|Big names don't change Patriots' approach|
|Written by Admin|
|Friday, 08 June 2007 11:14|
The Patriots added big-name players in the offseason - none bigger than Randy Moss - and with that came a buzz to minicamp. But one thing remains unchanged: the focus is on building a team that excels together, not spotlighting stars who stand apart.
Even Moss seems to buy into that.
``All I'm here to do is just to work hard every day,'' he said. ``Hopefully, I can just give something.''
Belichick sticks to his policy of avoiding questions about individual players, no matter how many headlines they made before he became their coach.
overall concept of the play.''
New England won three of the previous five Super Bowls and nearly made it to the game last season. But it blew a 21-3 lead and lost the AFC championship game at Indianapolis 38-34, a huge disappointment for a team that considers anything less than a championship unsatisfactory.
It spent the next few months picking up more talented veterans than it had in many previous offseasons - wide receivers Moss, Donte' Stallworth and Wes Welker, linebacker Adalius Thomas, running back Sammy Morris and tight end Kyle Brady. Linebacker Junior Seau, a 12-time Pro Bowl player whose career was in jeopardy after he broke his arm in the 11th game last season, is back.
The Patriots' past success has been a magnet for players who haven't experienced that.
``You want to go somewhere where you can have fun,'' said Kyle Brady, who spent the last eight seasons with Jacksonville, ``and fun in this league usually means somewhere you have a chance to win.''
He should fill the role of blocking tight end Daniel Graham, who left as a free agent for Denver. Morris will get some carries left when the Patriots chose not to re-sign Corey Dillon and to rely on second-year back Laurence Maroney. They were thin at wide receiver last year when Deion Branch was traded in a contract dispute so they made sure they had plenty of depth there this year.
``We've brought in some veteran players who have some leadership ability and who are really willing to make sacrifices to win,'' Brady said. ``So many of our guys have left for other teams, via free agency, or coaches have left, but it's nice, really, to add veteran players that are very professional.''
Players weren't even distracted by the absence of cornerback Asante Samuel, who is holding out for a contract extension after intercepting 12 passes last season.
``One person moves out, the next person moves in,'' said Ellis Hobbs, the other starting cornerback. ``Anybody that's not here, man, we prepare as if they're not going to be.''
Fullback Heath Evans is starting his third season with the Patriots after playing for Seattle and Miami. He raves about how happy he is in the system and the area.
``Names don't necessarily always mean a lot, but ... you get out here and you see a team that's actually working together,'' he said. ``You add a lot of different people, but yet it seems that the team first mentality is still taking precedence over everything else.''