Devin McCourty understands why expectations are low for the New England Patriots following the departure of Tom Brady, but insists they remain focused on winning without their long-time quarterback.
Brady ended his long and successful association with the Patriots earlier this month, opting to leave as a free agent and continue his storied career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
His time in New England included six Super Bowl wins working under head coach Bill Belichick, who must now find a way to succeed with a new quarterback at the helm.
The experienced Brian Hoyer has returned to the Pats to join Jarrett Stidham, selected by the team in the fourth round of last year's draft, and Cody Kessler on the roster.
Having signed a new deal to remain in New England, McCourty is calm about the situation facing the franchise as they begin a new era, revealing how the goal to keep improving has not changed.
"I think my goal is always to win as many games as possible. I don't think you ever come into the season and talk, 'Super Bowl, Super Bowl, Super Bowl'," the defensive back said on a conference call.
"It's about improving and winning games along the way as you improve. I think that will stay the same.
"Especially now, you have a lot of time to be on Twitter and stuff, so a lot of what I've seen is just people tweeting me like, 'Enjoy what you guys had, it's over, you guys won't win a game'.
"I think that's natural, though. I think if I was a fan and I watched the team and watched a guy for a long time and he left and he was so great, I would say that team is going to be terrible too.
"That's expected, but I think it's our job as players to go out there and compete when we get the opportunity.
"I think, for us as a team, in my 10 years here, that's always going to be the thinking."