Sebastian Vollmer speaks Tuesday at Gillette Stadium. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)
FOXBORO — Sebastian Vollmer wasn’t about to take the bait.
The 34-year-old veteran offensive tackle took time out from his offseason workout Tuesday at Gillette Stadium and spoke about the process of moving on and building something new for the coming season.
When last we saw the right tackle entering his eighth season in the NFL, he was playing left tackle on a make-shift offensive line that was manhandled by the defensive front of the eventual Super Bowl champion. It was a performance that precipitated the departure of offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo and ushered in the return of Dante Scarnecchia.
Did the way the season ended last year (losses in Miami and Denver) factor into inspiration for this year?
“It’s a new year. I feel like we don’t need extra motivation for anything,” Vollmer said. “I think we come out here and try to better yourself as a player, as a team, as a group, all that stuff. Putting in these hours and working toward the common goal. Now, it’s getting ready for OTAs next week and then we have training camp coming up and all that stuff. So, it’s a long road ahead. But it’s just doing what we’re told to do and grinding it out, really.
“It’s good. There’s a lot of new teammates, obviously,” Vollmer said of the re-worked offensive line. “It’s exciting for us to get to know them and all get on the same page with OTAs starting next week. Exciting times.”
Exciting indeed. Naturally, everyone wanted to get a feel for what it’s like to have Scarnecchia back in the budiling.
“Obviously, had him my first five years. Excellent coach. Can’t praise him high enough. So obviously, us as players we’re asked to do to the best of our abilities. We’re going to keep that approach the same. Expecting good things. I think he expects the best of us and himself. I think just the way he coaches, detail-oriented. He just gets the best out of you.”
Vollmer downplayed the familiarity aspect of Scarnecchia.
“I don’t know. There are new players at every position in a year,” Vollmer said. “I don’t think that matters too much. I think you kind of re-do your whole thing every year and prepare yourself as good as you can. It’s not like we’re doing something completely new here. So, if you’ve spent a year here or more, there’s some familiarity with the system, obviously. I feel like you approach every year like you’ve never hear it before. I think that’s my approach and I think that might be best for maybe picking up a couple of things you didn’t realize before. I think it’s just starting from scratch and building the foundation again.”
Does Vollmer feel DeGuglielmo was a fall guy in the way the ’15 season ended?
“I think every team has the same goal in mind, especially in this phase now,” Vollmer said. “If ultimately your season comes to a crashing end, it’s never a good feeling. I think you do a lot of self-evaluation of things you could’ve done better. I think in the following year, you try to implement the good things and cut out the bad things. I don’t question anybody’s effort. We all gave whatever we could. In the end, it wasn’t good enough. We’ve got to give the Super Bowl champs all the credit and it’s onto a new year for us now.”
Any chip on the shoulder, individually or as a group?
“Again, I think that all might sound good for the media, playing things up,” he added. “It’s a new year. It’s new people on our team and everywhere in the league. You’re trying to build something new because it’s just not the same team for anybody. I think it’s just starting over.
“I just come in here and work as hard as I can to have a good season.”