FOXBOROUGH — And we’re back!
Practice No. 1 of the Patriots’ 2020 season is, finally, in the books. We'll be back with our comprehensive practice report, but for now, we want to give you the headlines — including who is getting more time, who's moving around, and first impressions of newcomers.
Just to let you know up front, because there are no fans at practice, the restrictions on what we can report are much tighter (we can't report formations, personnel groups, first-team/second-team groupings, positions, and non-conventional plays, and we also can't report on players who line up in positions different from the one listed on the roster). Not complaining — it is what it is — but letting you know the ground rules and what to expect.
FOUR THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
Enthusiasm was very high for the first real practice: It started almost immediately after Cam Newton was the last quarterback on the field, and could often be heard hooting and hollering. As he ventured over to the field nearest the indoor practice facility, Newton couldn't contain his excitement to some of the receivers. That attitude carried over for everyone in practice as the pace, considering this offseason, was very good and the execution was pretty good — the ball wasn't on the ground as much. Probably the thing that stood out the most in this regard was once the team began running the ball — it was a run-heavy session, as most early camp practices are — it was very physical off the bat. I mean, you didn't hear clanging of the pads, you heard legitimate huge thuds (and FB Jakob Johnson had a lot to do with that). It was almost like these guys were bottled up for months and just let loose. Safety Terrence Brooks said that was the case. "Honestly, it was awesome, man," he said. "It was a lot of fun. The guys were talking about it before practice. ... At one point I was trying to bump into my kids to get some contact. This was fun."
A lot of competitive situations: This being the first practice we've seen since last summer, there were a lot of unknowns in terms how the team viewed certain players. We got a little clarity on that today. Among the players that, based on just one practice, are vying for major or increased roles: