The New England Patriots are known for being a difficult organization to adapt to.
Players like Chad Ochocinco, Albert Haynesworth and Reggie Wayne failed to make it in New England while thriving in careers elsewhere.
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Mack Wilson joined the Patriots this offseason after being traded to Chase Winovich to give both players fresh starts with new teams. Wilson comes to New England after spending three seasons with the Cleveland Browns, where he had just 163 tackles and one sack.
Wilson spoke about how he’s adjusted to football life in New England and how it’s been a challenge for him.
“Honestly, it was a challenge,” Wilson said. “I just got here, from day one, OTAs, I went through this process of them destroying my body and rebuilding me to be who they want me to be. It was tough but I managed to get through it by trying every day and obviously I feel like a better player. I feel more explosive. I feel faster, stronger, things like that.”
Wilson also provided insight into how the Patriots functioned and why they were successful.
“If you don’t love football, if you don’t eat, sleep, breathe football here, you won’t last long,” Wilson said. “The way they do things here is fundamentally different than other organizations and honestly I can understand why this organization has been so successful over the years.”
One person likely to help Wilson adjust to New England is Jerod Mayo. The former Patriots linebacker is now linebacker coach for New England, and Wilson had a lot of praise for him.
“Coach Mayo, I feel like myself, he’s a legend in my eyes,” Wilson said. “When he speaks, I listen. I pay attention to everything he does, everything he talks about in the briefing room. Obviously with the career he’s had here — you can ask any linebacker, is it fun to have a coach who really played the game, who put blood, sweat and tears into the same organization, and now he’s our coach who gives us back tools, advice, gems and even coaching at the end of the day. It’s a blessing.”
The Patriots need a strong front seven this season. With JC Jackson gone, New England’s pass rush will play a big part in the defense’s success. That means players like Deatrich Wise, Matthew Judon and Josh Uche need to step up. Since Wilson only has one career bag, he has to.
But while it may have been a challenge for Wilson to adjust to New England, the linebacker appears to have bought into the Patriot Way and is looking to fulfill his potential in 2022.