The fifth and final installment of our series looking ahead to the opening of Patriots training camp July 26.
For the first time since 2011, when there were no joint training camp practices following the lockout, the Patriots are not scheduled to hold workouts with another club with summer -- at Gillette or elsewhere.
That could end up frustrating the Patriots on a few levels.
PREVIOUSLY IN COUNTDOWN TO CAMP SERIES
- Scary story: Will left tackle situation put Brady in peril?
- Gimme s'more: New additions to keep an eye on
- Wideouts to go at it
- These Patriots have something to prove
First, players could find themselves getting on each other's nerves relatively quickly. Part of the benefit of having joint practices isn't simply the ability to work against another club and another scheme. It's just nice for the people in pads to bang into opponents they haven't spent weeks banging into. It's typically described by players as a much-needed changeup. Intra-squad squabbles are commonplace this time of year, but if the Patriots go multiple weeks of practice, in the sun, taking occasional reps against a rookie fighting for a roster spot, it would come as no surprise if tempers flared.
Second, no joint practices could be an annoyance for the Patriots coaching staff and front office. For coaches, they've often taken opportunities in joint practices to give their top players some competitive-yet-controlled reps. Preseason game reps can't be nearly as orchestrated, but in order to get competitive work in, Patriots regulars could see themselves getting more in-game snaps this summer. For personnel people, no joint sessions means one less scouting opportunity. The Patriots have been very consistent in plucking joint-practice opponents to join their roster -- Eric Lee and Riley McCarron are with the Patriots after practicing against them with the Texans last summer -- but will be down a chance to get up-close-and-personal with potential Patriots.