After failing to mitigate Tom Brady’s loss, the Patriots had a wild offseason with a crucial training camp ahead to fit in many new faces. When does it start, where will it be held, and are fans allowed to attend?
With phase 3 of the 2021 NFL offseason set to wrap up on June 18th, teams are already looking forward to training camp. It is by far the most grueling and pivotal part of a team’s preparations.
Training camps often include busy days for players and coaches, sometimes with 2 practices a day, weight training, team meetings, and film sessions.
Per the league’s Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), no contact is permitted during the first 3 days of camp. Days 4 and 5 will see players at full speed in light equipment called “spiders and shells”, day 6 is a mandatory day off, and finally fully-padded practices start on the 7th day.
Along with the strenuous schedule, full-speed practices mean that both contact and non-contact injuries are very common. Regardless, training camp is mandatory for all players, unlike OTAs which are voluntary. If a player doesn’t show up, they risk getting cut by their team.
When Does Training Camp Start for the New England Patriots?
For the first time in NFL history, there will be a unified start for training camp. 29 franchises, including the Patriots, will kick off their training camps on Tuesday, July 27th.
However, the Cowboys and Steelers, who will play in the preseason Hall of Fame game, are allowed to begin training camp as early as July 21st. The Buccaneers will also be allowed to start training camp 3 days earlier on the 24th, as they play the season opener against Dallas on a Thursday night.
The #Cowboys and #Steelers can report as early as July 21 because of the hall of fame game. The #Bucs can report July 24 because of a Thursday opener. Players from the other 29 teams are required to report July 27, per the CBA.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) May 25, 2021
Where is the Patriots Training Camp Being Held?
Normally, NFL teams are permitted to hold training camp at outside facilities to improve accessibility for fans, However last year, due to the uncertainty caused by the COVID pandemic, teams were instructed to conduct camp at their own training facilities.
This year, the rules have been eased, a good sign that things are getting back to normal. The Patriots will hold their practices at the same venue as always: the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium. New England will also host two practices inside Gillette Stadium.
New England Patriots Training Camp Roster: Key Position Battles to Watch
As usual, teams will start camp with 90-man rosters. They must cut down to 85 players by August 17th and to 80 by August 24th, before settling on a final 53-man roster by August 31st.
The Patriots added several new players over the offseason at various positions. In a wild and historic free agency spending frenzy, the Pats will need to incorporate several new faces to their team.
One of the biggest additions they made didn’t come through free agency but through the NFL Draft. With the 15th overall pick, the Patriots were able to select Alabama quarterback Mac Jones to be their starter of the future.
However, when will he start exactly? Cam Newton didn’t do much to prove that he can be the guy going forward for New England after a lackluster 2020-21 campaign. Of course, there were several issues with the Patriots team last year and all the blame can’t go on Cam, but nevertheless, he did struggle.
Therefore, there is set to be at least some sort of competition in training camp between Jones and Cam for the starting role. While it’s likely that Newton starts the season, a strong training camp showing from Jones can throw him into the starting role earlier than expected, especially if Newton struggles again.
Additionally, the starting running back role will up for grabs as both Damien Harris and Sony Michel played well last year. Michel bounced back after a a poor 2019-20 season, averaging 5.7 yards per carry, but he only received 79 touches.
Damien Harris finally got to carry the ball last year, and he torched defenses to the tune of 691 yards on only 137 carries. Michel and Harris will likely share the backfield this year, but who will be the lead back?
Additionally, we could see some competition at defensive tackle. The Pats signed Davon Godchaux as one of their many moves this offseason, but they also drafted Christian Barmore in the second round.
Given Godchaux’s experience with the Dolphins, he should be the presumed starter, but Barmore could challenge him as the Pats don’t have many other options at the position.
Will Fans Be Allowed to Attend Patriots Training Camp?
After a year without fans at training camp, NFL teams have done their best to give their fans a good experience. The Patriots will be allowing fans to come in for practice sessions as all training camp dates are free and open to the public.
The first practice at Gillette Stadium will be the annual event planned for season ticket holders while the second one will be open to the general public.