New England may be 2-0 in the preseason, but the players insist they're not letting a modicum of success get the better of them.
Rookies, in particular, can fall victim to this, which is why the Patriots often instill in them the importance of staying humble when talking to the media. Listen to them speak and you'll pick up on a recurring word: improve.
That tight end Zach Sudfeld. He's been impressing everyone with his play since the spring, culminating with his touchdown and two-point receptions against the Buccaneers last week. Here was his reaction Wednesday when the subject was broached.
"A lot of that has developed on the practice field. I try to come out here every day and compete and keep getting better… It doesn't really matter what we did last week. I have a lot to improve on for this week," said Sudfeld.
He maintained that he's not listening to all the media hype surrounding him thus far, either.
"I've been pretty busy in the facility just trying to focus on getting better. There are so many things I have to improve on, really. I'm just a rookie and have a lot of work to do to get to where I want to be. It's a long road ahead, but I look forward to doing it. It's been good so far."
Wide receiver Aaron Dobson has also been turning heads since his arrival this spring. The second-round draft choice acknowledged that this third preseason game, against Detroit on Thursday night, will be as close to regular season-like as he'll experience before the season opener. But here again, he found a way to sneak the word "improve" in his response.
"I can feel the transition," Dobson began. "[The veterans and coaches] definitely said, 'This game is going to be more intense out there.' I already know it's going to pick up when the regular season comes. There's a lot more to play for… After the first game [at Philadelphia], I had to get the jitters out, but I'm just trying to improve every day and be the best I can be."
It's not just rookies, though, who are towing that company line. Veteran QB Tim Tebow was asked directly by one reporter if he's anxious about next week's two cutdown dates.
"No," insisted Tebow with his characteristic smile, "I'm just worried about improving every single day and having fun out there at practice."
Thursday night's game against the Lions kicks off at 7:30.