FOXBOROUGH — Former Rutgers coach Greg Schiano will send members of his Tampa Bay Buccaneers staff to Gillette Stadium next week to talk coaching logistics with Bill Belichick and his staff.
Although such a meeting doesn’t violate any NFL rules, it is somewhat unusual considering the Bucs and Patriots will face each other in Week 3 of the season.
Belichick, who last week drafted three of Schiano’s former players and then signed a fourth, has long been friends with the Buccaneers coach and put in a good word for him with the Glazer family last year when it was searching for a successor to coach Raheem Morris.
Schiano is entering his second season with Tampa Bay after coaching the Scarlet Knights for 11 seasons.
According to Sports Illustrated, Schiano wants his people to learn how the Patriots set up their calendar — more specifically, how they organize a preseason and deal with bye weeks. It doesn’t sound like any X’s and O’s will be discussed.
The SI report also stated, without getting into specifics, that this meeting wouldn’t be the first of its kind during Belichick’s tenure in New England.
New kids in town
The Patriots had 28 rookies (seven drafted, 19 undrafted, two CFL signees) as well as five tryout players on hand at Gillette Stadium for the opening of rookie minicamp Friday.
“We’re looking forward to getting out on the field over the next three days and working with a lot of new guys, new faces,” Belichick said. “Obviously, we have a lot of information to give them in every area, not just football, but the whole transition in becoming a professional athlete and, in most cases for these guys, relocating to a part of the country they’re not too familiar with.
“We have a lot of ground to cover, but I think it’s a group that so far seems attentive and eager. Like a lot of groups at this time of year, this group of guys is a similar group to many that we’ve had in the past.”
This group may be similar, but it’s a fair bit larger. By comparison, 2012’s minicamp featured 14 rookies and six second-year roster players who came out because the 2011 rookie minicamp had been wiped out by the lockout.
Josh Boyce, a wide receiver selected in the fourth round out of Texas Christian, was the only player on hand not to participate in the workout. He is recovering from a fracture at the base of his pinky toe.
“I’m day-to-day,” said Boyce, who had surgery in March. “Whenever Coach is ready to put me out there, I’ll be ready to go.”
Southern Mississippi’s Jamie Collins, who was the Patriots’ top selection in last week’s draft (second round, 52d overall), will work primarily at linebacker to begin the preseason, according to Belichick.
“He’s done different things, and eventually, as we go through the spring, we’ll look at him in different spots and see how it goes with him and also see how it goes with him relative to other players we have and what kind of groupings,” Belichick said.
Collins, who has experience playing safety, linebacker, and defensive line, said he doesn’t have a favorite position.
“Whatever I’m asked to do, I’m going to do it, no matter what it is,” said Collins, whose 21 career sacks rank him fifth in school history. “I’m a team player. I’m going to do what I can.”
Asked if he felt any added pressure as the Patriots’ top pick, Collins showed that he already has picked up Belichick’s flair for answering questions.
“I mean, I’m going to do it the right way, regardless if I was picked first, second, third, fourth, last,” he said. “Whatever it is, I’m just going to do it the right way regardless.’’
Michigan State offensive lineman Chris McDonald (brother of Patriots lineman Nick McDonald), two-time Ray Guy Award-winning punter Ryan Allen of Louisiana Tech, and Rutgers cornerback Brandon Jones were notables among the 19 undrafted free agents signed Friday.