New England's offseason program kicked off Monday. Consequently, many players were back in Massachusetts when the Marathon bombings occurred.

Of course, the world couldn't stop turning. The Patriots, like everyone else, had to try and get back to business and two players met with reporters Thursday as planned.

"[It's the] start of something new, the unknown awaits us as the 2013 season is out there," special teams captain Matthew Slater said. "But there's a lot of work. We're a long ways away from being able to put a team out on the field that's going to compete. We have a lot of work to do. That's exciting. You have to enjoy the process. There's something to be said about the process and preparing for a season. That's something that a lot of us enjoy and something that a lot of people don't see, but that's where the season is made, in the offseason."

Linebacker Rob Ninkovich noted the defensive is already in good form just based on how many key players are returning.

Of 33 defensive players currently on the roster, 27 were Patriots in 2012.