Despite the last seven weeks of offseason workouts being strictly voluntary, the New England Patriots still had solid attendance. Roughly 80-90 percent of the roster were present at all times during the six organized team activities so far, including a majority of veterans and team leaders.
The next few days will be different, though. The team will hold its minicamp and flip the participation switch from “voluntary” to “mandatory.”
The Patriots will hit the practice fields three times this week, and all players not either rehabbing from injury or excused by the team will have to be present. Otherwise, they would be subject to fines of up to $96,877.
All in all, the schedule for minicamp week looks as follows:
- Tuesday, June 7: Bill Belichick press conference (11:30 a.m. ET), practice (11:45 am ET), media availability (post-practice)
- Wednesday, June 8: Bill Belichick press conference (11:30 a.m. ET), practice (11:45 am ET), media availability (post-practice)
- Thursday, June 9: Bill Belichick press conference (11:30 a.m. ET), practice (11:45 am ET), media availability (post-practice)
So, what will be happening over these three days?
According to the NFL-NFLPA Collective Bargaining Agreement, players are allowed only three and a half hours of on-field work each day, with no single session permitted to exceed two and a half hours in length. Furthermore, the general offseason rules apply: no full-contact or tackling drills will take place, teams will not be in pads, and the focus lies on teaching rather than competition.
Nevertheless, the three practices this week will give us additional information of where the Patriots stand at this point in the process: How do rookies and offseason acquisitions look? How is the depth chart currently constructed? How do players coming off injury move?
Obviously, though, minicamp is just one stop on the road to the 2022 season. However, it is the first that will see the entire team work alongside each other — meaning that a few interesting days are ahead of us.