For most of the last two decades, the New England Patriots had at least some success to build on entering the offseason: they won six Vince Lombardi Trophies during the Tom Brady/Bill Belichick era as well as numerous division titles. The future consistently seemed bright even after seasons that did not see any Super Bowls being brought back to New England.
The 2021 offseason is different, though. Coming off a 7-9 campaign that saw them miss the playoffs for the first time since 2008, the Patriots are headed into the unknown. Not only will have to fill sizable holes on both sides of the ball, they also need to find their next long-term starting quarterback — a quest that is undoubtably more difficult than the team’s previous successes in this area makes it seem.
Despite all that, however, the club’s offseason approach will remained unchanged as Lawrence Guy recently pointed out.
The team captain and starting defensive tackle appeared on SiriusXM Radio ahead of the Super Bowl, speaking about his team and its offseason outlook. And according to Guy, it is very much what it has always been: trying to get better.
“Coach is going to do what he’s got to do,” Guy said about Patriots head coach and de facto general manager Bill Belichick. “When we left our exit meeting, it was one of those things like, ‘Hey, what’s going to happen next?’
“And he was like, ‘You guys have to understand: this was a season that we didn’t predict. We had Covid hit. We had a lot of situations that occurred on our team. There was a lot of new people. We didn’t win as many games as we wanted to win. But that doesn’t mean that we just put our tails under our butts and just walk away. That means you strive to be better the following year.’”
The Patriots quickly turning their attention to what lies ahead is nothing new — it is, in fact, what brought the world the “On to Cincinnati” mantra after a devastating loss versus the Kansas City Chiefs early in the 2014 season. Back then, the team was able to bounce back strong and eventually win its first championship in a decade.
Now, a similar mindset is needed to close the book on what was a challenging 2020 season and position the team for another playoff run. For Guy, here is little doubt that the entire team has already set its sights on what lies ahead, starting with the man on top.
“I’ve never been with the organization — win or loss — when we never came out the following year like, ‘Okay we need to be better.’ ‘We won a Super Bowl? We watch the corrections from the Super Bowl. We won it, but look at all these bad plays we have to improve so we don’t have to do this again the following year,’” he said.
“And that’s what type of person Coach is. We’re going to improve regardless of the situation. It might not be the outcome that some people might want, wins or losses, but it’s going to get better every single week.”
This process of getting better might also include bringing Lawrence Guy back into the fold: the veteran defender is headed for unrestricted free agency and therefore in need of a new contract. Given the uncertainty elsewhere both in terms of on-field performance and off-field leadership, trying to re-sign the 30-year-old should be a priority for New England.