Patriots

Braxton Berrios taking 'rookie mentality' to Patriots training camp

Braxton Berrios taking 'rookie mentality' to Patriots training camp

After spending the entire 2018 season on injured reserve, Braxton Berrios is taking the proper attitude into Patriots training camp.

The 23-year-old wide receiver, who was picked in the sixth round of the '18 NFL Draft, is treating this year like it's his first in the league.

"I’m taking a rookie mentality to it, absolutely," Berrios said during Day 1 of camp on Thursday. "Being around last year, there’s a base knowledge that I have coming in, but yeah, there’s definitely the sense of urgency there.”

Berrios has real a chance to stand out in camp this year with Julian Edelman sidelined due to a thumb injury, Demaryius Thomas out after undergoing Achilles surgery, and a bunch of question marks around him on the Patriots' wide receiver depth chart. As he begins his quest to crack the 2019 roster, the University of Florida product is getting the proper guidance from a fellow wideout who began his career as a seventh-round pick and blossomed into a Super Bowl MVP.

"He's probably the hardest worker I've been around," Berrios said of Edelman. "There's a ton that I learn from him whether it's in the classroom or on the field."

Berrios has already turned heads this offseason by being a standout performer during mandatory minicamp and being one of the first Patriots to show up to training camp this summer. If he can follow up with an impressive showing in camp,  it'll certainly be tough to deny him a spot on the roster.

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Bill Belichick confident in Patriots' safety protocols despite opt-outs

Bill Belichick confident in Patriots' safety protocols despite opt-outs

The New England Patriots already have had eight players opt out of the 2020 NFL season, and few would blame Bill Belichick -- the oldest head coach in the league at 68 -- if he made a similar decision.

So, did concerns about COVID-19 lead Belichick to consider not coaching in 2020? It doesn't appear so.

"I feel very good about the environment that we're in," Belichick said Friday in a video conference with reporters. "I feel fine."

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Belichick also confirmed no coaches on his staff have backed out of the 2020 season.

The Patriots are in the "acclimation period" of training camp, with players going through non-padded walk-throughs outside Gillette Stadium as they ramp up for their first padded practice on Aug. 17.

According to Belichick, the players and staff in the building feel confident in their safety so far.

"I can't speak for everybody, but I think my impression is that as an organization, as a coaching staff, the support people, the players -- there's a comfort level with what we're doing and who's doing it and how we're doing it, and we're being productive," Belichick said.

"So, if concerns or problems come up, then we'll address those. But right now, I think it's a good working environment. We're getting a lot done."

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The Patriots, like every other team, have to follow rigorous safety protocols that include frequent COVID-19 tests, temperature checks and physical distancing measures. That "new normal" will take some getting used to, but Belichick believes the protocols have helped create an environment that coaches and staff feel safe in.

"The organization has taken a lot of steps to ensure everyone's safety and opportunity to do their job and do it safely and do it productively," Belichick said. 

"Certainly there's a lot of responsibility on each one of us to do things in a way that doesn't affect others negatively, that we take the proper precautions that we can and should, so that's what we're doing."

Mohamed Sanu shouts out Cam Newton in Patriots practice Instagram post

Mohamed Sanu shouts out Cam Newton in Patriots practice Instagram post

Mohamed Sanu finally doesn't have to fly across the country to work out with his new quarterback.

The New England Patriots began Phase 1 of training camp this week by hitting the practice field as a team outside Gillette Stadium.

That means Cam Newton joined his Patriots teammates in an official capacity for the first time, and Sanu seems pretty excited about having his new quarterback in the building.

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Here's the Instagram shout-out Sanu gave Newton Thursday on Instagram via a photo of the two in Patriots gear at training camp:

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Beannnn & Ace booogie wit da hoodie

A post shared by Mohamed Sanu Sr. (@mohamedsanu) on

Sanu and Newton teamed up for informal throwing sessions in Los Angeles just days after the 31-year-old quarterback signed with the Patriots in free agency and appeared to develop a strong connection.

Like Newton, Sanu has a lot to prove this season after an ankle injury plagued his 2019 campaign with New England. The 30-year-old sprained his ankle in his second game with the Patriots last season after a midseason trade from the Atlanta Falcons and caught three passes or fewer in his final six games of the season.

Sanu projects to be the Patriots' No. 2 wide receiver this season behind Julian Edelman, so if he can stay healthy, he could go a long way in helping Newton and the Patriots finding success this season despite a wave of player opt-outs.