FOXBORO -- The Patriots are in Phase 1 of the offseason program. They're primarily working out. Occasionally they're with their coaches, but not to the extent they will be in the weeks and months ahead.
That's why right now, with a handful of Patriots position groups still without a coach (officially), it's not exactly an emergency situation. The team has not yet announced its cornerbacks coach, for instance, but Stephon Gilmore didn't seem too concerned about it when asked Thursday.
"They haven't told us," Gilmore said. "Just kinda working out right now. Little meetings, but nothing that we know."
Asked if he was eyeing a player-coach opportunity, he paused.
"Nah, I can't do that yet," Gilmore said. "We got a lot of good players in the secondary. We all coach each other up. We all make each other better and we push each other. No matter who's coaching us, they're going to put us in a position to make plays. But we want to put pressure on ourselves to make plays, too."
Gilmore is the top player in what looks like it'll be one of the most experienced secondaries in the league -- as it was last year. Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung achieved the clichéd coach-on-the-field status years ago. Jason McCourty has more than a decade in the league under his belt, and Duron Harmon is well into his second contract with the team.
There's youth in the defensive backfield as well, with players like J.C. Jackson, Keion Crossen and Duke Dawson back for 2019. But it's not a room lacking for leadership.
The rest of the Patriots defense has veteran guidance as well. Dont'a Hightower and Kyle Van Noy are projected to be the primary contributors at the linebacker level again this season, and Lawrence Guy has embraced a leadership role along the defensive line.
But the team is still (officially) without a defensive coordinator. That's unusual for this time of year. But, again, Gilmore shrugged it off when the topic was broached at Gillette Stadium Thursday.
"It's not strange," he said. "We got a great coach. It's the National Football League. People go and come. Gotta be able to adjust. Pretty sure the coaches we have will put us in the best position to make plays."
Among 'em? Bill Belichick. Hard to envision him being more involved in 2019, Gilmore indicated, because he's constantly involved. Heavily.
"He's always involved," Gilmore said. "I wouldn't say [he'll be more involved] because he's always in the meetings. Nothing new. It's going to be an opportunity for all of us to get better. Like I said, those coaches, they'll put us in the best position to make plays."
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