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The Pats Pulpit guide to the Patriots’ 2019 training camp: schedule, position battles, practical information, and more

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Tomorrow, the New England Patriots finally open their training camp.

NFL: New England Patriots-Minicamp Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Almost six months after beating the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl 53, the New England Patriots will take the next step on their quest to become the first team to defend the Vince Lombardi Trophy since they themself did it in fifteen years ago: tomorrow, the world champions will kick off their 2019 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 the necessary information about training camp here.

Key Facts

2019 New England Patriots training camp at Gillette Stadium

Patriot Place

Foxboro, MA 02035

Key Dates

Reporting and medical examination

Rookies, quarterbacks, veterans returning from injuries: Sunday, July 21

Veterans: Wednesday, July 24

Practice sessions

Thursday, July 25, 9:15 a.m. ET

Friday, July 26, 9:15 a.m. ET

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

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

Monday, July 29, 7:00 p.m. ET (in-stadium practice open only to season ticket holders)

Wednesday, July 31, 9:45 a.m. ET

Thursday, August 1, 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 generally open around one hour before each session (i.e. 8:00 a.m. for morning practices) and close one hour after. However, please note that the schedule is subject to change if necessary. For instance, if a session has to be relocated to the adjacent Empower Field House indoor facility (because of inclement weather), it can no longer be open to the public.

In case you plan to visit training camp, you therefore need to stay up to date. For updates please call 508-549-0001 or visit patriots.com/trainingcamp.

Patriots Hall of Fame induction ceremony

As opposed to last year, the induction ceremony will once again take place during training camp: on Monday, July 29, three-time Super Bowl champion Rodney Harrison and late offensive tackle Leon Gray will be inducted into the Hall. The event will be held outside of The Hall at Patriot Place and open and free to the public. Festivities will start at 4:30 p.m; at 7:00 p.m. season ticket holders will be able to watch the annual in-stadium practice.

Preseason games

August 8: at Detroit Lions (Ford Field, 7:30 p.m. ET)

August 17: at Tennessee Titans (Nissan Stadium, 7:00 p.m. ET)

August 22: vs. Carolina Panthers (Gillette Stadium, 7:30 p.m. ET)

August 29: vs. New York Giants (Gillette Stadium, 7:30 p.m. ET)

New England will hold joint practice sessions with both the Detroit Lions and the Tennessee Titans during the weeks leading up to the respective games.

Further important dates

August 31: Roster cut-down to 53 (by 4:00 p.m. ET), non-activated PUP/NFI players move to reserve/PUP/NFI

September 1: Eligible players can be signed to the practice squad (max. 10 players per team; Patriots have an extra spot through the NFL’s International Pathway Program for fullback Jakob Johnson)

September 5: Rule of 51 ends (12:00 a.m. ET), all players on the active roster count against the salary cap (set at $188.2 million for the 2019 season)

September 8: Patriots’ season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers (Gillette Stadium, 8:20 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 have 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 a.m.).

Concessions

The main concession stand will be positioned behind the bleachers while various food 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 will 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: all animals except service animals assisting those with disabilities (don’t leave them in your car, though, but at home), alcoholic beverages, beach balls, bullhorns and air horns, coolers, fireworks or pyrotechnics, flag poles and tripods longer than 2 feet (shorter ones 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, drones, 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 six players on the active/physically unable to perform list (PUP) prior to the start of training camp:

RB Sony Michel

WR Demaryius Thomas

OT Cole Croston

DE Deatrich Wise Jr.

CB Ken Webster

SS Nate Ebner

Additionally, two players will open camp on the active/non-football injury list (NFI):

WR Julian Edelman

OT Yodny Cajuste

All eight players can be activated off the respective injury lists at any time moving forward. If such a move does not happen by August 31’s roster cutdowns, though, the players still remaining on the the active/PUP/NFI lists will transfer to reserve/PUP/NFI: they will not count against the 53-man roster but will have to sit out at least the first six weeks of the regular season.

