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The Pats Pulpit guide to the 2017 Patriots training camp

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Today, the New England Patriots will open their 2017 training camp.

Top five Patriots training camp battles

What are the top Patriots training camp battles? Find out:

Posted by Pats Pulpit: For New England Patriots News on Thursday, July 27, 2017

Almost five months after hoisting their fifth Lombardi Trophy, the New England Patriots will take the next step on their journey to repeat as world champions: Later today, the team will kick off its 2017 training camp. As has been the case every year since 2003, the Patriots hold camp at the practice facilities at Foxboro's Gillette Stadium.

To get you ready for the next weeks, we have compiled all necessary information about training camp here.


Key Facts

2017 New England Patriots training camp

Gillette Stadium practice facilities

Patriot Place

Foxboro, MA 02035


Key Dates

Reporting and medical examination

Rookies, quarterbacks, injured veterans: Monday, July 24

Veterans: Wednesday, July 26

Practice sessions

Thursday, July 27, 9:15 a.m. ET

Friday, July 28, 9:15 a.m. ET

Saturday, July 29, 9:15 a.m. ET

Sunday, July 30, 9:15 a.m. ET

As usual, admission to the practice sessions is free. Further dates are still to be determined and have not yet been officially announced.

Gates will open one hour before each session and close one hour after. However, 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

Saturday, July 29, 12:30 p.m. ET

Outside The Hall at Patriot Place

Franchise great Raymond Clayborn, who is tied for the team's all-time lead in interceptions (36; together with fellow Hall of Famer Ty Law) will be inducted into the team's Hall of Fame on July 29. The ceremony is free and open to the public and is scheduled to start once the morning practice session has concluded.

Preseason games

August 10: vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (Gillette Stadium, 7:30 p.m. ET)

August 19: at Houston Texans (NRG Stadium, 8:00 p.m. ET)

August 25: at Detroit Lions (Ford Field, 7:00 p.m. ET)

August 31: vs. New York Giants (Gillette Stadium, 7:30 p.m. ET)

Further important dates

September 2: Roster cut-down to 53 (by 4:00 p.m. ET), PUP/NFI players move to reserve

September 3: Eligible players can be signed to the practice squad (max. 10 players per team)

September 7: Rule of 51 ends (12:00 a.m. ET), all players on the active roster count against the salary cap

September 7: NFL season opener (Kansas City Chiefs at New England Patriots, 8:30 p.m. ET)

September 26: Waiver wire claiming order based on inverse standings

October 16: Players on the reserve/PUP and reserve/NFI lists can start practicing with the team

October 31: Trade deadline (4:00 p.m. ET)


Parking and Directions

Parking

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.

Directions

Prior to the 2015 training camp, the Boston Globe's Shalise Manza Young and Ben Volin wrote down directions to Gillette Stadium. Since they did a tremendous job and none of the locations changed, 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).


Services

Autographs

After each practice session open to the public, a select group of players will be available for autographs (usually around 11:45 p.m.).

Concessions

The main concession stand will be positioned behind the bleachers while various foot trucks will also visit the facility. Bringing your own food and/or beverages to camp is permitted.

Fan activities

Participants of physical and interactive activities along the Fan Walk and Play Football area have to fill out a waiver form beforehand. It can be downloaded here.

Visitors with disabilities

As noted above, ADA parking lots can be found in Lot 22 (once more, the map); there are signs leading 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.

Prohibited items

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. Additionally, any other items deemed inappropriate by stadium management (e.g. New York Jets jerseys) are prohibited.


Jersey Numbers

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, though: 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.


Injuries

The Patriots have placed the following two players on the physically unable to perform list (PUP) prior to the start of training camp:

DT Alan Branch

LB Dont'a Hightower

Additionally, the team has announced putting one player on the active/non-football injury list (NFI):

OT Andrew Jelks

All three players can be activated off the respective injury lists at any time moving forward. If such a move did not happen, though, the players transfer to the reserve lists and will miss at least the first six weeks of the season.


