FOXBORO -- Benjamin Watson understands what it means to be part of the New England Patriots, which should help make his transition back to the team after a 10-year absence a smooth one.
The veteran tight end spent the first six years of his career in New England before leaving in 2009 as a free agent. The offense, the playbook, and much of the personnel outside of Tom Brady have changed over that span, but the culture around the team is very much the same.
"That's something that is familiar. That's something that hasn't changed," Watson said Thursday after OTAs at Gillette Stadium. "A lot of things have changed, obviously offensive terminology, players, some coaches have changed. But the culture is the same. It's highly competitive. There's high accountability. There's very high expectations.
"That's not only in the locker room and on the practice field but it's with the media, it's with this area of the country. Having played in different areas of the country, there's just different feels from different fanbases. And so a lot of the culture here is the same. You realize when you go different places that it's different. It's not bad or good, but things are just different. That's something that I think has really helped the team be so successful over the last couple decades."
Despite his familiarity with Brady, there's still a lot of new material for Watson to learn and study as training camp approaches. This process is nothing new for the 38-year-old veteran, who's played for four different teams and in several different offenses throughout his NFL career.
"(The playbook is) quite different, as to be expected," Watson said. "Josh (McDaniels) has been here, he's left, he's come back. There have been different offensive coaches, different players that have been here, and sometimes you cater to your personnel.
"So, things might change. The terminology has to change because obviously after time, defenses aren't dumb. They pick up on what the quarterback's saying, so they change. So, offensively, we have to change terms and stuff like that. There are a lot of different terms. There are a lot of different formations, terminology. There are some carryover, a little bit, but so far it has been a process of learning a lot of new stuff, which is good."
Watson has a really good opportunity with the Patriots, who are undergoing a lot of changes at tight end following the offseason departures of veterans Rob Gronkowski (retirement) and Dwayne Allen (released). He's off to a good start, too, after catching a touchdown during Thursday's OTAs.
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