Football is back. Actual, real football – not the ball but the game itself. Today, the 2015 New England Patriots take their next step on the journey to repeat as world champions: they kick off their annual training camp at the practice facilities at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachussetts.
This is your official Pats Pulpit guide to the Patriots' 2015 training camp.
2015 New England Patriots training camp
Gillette Stadium practice facilities
Foxborough, MA 02035
Reporting and medical examination
Rookies: Thursday, July 23
Veterans: Wednesday, July 29
Thursday, July 30, 9:15 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.
Friday, July 31, 9:15 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.
Saturday, August 1, 9:15 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.
Sunday, August 2, 9:15 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.
Admission to the practice sessions is free. Further dates are still to be determined and have not yet been officially announced.
Please note that the schedule is subject to changes if necessary. For instance, if a session has to be relocated to the adjacent Dana Farber Field House indoor facility (because of inclement weather), it can no longer be open to the public. Therefore, in case you plan to visit training camp, you need to stay up to date. For updates please call 508-549-0001 or visit patriots.com/trainingcamp.
Patriots Hall of Fame induction ceremony
Wednesday, August 5, 5:00 p.m.
Outside The Hall at Patriot Place
Franchise greats Willie McGinest and Houston Antwine will be inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame on August 5. The ceremony is free and open to the public. After the event, the Patriots will hold their first 2015 in-stadium practice session. It is a ticketed event for season ticket holders and Foxborough residents. For more information click here.
August 13: vs. Green Bay Packers (Gillette Stadium, 7:30 p.m.)
August 22: at New Orleans Saints (Mercedes Benz-Superdome, 7:30 p.m.)
August 28: at Carolina Panthers (Bank of America Stadium, 7:30 p.m.)
September 3: vs. New York Giants (Gillette Stadium, 7:30 p.m.)
Further important dates
September 1: Roster cut-down to 75 (by 4:00 p.m.)
September 5: Roster cut-down to 53 (by 6:00 p.m.), PUP/NFI players move to reserve
September 6: Practice squads can be found (max. 10 players per team)
September 8: Beginning at 4:00 p.m. teams can designate an IR-return player
September 10: NFL season opener (Steelers at Patriots, 8:30 p.m.)
October 20: Players on PUP/NFI can begin practicing
Parking and Directions
Parking at the stadium facilities' parking lots is free for all public practice sessions. If you arrive from the north (e.g. Boston), use parking lot entrance P6. If you arrive from the south (e.g. Providence), use parking lot entrance P8. ADA parking lots can be found in Lot 22. For more information on parking view this map.
Shalise Manza Young and Ben Volin of the Boston Globe did a tremendous job of giving directions to Gillette Stadium, so we will just quote them here:
From Boston and farther north: Take I-95 South to Exit 9. Follow Rte. 1 south approximately 3 miles to Gillette Stadium (on the left).
From Cape Cod: I-495 North to Exit 14A. Follow Rte. 1 north about 4 miles to Gillette Stadium (on the right).
From southern Connecticut, Rhode Island: Take I-95 North to I-495 North to Exit 14A. Follow Rte. 1 north about 4 miles to Gillette Stadium (on the right).
From northern Connecticut, Vermont, upstate New York: I-90 East to I-495 South to Exit 14A. Follow Rte. 1 north about 4 miles to Gillette Stadium (on the right).
After each practice session open to the public, a select group of players will be available for autographs (usually around 11:45 p.m.)
Concession stands are positioned at various locations around the facility, including near the practice fields and the Patriots Fan Zone. Once again, click here to view the map.
Patriots Fan Zone
The Patriots' football-themed open area near the south-west corner of Gillette Stadium will offer "fun-filled activities, games, music, concessions, informational areas and appearances by Patriots Alumni and Patriots Cheerleaders" (via patriots.com). Fans, who want to participate in one of the "fun-filled activities", will have to sign a waiver form.
Visitors with disabilities
As noted above, ADA parking lots can be found in Lot 22 (once more, the map), there are signs leading you there. Seating at the facility will be available in all the bleacher sections, located on the western end of the practice fields. For more information, call 508-384-9191. TTD/TTY is also available via 508-384-4389.
The following is a list of things you better leave in your car if you want to watch the Patriots practice: Animals (except service animals assisting those with disabilities), alcoholic beverages, beach balls, bullhorns and air horns, coolers, fireworks or pyrotechnics, flag poles longer than 2 feet (flags in general will be allowed), helium balloons, illegal drugs or any other illegal substance, laser pens, noise makers, video cameras, weapons of any kind (including knives), unmanned aircraft systems, remotely controlled model aircraft, selfie sticks, GoPro cameras. Additionally, any other items deemed inappropriate by stadium management (e.g. the Wells Report) are prohibited.
As usual, the players will not wear names on their jerseys during training camp – only numbers. Therefore, in order to know who made a play, you need to know each player's number (or at least have them printed out with you). To find the current roster as well as the up-to-date jersey numbers take a look at patriots.com/team/roster.
One distinction can easily be made: the Patriots' offense will once again wear white jerseys, while the defense will wear blue ones. Quarterbacks and players not to be touched will wear red jerseys.
The Patriots have placed the following eight players on the Physically Unable to Perform list (PUP) prior to the start of training camp:
DT Dominique Easley
LB Dane Fletcher
DT Chris Jones
WR Brandon LaFell
WR Matthew Slater
DT Vince Taylor
OG Ryan Wendell
LB Chris White
Additionally, the team has announced putting the following players on the Non-Football Injury list (NFI):
RB LeGarrette Blount
DT Alan Branch
QB Matt Flynn
OL Caylin Hauptmann
3rd down running back
With Shane Vereen gone, the 3rd down running/receiving back role – historically an important one within the Patriots offense – is up for grabs. Second-year man James White and free agency pick-up Travaris Cadet project to be the main contestants to fight for the right to fill the shoes of Vereen, Danny Woodhead and Kevin Faulk.
The days of Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner shutting down opposing receivers are gone and the days of... Well, we do not yet know whose days have arrived but we are about to find out during training camp. As of today, Logan Ryan and Malcolm Butler look like the front-runners to win the starting cornerback roles but free agency acquisitions Bradley Fletcher, Robert McClain and Tarell Brown look to earn reps and subsequently roster spots as well.
With Dan Connolly retiring, Ryan Wendell – who is currently on PUP – is the only starting guard returning from last year. It is not a given that he will be a starter in 2015 but, as of right now, he has to be considered the favorite to earn one starting spot. Josh Kline as well as rookies Tre' Jackson and Shaq Mason are among those fighting for the other starting role, with Kline and Jackson being the favorites.
For more camp battles and analysis click here.
For additional information on the Patriots' 2015 training camp please head to patriots.com/trainingcamp and visit Pats Pulpit regularly.