Patriots coach Bill Belichick clarified a controversial remark he made on Monday at the NFL’s annual league meeting regarding the team’s past successes.

Since the departure of quarterback Tom Brady, New England struggled to continue the reign it enjoyed for the better part of the 21st century. When asked what fans should point to for optimism ahead of the 2023 season, Belichick responded “the last 25 years,” a comment which garnered criticism from former players.

“We’re not resting on our past laurels; that’s not the message to the team or the fans. We have never operated that way and aren’t now,” Belichick told The Boston Globe on Wednesday at LSU Pro Day.

New England finished 8–9 last season and went 7–9 in 2020 after Brady departed for Tampa Bay in free agency. The Patriots went 10–7 and qualified for the playoffs in ‘21, but were blown out by their division rival, the Bills, in the wild-card round.

ESPN analyst Tedy Bruschi and former Patriots tight end Benjamin Watson were puzzled by Belichick’s remarks, noting that their former coach always stressed the road ahead and not the successes of the past.

The Patriots will look to improve offensively after a disastrous 2022 season, bringing former Alabama offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien back into the fold to work with a familiar face: quarterback Mac Jones. New England also added JuJu Smith-Schuster in free agency as it looks to become a bit more explosive at wide receiver.