Postcard from Training Camp: Patriots break out the pads for some contact on Day 3

Postcard from Training Camp: Patriots break out the pads for some contact on Day 3

FOXBORO -- Day 3 of Patriots training camp practice was an interesting one. They didn't quite go the full two hours we're accustomed to seeing. Was that based on the heat? The fact that players performed well enough (in the heat, in pads) to call it early? We'll find out.

Here's what we saw before the team went over to their conditioning hills (aka Mount Belichick) to end the workout . . . 


Full pads. But not everyone was fully suited up. David Andrews was on the field but in shells and didn't participate in drills. Tom Brady was back in action, and the three quarterbacks wore red, as did Patrick Chung. Danny Etling continues to work out with receivers in White. 


Julian Edelman, Nate Ebner, Ken Webster, Demaryius Thomas, Cole Croston and Yodny Cajuste continue to miss time. Ditto for Michael Bennett. Byron Cowart -- who left yesterday's practice early -- was not spotted. 

Isaiah Wynn, Deatrich Wise and Sony Michel -- who was removed from PUP on Saturday -- all were limited participants.


Randy Moss (ESPN), Rob Ninkovich (ESPN), Willie McGinest (NFL Network) and Rodney Harrison (NBC, this year's Patriots Hall of Fame inductee) were present for the session. Robert Kraft arrived late as well. 


After warming up, we saw a fair amount of half-line running periods with Joe Thuney at left tackle, Ted Karras at left guard, James Ferentz at center, Shaq Mason at right guard and Marcus Cannon at right tackle. (Later in the session we saw Ferentz and Karras swap spots.)

During special teams periods, Gunner Olszewski, Maurice Harris, Patrick Chung and Braxton Berrios were punt returners. 

Michel looked solid as he ran routes with Brian Hoyer while the majority of the team focused on the kicking game. He cut well off his leg but went to a lower field for conditioning when the team went into 11-on-11 work. Damien Harris was the beneficiary of a significant number of touches during team work. 

During the same special-teams period, Tom Brady spent his time throwing to rookie receivers Jakobi Meyers and N'Keal Harry. Meyers continues to catch our eye on a daily basis with either a good play or a sign that the coaching staff appreciates what he's doing. 

11-ON-11 WORK

Brady was 0-for-4 in 11-on-11 passing, but today was more about the run game. Stephon Gilmore almost picked one. Another deep pass to Phillip Dorsett -- which was accurate -- was broken up by a nice play from Jason McCourty and JC Jackson.

Hoyer was 2-for-2 in the 11-on-11s, hitting a nice throw into the end zone to Harry. Stidham was 2-for-2, hitting Maurice Harris on a low throw that Harris told me after the session was snatched before it hit the ground. 

Other 11-on-11 notes: Ted Karras made a nice block on Danny Shelton to clear space for Damien Harris; Harris looks like a stout runner with a nice wide base as he approaches the line of scrimmage; Derek Rivers made a nice play in the run game as an outside linebacker, stuffing Harris after defeating a Stephen Anderson block; Trent Harris got good penetration on what looked like a run blitz during one rep; ditto for Christian Sam. 

In the 11-on-11 the Patriots seemed to be in a base 3-4 alignment with Mike Pennel, Lawrence Guy and Adam Butler up front. Linebackers Dont'a Hightower, Jamie Collins, Ja'Whaun Bentley and Kyle Van Noy were also out there early. Interesting to note and worth keeping an eye on that front-seven alignment as camp progresses. 

Tight end Lance Kendricks had to have his wrist taped mid-session, but he didn't leave the field.


Thuney beat Calhoun
Ferentz stoned Butler
Pennel gets around Karras
Mason stuffs Guy
Rivers quick around St. Louis
Davis gets around Froholdt 
Lang bulled by Trent Harris
Rivers through St. Louis easily
Ferentz stones Thurman
Mason beat Butler
Cannon and Van Noy draw
Thuney beats Davis
Kamalu beat Beck to the inside
Thurman took care of Gauthier
Kamalu does a lap for jumping the gun after the drill. He had to do another lap at the end of practice -- after running the hills. Tough way to end the day.


Brady went 2-for-4 here, while Hoyer went 2-for-2 and Stidham went 1-for-2. Again, today was about the running game and line play. Not many reps for the passers. 

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Bill Belichick the pitchman? Patriots coach spotted shooting Subway commercial

Bill Belichick the pitchman? Patriots coach spotted shooting Subway commercial

Bill Belichick apparently signed up to speak in front of a camera Tuesday.

The New England Patriots head coach was spotted outside a Subway restaurant in Branford, Conn., on Tuesday, according to several eyewitnesses who posted photos (and one glorious video) of Belichick on Twitter and Instagram.

As those Instagram users suggested, Belichick was in fact shooting a commercial for Subway, the town's selectman confirmed to

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The Patriots have some downtime before training camp (supposedly) begins later this month, but it's pretty surprising to see the intensely private head coach out in public -- shooting a commercial, no less -- instead of fishing in Nantucket. (Props to Belichick for wearing his mask, though.)

Branford is a just 30-minute drive south of Wesleyan University, so perhaps Belichick paid a trip to his alma mater before or after filming this ad -- which we'll be very eager to see.

Patriots' Gillette Stadium to host 20 percent of fans in best-case scenario

Patriots' Gillette Stadium to host 20 percent of fans in best-case scenario

Cam Newton could make his New England Patriots debut in front of 13,175 fans.

And that's the best-case scenario.

The Patriots announced Tuesday they expect Gillette Stadium to operate at 20 percent capacity for 2020 home games. That's if fans are allowed to attend games at all, which would need approval from state and local governments.

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If fans attend games, they'll be required to wear face coverings "at all times" inside the stadium and stay at least six feet from other parties, per the team.

To aid in physical distancing, the Patriots will distribute tickets in blocks of 10 seats or less and close off the eight rows closest to the field. The team also announced earlier this month that all ticketing will be digital and that parking at the stadium will be free.

Again, this all assumes fans will even be allowed at NFL stadiums -- and that the 2020 season will start on time -- as the coronavirus pandemic continues to impact the United States.

By announcing an 80 percent reduction in crowd size, though, the Patriots join several teams in at least acknowledging this season will look very different from years past, even under the best-case scenario.