have a great group of guys just in the locker room. I think it has been like that for years. Obviously, we had probably the greatest football player ever on our team so I think people really didn’t look at the leadership at different guys in the locker room. I know everyone is like, ‘What is going to happen? Everything is brand new.’ I don’t really see it like that. I see it continuing what we’ve been doing and guys assuming the same leadership roles when you look at myself, Slater, Jules (Julian Edelman), (Patrick) Chung, all those guys have been there 10-plus years, so we just have to continue to do what we’ve been doing.”
The Patriots have made the playoffs in every season since 2009.