The New England Patriots will be back at Gillette Stadium on Monday, kicking off the third and final phase of their voluntary offseason program. For the players, it will be the busiest stretch on their spring calendar
Over the next four weeks, the Patriots will hold 10 organized team activity sessions (OTAs) as well as their mandatory minicamp. The team’s schedule will look as follows:
- Organized Team Activities: May 22-23, May 25, May 30-31, June 2, June 5-6, June 8-9
- Minicamp: June 12-14
Of the 13 total sessions, six will be open to the media: OTAs on May 25, June 2 and June 8, as well as all of mandatory minicamp from June 12-14. That said, the team’s schedule will be a flexible one, with head coach Bill Belichick regularly canceling sessions in the past.
Even though the goal is to further build the foundation heading into training camp, Phase 3 will present a change in competitiveness and overall intensity compared to the earlier portions of voluntary offseason work.
Phase 1 focused solely on strength and conditioning and Phase 2 allowed some early on-field drills and group work. This final phase, on the other hand, will closely resemble regular in-season practice and include 7-on-7, 9-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills for the first time.
Of course, the NFL-NFLPA Collective Bargaining Agreement strictly regulates what is allowed and what is not. Full pads and live contact will again be prohibited, for example. The same is true for 1-on-1 drills. In addition, times in the facility are capped at six hours total with two hours of on-field work.
Nonetheless, this is the closest to “real football” that the team will come between season’s end and the start of training camp in late July.