Whether it is Do Your Job or No Days Off, the New England Patriots under head coach Bill Belichick have built their team on a few well-known principles. Among these leitmotifs is another one that is frequently mentioned by players and coaches alike.
One Day at a Time.
That short phrase has been a staple of Patriots interview answers for the last two decades. Obviously, they are not the only NFL team using this saying, but it has been become synonymous with their approach to preparation over the years.
This summer’s training camp is no exception. Head coach Bill Belichick is taking things one day at a time. As is second-year linebacker Josh Uche is. Rookie cornerback Marcus Jones is as well.
You know that feeling when you say a word so often it practically loses its meaning? Well, One Day at a Time is running risk of doing that as much as it is used in New England these days. Luckily, team captain Devin McCourty is here to help.
On Monday, the team captain spoke with reporters to explain the importance of the saying and the mindset that it represents.
“It sounds simple but really you take it one day at a time, one play at a time,” McCourty said.
“Told the young guys a lot of times, don’t get too high on your good plays and don’t get too low on your bad plays. Training camp is a process all the way throughout. No one’s going to have the perfect day, and then tomorrow it doesn’t matter. That just doesn’t happen. You have to come out and do those things day-in and day-out.”
McCourty has been with the Patriots since his arrival as a first-round selection in the 2010 draft. Over the years that followed, he developed into one of the best safeties of his era as well as a pillar upon which the organization built its Dynasty 2.0 and is transitioning from the Tom Brady to the Mac Jones era.
The 34-year-old, who signed a one-year contract extension earlier this offseason, is nearing the end of his career. Nonetheless, he is still as important to the team’s operation as any other member of its locker room. If he says the One Day at a Time mindset has to be adopted, so it is.
“I told the guys today the first day of pads is easy to get up for. It’s about the following days,” McCourty added on Monday. “How do we regroup? How do we come back out? Come with the same energy, the same discipline, take what we’re learning as more stuff rolls in. How do we know that stuff and get better at it? Because that’s what the season is.
“We’re going to play the game, it’s going to be good, it’s going to be bad, but next week no one’s going to care, we have to play another game. That’s a challenge for us and you want to use those training camp days to kind of have that example of the season, to try to come out and do that as a unit.”
The Patriots have four days this week to get used to doing that: they are on the practice fields from Monday through Thursday, with McCourty filling his usual role as one of the team’s tone-setters.