While the NFL calendar is currently moving at a slower pace, the New England Patriots will still be busy the next two days. After all, the team is scheduled to return to the practice fields for its second round of organized team activity: Today and tomorrow, players will be back on the practice fields.
Per the collective bargaining agreement, each team is allowed to hold a total of 10 mandatory OTA practices over the course of a four-week span. One week – in the Patriots’ case June 6 to June 8 – will be held as a minicamp. As is the case throughout the entire offseason workout program, teams are not allowed to do contact work like tackling or blocking.
New England already held its first three sessions last week and is scheduled to conduct three more after minicamp concluded in mid-June. And while the sessions will not yet decide the roster fate of players on the bubble, they are the foundation for what the team will do during training camp – and the first step for players to leave a positive mark.
Among those who seemingly were able to do that last week was second-year running back D.J. Foster. The former undrafted free agent saw regular playing time with the top offensive unit around quarterback Tom Brady and displayed good hands and crisp route running. While players like Foster will try to continue building on the momentum they appear to have, others – among them 2016 second round pick Cyrus Jones – will get more chances to work on their craft.
Given the mandatory nature of the sessions, not all players will be present. Last week, six were not spotted during the lone media-access session with one of them having good reason for his absence: Long snapper Joe Cardona is currently balancing his football life with his service commitment to the Navy; just like he did every offseason since entering the NFL in 2015.