FOXBOROUGH — Tom Brady has plenty of reasons to be motivated to put in a little extra work.
He’s entering his 15th year with the Patriots (14th as the starter), and who knows how much time he has left? He’ll be 37 this fall, and though he is signed through the 2017 season, the Patriots drafted a quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo, in the second round, just in case.
It would be easy to envision Brady putting in a little more work, and practicing with a little more intensity, given that his window for winning another Super Bowl is starting to close.
But offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels doesn’t see any changes in his star quarterback.
“I think his preparation and the way he comes to work and approaches his job has always been incredibly consistent,” McDaniels said Friday. “He’s always at the top of his game in that regard.
“He’s going to work hard, he’s going to spend a lot of time here, takes incredible care of his body, he’s ready to practice every single day — mentally and physically — and obviously it’s a pleasure to coach him.
“I see the same guy. Obviously a very gifted player with a great attitude and great leadership skills and traits, and nothing’s really changed.”
Friday’s voluntary organized team activity was the first one open to the media. The players weren’t allowed to wear pads or conduct full-contact drills, but they practiced 11-on-11 situations with Brady and backup Ryan Mallett taking turns running the offense.
“Everybody was working with everybody. We don’t have any units, 1, 2, 3,” McDaniels said. “We’re really focused on trying to teach our system to players again. There’s always new things you’re adding, and we want them to be experienced before we go to training camp.”
McDaniels is pleased with the progress of the trio of second-year receivers: Aaron Dobson, Kenbrell Thompkins, and Josh Boyce. Dobson has not been practicing as he recovers from foot surgery, but McDaniels said he could tell the game has been slowing down for Thompkins and Boyce. Those two will probably be among several receivers battling for one roster spot.
“They’re not rookies — you can see that right away,” McDaniels said. “Now we’re not in Stage 1 anymore, and those guys have kind of hit the ground running. Their minds have slowed down so they can process a lot of information. We can count on them to do things after the snap. It will be exciting to see how far we can go with them.”
McDaniels raved about Julian Edelman, who returned on a new four-year deal after catching a career-high 105 passes for 1,056 yards and six touchdowns.
“He’s a tireless worker and a guy we can do a lot of things with,” said McDaniels. “He’s very unselfish, doesn’t care what is asked of him.
“I think just his presence, the way he works, his ethic, how he studies and prepares for OTAs for games for practices and the way he keeps his body in great condition, I think it’s a great example for all of our players on offense and defense.”
Getting lined up
Dave DeGuglielmo knows he has a hard act to follow. And he’s OK with that.
The new offensive line coach, named to the position the same day the team announced the retirement of legendary coach Dante Scarnecchia after 30 years with the organization, said he is bringing his own “flavor” to his group. And judging by the way he operated in Friday’s OTA and the way tight end Michael Hoomanawanui spoke about him last week, DeGuglielmo’s flavor appears to be pretty forceful.
“Everybody’s personality’s a little bit different, and I’m just me,” the 45-year-old DeGuglielmo said. “I can only be the best me possible. I can’t try to be someone else, and I’m trying to do my part and be the best offensive line coach I can be.”
DeGuglielmo inherits a line that includes longtime starter Logan Mankins, veterans Sebastian Vollmer, Nate Solder, Ryan Wendell, and Dan Connolly, and younger players like draft picks Bryan Stork, Cameron Fleming, and Jon Halapio.
He’s happy with the work the players have put in so far, but the offensive and defensive lines are typically toughest to assess during noncontact work like OTAs.
Of the rookies, he said, “They’ve got a long way to go. We all have a long way to go, including myself. It’s hard to assess people when we’re running around over here in shorts and T-shirts. All that stuff will work itself out down the road.
“I think we have quality young men. They work hard, they study hard, and most importantly they have to pick up the mental end of it, and I think they’re doing a great job. They’re doing everything I would expect that a rookie could do.”
A Massachusetts native who played at Boston University, DeGuglielmo (co-workers are already calling him “Googs”) said he isn’t sure if there’s added pressure in following a coach as revered as Scarnecchia.
“I have great respect for him, and the foundation that he’s established here is tremendous,” DeGuglielmo. “Maybe that’s easier, because he’s established such a foundation and the way that they work and practice.
“It’s an honor to be in a position like this, and I think if I look at myself down the road, I would like to be in a place as long as he was and have the respect that he has, but I’ve just got to work at it every day like he did. He was a worker. And I appreciate the advice he’s given me in the past.”
The Patriots do not wear numbered jerseys during OTAs, ostensibly so players can learn each other’s voices and how to play together, but the practice makes attendance-taking difficult. Ten of the 90 players on the roster were not spotted: WRs Dobson, Matthew Slater, and Brandon LaFell, QB Garoppolo, OLs Mankins and Fleming, CB Alfonzo Dennard, DLs Dominique Easley and L.T. Tuipulotu, and TE Asa Watson. Garoppolo and Watson are at the NFL Players Association Rookie Premiere event in Los Angeles. “It’s a tough decision, something that you never want to have to miss, the first couple of practices with a new organization,” Garoppolo told the Globe by phone. “It’s tough to miss those, and I’m going to have a lot of catching up to do. But I’m trying not to miss out on too much.” Fleming’s absence is likely attributable to Stanford’s academic calendar . . . There were also several players in an injury rehab group doing work to the side and in the Dana-Farber Fieldhouse: DLs Vince Wilfork, Tommy Kelly, and Will Smith, TE Rob Gronkowski, RB Brandon Bolden, LT Solder, DB Justin Green, and LB Deontae Skinner . . . The Patriots will return to the field Monday, with OTAs schedule for Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday. Media will be allowed to watch Thursday’s session.