"As players, we’re going to have to start in the offseason training, and basically, everybody is going to have to be accountable,” Wilfork said, building steam. “If you’re on the field, you have to give me 100. You have to give me 100 percent. Always. We have to weed out the bad seeds, point blank. If you can’t give me what I’m giving you on the field, I don’t need you on the field with me. Point blank. That’s how you win. You got to build trust. Show me that I can trust you. I have no problem, if a guy’s not giving me that, I have no problem telling that guy I don’t need him on the field, and I have no problem going to tell Bill (Belichick) I don’t want him on the field. That’s point blank.”
“And that’s how it’s going to have to work,” added Wilfork, who was only getting warmed up.
“At the end of the day, we on the field together, we travel together, we play together, we camp together, we room together sometimes, we eat together, we at meetings together. I mean, sometimes we’re together more than we’re with our families,” Wilfork said. “Sometimes, over night, we stay at hotels together, we need to build that bond. But in that bond, you have to have accountability. Guys, we need to trust one another when we’re on the field, we need to compete at a high level on every play, if you’re tired, that’s why we got guys that’s backups that can come in. But it’s no question that we have that depth, but we gotta pull it out of guys. This year’s going to be a huge test. Leadership — we got a bunch of leadership on this team.”
“A lot of guys are not used to seeing young leaders,” he said. “All the leaders we had was older guys. Rodney, (Richard) Seymour, Bruschi, Vrabel. You name it, they were older guys not here anymore. But now you’re starting to see younger guys becoming leaders earlier. It don’t take seven, eight, nine years now to be a leader. We’re a young ballclub. But guess what? These young players we have — (Jerod) Mayo, (Brandon) Meriweather, Ty (Warren), myself, got Tom (Brady), got Randy (Moss). You have guys in this locker room that knows what it takes to win. You just gotta trust it. And we as players and as the leaders of our team. We got to ask more of ourselves and of each other. Coaches coach, players play. … We all got to be on the same page.”
He reminisced about some tough road trips, some wins and some losses. But what happens when it’s a bad result? How does the team respond?
“We won around here for a long time, and other teams sat back and watched us,” Wilfork said. “From the last year or two, teams really wanted to play us because they thought we wasn’t the same. We gotta do something to change that. It’s going to have to start with the players. The leaders of this team. We have to let them know, this is how we’re going to have to do the things that we need to do to be successful. It’s no question in my mind, we have the guys to do it. But just because we have to do a little extra, that’s not a big deal. If working a little extra gets us to where we need to be, I’ll take that 100 times. I’m willing. Guys feel the same way."