Patriots

McCourty twins say Patriots still haven't been given training camp dates

McCourty twins say Patriots still haven't been given training camp dates

The NFL and its players still have plenty to iron out before getting back to work. Until that happens, it sounds like there will be no set date for when they report to training camp.

The plan has been for teams to open training camps as scheduled on July 28. That's what league executive vice president Jeff Pash said on a conference call earlier this month after the NFL held a virtual meeting with owners.

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But players have not yet been given an official report date, according to Devin and Jason McCourty. They said on their "Double Coverage" podcast, which airs live on Fancred, that they did not yet know when they'd be required to show up for Patriots training camp.

"We do not," Devin McCourty said. "We have not got any letters for report dates. Just to give you an understanding of that, usually when we leave the facility from mandatory minicamp . . . we'd already have gotten a letter with what date we have to come back. It just goes to show everything going on and the communication between the PA and the NFL and trying to get everything to work out. I think that's what's kind of been the hold up of having a report date."

Players have been working out on their own and in groups in preparation of camps opening up in the near future, but there is plenty still to be determined before we have an idea of how football will look in 2020, which the McCourty twins noted in a Monday Morning Quarterback piece published the morning after their podcast aired.

"Will we have an option to opt out of the season? Will we be making our full salary? What if there is a COVID outbreak within the league?" they wrote. "It's so hard to make a decision of whether we will play or not without knowing what the exact plan is . . .

"Will we be able to have meetings in the building? Or will the meetings still be done virtually? Will testing be a few times a week or will it be every day? As players, how do we decide what is best for us and our families when we don’t know what we’re walking into?"

Not only "what" but "when," too.

Patriots Talk Podcast: Training camp position battles to watch

Patriots Talk Podcast: Training camp position battles to watch

Finally, the New England Patriots are back on the field at Gillette Stadium.

The new-look Pats had their first practice of 2020 on Wednesday, which means training camp position battles are officially underway. The obvious position battle in camp will be at the quarterback position between Cam Newton and Jarrett Stidham, but there are many more intriguing battles to keep an eye on.

In a brand new Patriots Talk Podcast, Tom E. Curran and Phil Perry break down the positions where these battles will take place.

Patriots Talk Podcast - Training Camp Preview: Burning Questions. Bold Predictions | Listen & subscribe | Watch on YouTube

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Perry named the Patriots' three most notable position battles, starting with the QB position. While it's technically a battle between Newton and Stidham, some believe it's a foregone conclusion Newton will be the Week 1 starter.

"You have the quarterback spot with Cam vs. Stidham. Let's move past that, we've talked enough about that, we both think Cam is going to win the job. Not a real battle, per se," Perry said.

"Let's go back to the outside linebackers. This is a four-way cage match between Chase Winovich, Anfernee Jennings, Shilique Calhoun, and Brandon Copeland. My guy is going to be Anfernee Jennings, but I do think that's a battle. Whatever that opposite John Simon edge spot is called, somebody's got to fill it.

"Number three, let's talk special teams ... who is your returner? Is it Kyle Dugger, your first draft pick in this year's draft? Is it J.J. Taylor? Fun as hell to watch, would be fun as hell to watch in the kicking game. Or is it last year's guy, Gunner [Olszewski]? They don't want to give it to Julian Edelman, we know that, so one of those three guys I think will win it."

For Curran, it's a newly-added safety who will have his attention in camp.

"I'm going to head over to the secondary for the position battle that I'm interested to watch," Curran said. "I have a good feeling of who's going to shine there and it's my defensive dark horse for this camp and this season -- it's going to be Adrian Phillips at the safety spot holding off a young Kyle Dugger.

"I think Adrian Phillips is going to be an absolute eye-opener at the safety position ... Adrian Phillips is a talented player, he's closer to [Patrick] Chung than he is Devin McCourty. He's going to be a really good player for the Patriots this year. But I'm going to be real interested to see how Dugger competes ... he's an athletic unicorn."

Curran and Perry also discuss the burning questions surrounding the Patriots, why the Pats should explore using the triple option, bold predictions for the 2020 season, and much more.

Check out the latest episode of the Patriots Talk Podcast on the NBC Sports Boston Podcast Network or on YouTube.

Patriots' 2020 draft pick Dustin Woodard retires before rookie season

Patriots' 2020 draft pick Dustin Woodard retires before rookie season

One of the New England Patriots' 2020 draft picks has decided to retire before his rookie season began.

The team announced Thursday it has placed offensive lineman Dustin Woodard on the reserve/retired list.

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Woodard, who played college football at the University of Memphis, was selected by the Patriots in the seventh round (230th overall) of April's draft. The 22-year-old center/guard was one of three offensive linemen taken by the Patriots in the 2020 draft, along with guard Michael Onwenu (sixth round) and tackle Justin Herron (sixth round).

Why is Woodard retiring? ESPN's Mike Reiss reported additional details:

The Patriots signed center Tyler Gauthier on Wednesday in a move that adds some depth to the position following Woodard's retirement. Woodard had a chance to make the roster as the backup center behind starter David Andrews.