With Patriots Training Camp set to open on Wednesday, veterans reported to Gillette Stadium and conducted the first virtual media availability of the season on Tuesday. Patriots leaders Matthew Slater, Devin McCourty, and David Andrews spoke about the start of the 2022 season.
"You almost feel like a kid going back to school from summer vacation. It's exciting to see the guys you work with, your friends," said special teamer Matthew Slater, who is entering his 15th season in New England. "That feeling, it never gets old."
As his 13th season with the Patriots approaches, 11-time team captain Devin McCourty also spoke about a new-look defense that will feature different faces in several key areas. One of those differences could be utilizing a versatile group of safeties thanks to the addition of Jabrill Peppers to go along with McCourty, Adrian Phillips, and Kyle Dugger. Last season, New England was among the league leaders in using three or more safeties on the field at once, with McCourty pointing out that it's nothing new for the Patriots' defense.
"It's exciting. I think for me, through my years here, we've had groups like this. When Tavon Wilson was here, Duron Harmon, Pat[rick] Chung, and Nate Ebner, we've always had not only a deep group of guys who have the versatility to do different things but also a good group of guys who love being around each other."
"Adding a New Jersey legend like Jabrill [Peppers], I think it's going to be good for us. Any time you can add good players to your group, it's an exciting time. I know for sure the coaching staff will find different ways to use everybody." McCourty said on Tuesday.
Next up was Patriots center David Andrews, who updated his status and is "making progress" as he works his way back from offseason shoulder surgery. Andrews is currently on the physically unable to perform list but can come off at any time and is, "just making sure we do the right thing, [don't] rush into it."
"I think the young man is fantastic, and I think he demonstrated great leadership from the moment he walked into this building," Slater said. "Look, I'll tell you, this is going to be his team."
The Patriots will begin Training Camp on the fields behind Gillette Stadium with practice scheduled to start at 9:30 am on Wednesday.