The Patriots have completed four of their 12 voluntary organized team activities, and when they return Tuesday from their Memorial Day Weekend break, the atmosphere will get taken up a notch. Last week was all about bringing along the younger players and newly signed free agents, but New England’s veterans will begin filing in this week.
Running back Kevin Faulk, who is entering his 12th season with the Patriots and is the longest-tenured member of the team, expects the younger guys to be able to handle the increased intensity.
“The level is probably going to be higher,” Faulk said. “The expectations of the guys that are coming in that weren’t here [last] week is going to be high. Coach is going to expect things to run a little more smoothly, and it’s supposed to. We’re veteran guys. We know what we have to do, and we know what’s at stake right now as a football team.”
They’re not exactly reinventing the wheel at these sessions, but the practices and meetings provide a good base for when everyone reports for training camp at the end of July.
“This is a good time of year, working with a lot of young players, new players, starting from scratch, starting the whole building-block process for all of us,” Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said. “All of us get back into coaching football, thinking about strategies and adjustments and all those kind of things. It’s a fun time of year for any coach on the field.”
The Pats will practice Tuesday through Friday this week before getting another break over the weekend, and they’ll conclude their OTA’s with sessions next Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Then, the Patriots conduct their mandatory minicamp June 15-17 before breaking away for a month and a half.
There hasn’t been much heavy lifting, but so far, so good, Belichick thought.
“It’s going all right,” Belichick said. “We’ve got a long way to go. Just take it one step at a time. We’ve got some nice warm weather. It’s been nice. Got a suntan a little bit. Go out there and break a sweat. It’s been good.”