Position Battles

Slot/3rd down wide receiver: Danny Amendola (incumbent) vs. Austin Carr

Given his experience within the system, his status as a member of Tom Brady's circle of trust as well as his recent contract restructure, Amendola is the favorite to win the battle for the final wide receiver spot. If he can build on his college career, Carr seems like a prime practice squad addition.

3rd tight end: Matt Lengel (incumbent) vs. James O'Shaughnessy vs. Jacob Hollister vs. Sam Cotton

Lengel has been serviceable in 2016 but the Patriots invested considerable resources into the position. And while O'Shaughnessy appears to be the favorite as of right now it would neither be a surprise to see someone else win the spot nor the to see the Patriots carry only two pure tight ends plus versatile fullback James Develin on the 53-man roster.

Backup offensive tackle: Cameron Fleming (incumbent) vs. LaAdrian Waddle (incumbent) vs. Conor McDermott vs. Max Rich vs. Cole Croston (vs. Andrew Jelks)

With three tackles locked in on the roster – Nate Solder, Marcus Cannon, Antonio Garcia – one spot appears to be open. The experienced Fleming and the high-upside McDermott are the favorites to win it.

Interior offensive line: Ted Karras (incumbent) vs. Jamil Douglas vs. James Ferentz vs. Jason King vs. Cole Croston

While Douglas offers upside, Ferentz experience, and Croston and King potential versatility, the top interior backup spot is Karras' to lose. The second-year pro has held the role last year and offers the versatility to back up both guard spots as well as the center position.

Defensive edge: Geneo Grissom (incumbent) vs. Deatrich Wise Jr. vs. Caleb Kidder

The Patriots have four roster locks at the position in Trey Flowers, Rob Ninkovich, Kony Ealy and Derek Rivers. The question therefore is who wins the potential final spot in case New England opts to go five-deep: core special teamer Grissom, high-upside rookie Wise Jr. or rookie pickup Caleb Kidder?

Dime cornerback: Cyrus Jones vs. Jonathan Jones vs. Justin Coleman vs. Will Likely vs. D.J. Killings vs. Kenny Moore

The top of the depth chart is set, the bottom is in flux. Jonathan Jones appears to be a roster lock due to his special teams prowess but might also be an option on defense in case Cyrus Jones fails to overcome the mental errors that have plagued him in 2016. If he can do that, though, the former second round pick should be considered the frontrunner for a final spot at cornerback.

Strong safety: Jordan Richards (incumbent) vs. Dwayne Thomas vs. Jason Thompson vs. Damarius Travis

2014 second round draft pick Jordan Richards has to fight off a trio of undrafted rookies to make the team. Given last season, when Richards only saw marginal playing time on defense and special teams, it would not be a surprise to see the team go with one of the younger options – if it chooses to carry another backup behind Patrick Chung at all (together with special teams aces Nate Ebner and Brandon King).


Miscellaneous

Pats Pulpit coverage

Throughout training camp Pats Pulpit will deliver updates and analysis. Besides regularly checking the website, please make sure to follow us on Facebook as well as on Twitter with the following accounts:

Pats Pulpit: @PatsPulpit

Rich Hill: @PP_Rich_Hill

Bernd Buchmasser: @BerndBuchmasser

Alec Shane: @alecdshane

Marima: @Marima07

Michael McDermott: @MichaelMcD8393

Brian Philipps: @BPhilipps_PP

Matthew Rewinski: @SomeCallMeGoose

Oliver Thomas: @OliverBThomas

Ethan Hammerman: @Ethanhamm

Doug Moore: @DMooreNFL

Kirk von Kreisler: @KirkNFL

Ryan Keiran: @Ryan_Keiran

Taylor Kyles: @tkyles39

SB Nation NFL: @sbnationnfl

Tom Brady's birthday

Next Friday, on August 3, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will turn 40. Be prepared to do a lot of birthday-related singing on that day.