When the NFL reaffirmed this year’s training camp reporting dates over the weekend, July 21st was announced as the day rookies would arrive at their team facilities and July 23rd as the day quarterbacks would. While some teams are on their way to follow this schedule, the New England Patriots are among those who will operate on a different timetable: not only have their rookies yet to report, the QBs also won’t arrive at Gillette Stadium on time.
In fact, according to a report by NFL Network’s Mike Giardi, New England’s passers will not show up at the Patriots’ facilities before Monday “unless something unforeseen happens.”
The quarterbacks’ reporting date being pushed back should not come as a surprise, though, considering that New England is among 24 teams that did not have their infectious disease protocols approved by the NFL Players Association at this point in time. While all 32 teams did send the necessary documents in for approval, the union has so far only green-lighted eight of them. Only when the disease plan is given the NFLPA’s blessing will players return to work with a proper framework in place.
From the Patriots’ perspective, this covers five quarterbacks who are currently under contract with the organization and whose reporting date has now changed. Former league MVP Cam Newton, who was signed in late June, and second-year man Jarrett Stidham are considered the frontrunners to take over the starting job from free agency departee Tom Brady. Behind them, veteran Brian Hoyer and undrafted rookies J’Mar Smith and Brian Lewerke are expected compete for the backup spots on the depth chart.
While all five men were unable to participate in any team-organized workouts during the offseason because of the Coronavirus pandemic, the top-three have still found a way to get some throwing done over the last few weeks: Stidham and Hoyer participated in workout sessions in Massachusetts, while Newton did the same in California. Veteran wide receivers Julian Edelman and Mohamed Sanu participated in both of the get-togethers, second-year man N’Keal Harry in one of them (Newton’s).