The New England Patriots are finding ways to get ready for the 2020 NFL season amid the outbreak of the coronavirus.
Team facilities, including Gillette Stadium, are closed right now during the COVID-19 pandemic in an effort to help stop the spread of the virus. This prevents players from gathering together to lift weights and do other preparations for the upcoming season, but according to NFL Media's Tom Pelissero and Mike Garafolo, the Patriots are one of three teams that will begin virtual workouts this week.
Twelve teams opted to begin the “virtual period” of their offseason program today, but only three will actually hold virtual *workouts*: the #Bills, #Colts and #Patriots, per me and @MikeGarafolo. Others will do classroom work, etc., but no physical training.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) April 20, 2020
NFL Media's Ian Rapoport tweeted a full list of the 12 teams beginning their virtual offseason programs Monday:
The NFL teams starting their virtual offseason programs today: The #Falcons, the #Bills, the #Panthers, the #Bears, the #Browns, the #Cowboys, the #Colts, the #Chiefs, the #Chargers, the #Patriots, the #Giants, and the #Redskins. The rest wait a week.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 20, 2020
This is an important offseason for the Patriots given the roster turnover at key positions.
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For the first time since 2001, there will be a competition for the starting quarterback job after Tom Brady left to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a free agent. Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer are the two quarterbacks currently on the team's depth chart, and it's possible a third one could be added to the mix by the time the 2020 NFL Draft concludes Saturday. The defense also was hit hard in free agency, specifically at linebacker with the losses of Elandon Roberts, Kyle Van Noy and Jamie Collins.
Staying on the same page and learning new/different roles will be challenging for Patriots players (and everyone else in the NFL) this offseason, but it's important for them to do everything possible to be prepared so they can be ready to go when teams are allowed to reconvene together on the practice field again.