Main position battles

Tight end: Matt LaCosse vs. Benjamin Watson vs. Ryan Izzo vs. Stephen Anderson vs. Lance Kendricks vs. Andrew Beck

No Rob Gronkowski, no clear plan at tight end — at least that is what the Patriots’ current situation looks like. After all, none of the six players at the position is guaranteed a roster spot at this point in time. Matt LaCosse and Benjamin Watson should be considered the favorites, but the latter will miss the first four regular season games with a suspension. Will one of the other tight ends take advantage and carve out a role on the roster at least until Watson’s return? And how many tight ends will be kept in the first place? And is LaCosse as safe a bet as it looks like? Plenty of questions will get answered at tight end this summer.

X-receiver: N’Keal Harry vs. Phillip Dorsett vs. Maurice Harris vs. Dontrelle Inman vs. Demaryius Thomas vs. Damoun Patterson vs. Josh Gordon (suspended)

With Chris Hogan and Cordarrelle Patterson leaving New England in free agency, and with Josh Gordon still indefinitely suspended, the Patriots will need to look for a new player to fill the X-receiver role. First-round rookie N’Keal Harry is a lock to earn one spot on the team, but his eventual role still needs to be decided over the next few weeks. The other players listed above, meanwhile, will fight not just for specific roles but their roster lives. Whoever builds the best chemistry with Tom Brady and is capable to succeed in the other deciding factors — from hands to physicality to run blocking — will win a job.

Swing offensive tackle: Yodny Cajuste vs. Cole Croston vs. Dan Skipper vs. Cedrick Lang vs. Tyree St. Louis

The Patriots’ offensive tackle position underwent some major changes over the course of the offseason, with two of the top three options from 2018 leaving via free agency: Trent Brown joined the Oakland Raiders on a record-breaking deal; LaAdrian Waddle moved to the Buffalo Bills. And while Brown’s role will be filled by former first-round draft pick Isaiah Wynn, the one previously held by Waddle is up for grabs. As things stand right now, New England has five players competing for that backup/swing tackle spot. Cajuste would be the favorite, but as noted above he will start camp on the NFI list.

Defensive edge: John Simon vs. Derek Rivers vs. Keionta Davis vs. Trent Harris vs. Shilique Calhoun

New England will field a new-look edge defender group this season. And with only three of its current nine players classified as roster locks — Michael Bennett, Deatrich Wise Jr, Chase Winovich — there will be plenty of competition for the rotational spots alongside them. John Simon, as mentioned above, is the favorite to earn the fourth spot alongside the top three and offer veteran rotational depth just like he did last season. Beyond Simon, Derek Rivers should still be seen as the guy to beat out.

Punter: Ryan Allen vs. Jake Bailey

Jake Bailey joined the Patriots as a fifth-round draft pick this year and will go against incumbent Ryan Allen — a three-time world champion that held the job since 2013 — this summer. Bailey offers more upside but needs to become a more consistent performer to win the job. If he can do that, it would not be a surprise to see the Patriots pick him over Allen. If not, however, New England could very well go back to the trusty veteran.

Slot cornerback: Jason McCourty vs. J.C. Jackson vs. Jonathan Jones vs. Duke Dawson Jr. vs. Keion Crossen vs. Ken Webster vs. D’Angelo Ross

While the first four of the cornerbacks listed above can be seen as roster locks, their exact roles on the team will be determined over the next few weeks. Furthermore, the three depth options behind them will all fight for what is projected to be the final spot on the team or either one of the practice squad positions. Needless to say that there will be plenty of intrigue on one of the deepest position groups in all of football.

Miscellaneous

Tom Brady’s birthday

Next Saturday, on August 3, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will turn 42. Be prepared to do a lot of birthday-related singing on that day.

Patriots Hall of Fame

If you are looking for things to do at Gillette Stadium, the Hall at Patriots Place will be open each day:

Monday-Friday: 10:00 a.m. — 6 p.m.

Saturday: 10:00 a.m. — 9 p.m.

Sunday: 10:00 a.m. — 7 p.m.

Pats Pulpit coverage

Social media

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

Podcasts

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FanPulse

Last year, SB Nation introduced FanPulse, a survey of knowledgable fans that will reflect how they view their teams’ developments. If you are interested in participating, please click here!