The Patriots are in a period of change, with new Head Coach Bill Belichick in the picture and several veterans out of the picture. These periods can be both exciting and trying on team members as there are adjustments that need to be made.
New England wide receiver Troy Brown is being tabbed as one of the keys to the rebuilding project. The eight-year veteran has been with the team as long as anyone else on the squad, and his five-year, $13 million contract should keep him here for years to come.
Brown returned to Foxboro last week for the start of offseason workouts with new strength and conditioning coach Mike Woicik. Brown said the initial workouts presented differences from previous years.
"I've been working some new muscles, places we never really worked in the groin," Brown said. "[Woicik] is letting us do the things we feel comfortable with. If there are things that guys don't feel comfortable doing, he's got more than one way to do it."
Brown also said that Woicik has a different approach to dealing with players than previous strength coach Johnny Parker.
"It's just a different feeling. Johnny used to jump on you right away as soon as you walked through the door," Brown said. "Mike's more mild and just wants to speak to you."
More noticeable than the change in strength coaches are the player changes Belichick has made. Though is won't be easy, Brown said the current Patriots have to get used to the absence of veterans Bruce Armstrong, Ben Coates, Shawn Jefferson and others.
"Whatever changes [Belichick' makes, we have to adapt and play with it," Brown said. "He's seen some of the guys and I think he's confident with the guys he knows."
One change Belichick didn't make has pleased Brown. Speed coach Mike Morris was retained, which Brown said was very important.
"I'm glad Mike Morris is still here," Brown said. "He's helped my career a whole lot."
So, are the changes going to help the team? Brown thinks so. He also thought the team was better than their record and division finish indicated last season.
"I think we always had the talent, but we didn't always play to our ability," Brown said. "I think we had way more talent than Philly, but they still beat us. We just didn't play up to it for whatever reason. I don't know if we just got comfortable or what."