Ever since the Coronavirus crisis started in the United States four months ago, life in the NFL began to look a lot different compared to “normal” years. Pro days and other pre-draft workouts were canceled, the event itself was held with team personnel working remotely, and facilities all over the country were closed down while a virtual offseason workout period was introduced. The latter, meanwhile, led to players showing their self-organization skills.
With organized team activities and mandatory minicamp not taking place, players took it upon themselves to get together and — preferably while following local social distancing guidelines — work out alongside each other. From the New England Patriots’ perspective, this led to the formation of two groups led by three of the team’s quarterbacks: one of the East Coast in the Massachusetts area, the other on the West Coast in Los Angeles.
Let’s take a look at who has been confirmed to have participated in the two throwing groups.
East Coast: Stidham/Hoyer group
Led by quarterbacks Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer, the following players participated in these workouts sessions:
WR Julian Edelman, WR Mohamed Sanu, WR Gunner Olszewski, WR Damiere Byrd, RB Damien Harris, FB Jakob Johnson, TE Dalton Keene, C David Andrews
Stidham and Hoyer have participated in throwing sessions throughout the offseason, most recently last week. As can be seen, they have had some variety in terms of personnel. Veteran receivers Julian Edelman and Mohamed Sanu did participate, as did second-year men like Gunner Olszewski and Damien Harris, offseason acquisitions Damiere Byrd and Dalton Keene, and even the team’s starting center, David Andrews.
What stands out about this group is that five of its members — Edelman, Sanu, Olszewski, Johnson, Andrews — either ended their respective 2019 campaigns on injured reserve or had to undergo offseason surgery for non-season-ending ailments. Seeing them on the field even in a privately organized setting can be considered a positive sign heading into the new season.
West Coast: Newton group
Led by quarterback Cam Newton, the following players participated in these workouts sessions:
WR Julian Edelman, WR N’Keal Harry, WR Mohamed Sanu, WR Damiere Byrd, TE Devin Asiasi
New England only added Newton in late June, but the former league MVP and long-time Carolina Panthers starting quarterback was still quick to organize throwing sessions at the UCLA facility in Los Angeles. While the workouts were not exclusively visited by members of his new team — Cleveland Browns wideout Odell Beckham Jr. also partook — the 31-year-old also was able to get some time in with an impressive cast of Patriots skill position players.
Edelman, Sanu and Byrd also participated in the East Coast sessions and together with N’Keal Harry could very well turn out to be the top-four wide receivers on the team’s roster when all is said and done (Edelman, Harry and Sanu project to be the top-three). Devin Asiasi, meanwhile, was the team’s highest-drafted tight end this year and appears to be on his way to earn the TE1 role after the Patriots’ struggles at the position last year.
While the two groups have worked out separately over the last few weeks, they are actively trying to adapt to the situation ahead of training camp — something Patriots head coach Bill Belichick certainly will feel good about.