Here is everything you need to know as the Patriots open training camp to begin preparing for the 2016 NFL season:
Rookies report: Saturday, July 23
Veterans report: Wednesday, July 27
First practice open to the public: Thursday, July 28
Other announced practice dates: July 29, July 30, July 31, Aug. 1 (Other practice dates and times have not been determined.)
Joint practice dates: Aug. 9-10 with New Orleans; Aug. 15-16 with Chicago.
Patriots Hall of Fame induction: Aug. 1, 5 p.m.
Preseason opener: Aug. 11 vs. New Orleans
New names, new faces
A look at who is new to Patriots training camp this year, rookies and veterans who signed this offseason with the team:
|Jacoby Brissett||QB||6-4||235||7||North Carolina State||Third-round pick|
|D.J. Foster||RB||6-0||195||27||Arizona State||UDFA|
|Kamu Grugier-Hill||LB||6-2||215||48||Eastern Illinois||Sixth-round pick|
|Cyrus Jones||CB||5-10||197||24||Alabama||Second-round pick|
|Ted Karras||G||6-3||307||75||Illinois||Sixth-round pick|
|Cre’von LeBlanc||CB||5-11||195||35||Florida Atlantic||UDFA|
|Devin Lucien||WR||6-2||195||16||Arizona State||Seventh-round pick|
|Malcolm Mitchell||WR||6-0||198||19||Georgia||Fourth-round pick|
|Elandon Roberts||LB||6-0||235||52||Houston||Sixth-round pick|
|Joe Thuney||G||6-5||304||62||North Carolina State||Third-round pick|
|Vincent Valentine||DT||6-4||329||99||Nebraska||Third-round pick|
|Bryce Williams||TE||6-6||258||81||East Carolina||UDFA|
|Martellus Bennett||9||TE||6-6||273||83||Traded from Chicago in March.||CHI|
|E.J. Biggers||8||CB||6-0||185||39||Free agent signed in March.||PHI|
|Donald Brown||8||RB||5-10||207||34||Free agent signed in March.||SD|
|Clay Harbor||7||TE||6-3||250||88||Free agent signed in April.||JAX|
|Chris Hogan||4||WR||6-1||220||15||Free agent signed in March||BUF|
|Ramon Humber||8||LB||5-11||232||53||Free agent signed in March.||NO|
|Anthony Johnson||2||DT||6-2||317||65||Free agent signed in May.||WAS|
|Frank Kearse||5||DT||6-5||310||72||Free agent signed in March.||WAS|
|Terrance Knighton||8||NT||6-3||354||96||Free agent signed in April.||WAS|
|Markus Kuhn||5||DT||6-4||303||94||Free agent signed in April.||NYG|
|Chris Long||9||DE||6-3||268||95||Free agent signed in March.||STL|
|Shea McClellin||5||LB||6-3||245||58||Free agent signed in March.||CHI|
|Christian Yount||5||LS||6-1||250||42||Free agent signed in April.||CLE|
Who's in contention: Tom Brady, Jimmy Garoppolo, Jacoby Brissett.
Quick hits: Of course, this is Brady's spot. But Garoppolo is the presumed starter for the first four weeks while Brady serves his Deflategate suspension. However, Brissett, drafted this year in the third round, is poised to at least make the competition with Garoppolo in training camp interesting.
Who's in contention: Rob Gronkowski, Martellus Bennett, A.J. Derby, Clay Harbor, Steven Scheu, Bryce Williams.
Quick hits: The top two are obvious — Gronkowski and Bennett, who looks motivated and in great shape as he enters a free agency season. The battles for the backup spots are wide open. Harbor, a seven-year veteran, is the presumed favorite to be the No. 3 tight end after signing a two-year, $3 million deal in the offseason. With only $400,000 guaranteed, Harbor still will have to earn his spot. Derby, a sixth-round pick last year who missed the entire season with an injury, is big and athletic and at minimum should be a practice squad candidate. And two undrafted rookies were hard to miss during minicamp — Williams, with his long, flowing hair, catching touchdowns, and Scheu catching passes out of the backfield as more of an H-back.
Who's in contention: Danny Amendola, DeAndre Carter, Aaron Dobson, Julian Edelman, Chris Harper, Chris Hogan, Devin Lucien, Keshawn Martin, Malcolm Mitchell, Matthew Slater, Nate Washington.
Quick hits: Edelman is the clear cut No. 1 receiver. Amendola returns after the most productive of his three seasons in Foxborough and took a pay cut for the second straight year. Hogan ran with the first team all spring, has excellent size, and showed off speed, quickness, and extremely sure hands.
At least two established veterans out of Martin, Washington, and Dobson won't make the cut. Martin gets the early nod because of his versatility as a receiver and value as a return man. Washington's inexperience in New England and the fact that he is entering his 12th year in the league work against him. Dobson is at a disadvantage because of his injury history (he has yet to play a full season) and the fact that he doesn't play special teams.
Mitchell looked athletic and acrobatic in the spring. He's very well-read and has experience as a return man. Carter, Harper, and Lucien will need to turn some heads (they have that capability) to earn a place on the 53, but all are strong practice squad candidates.
Who's in contention: LeGarrette Blount, Brandon Bolden, Donald Brown, James Develin, D.J. Foster, Tyler Gaffney, Joey Iosefa, Dion Lewis, James White.
Quick hits: Develin (leg) and Lewis (knee) made it back onto the field this spring, but Blount (hip) wasn't spotted, leaving his status somewhat in doubt. Lewis is a man of a million moves and can accelerate and decelerate fluidly. Lewis was unrestricted and brace-free at the final spring organized team activity that media was allowed to attend. Blount embraces his role as a battering ram who can find holes, use his muscle to create running room, and wear down a defense. Bolden, White, and Brown — all veterans — will battle for two spots. Bolden is a jack-of-all-trades back and is also a special teams standout. White is quick and shifty and shows playmaking flashes but still has trouble consistently breaking tackles and making yards on his own. Brown is a dependable player who could grab a roster spot, but may be a victim of a numbers game. Iosefa and Gaffney are hybrid backs who are on the bubble, but could surprise. Foster is versatile with great hands and would be a practice squad lock if he doesn't sneak onto the 53.
Who's in contention: David Andrews, Chris Barker, Marcus Cannon, Jonathan Cooper, Cameron Fleming, Tre' Jackson, Ted Karras, Josh Kline, Shaq Mason, Keavon Milton, Nate Solder, Bryan Stork, Joe Thuney, Sebastian Vollmer, LaAdrian Waddle.
Quick hits: Stork can be a stalwart and a leader. A center by nature, he played guard and tackle last season, too. Andrews was a real find at center last season, and the Patriots went 11-0 when Andrews started. Solder and Vollmer are above-average tackles. Solder is athletic and can mirror pass rushers. Vollmer is as strong as an ox. Cannon struggles with consistency, but his time in the program gives him the edge over Waddle. Thuney played both tackle and both guard spots in college. Fleming flip-flopped between the active roster and practice squad in 2015, and that could be the case again. Cooper will get his chance to claim a starting spot, especially with Kline (shoulder) and Jackson (knee) possibly destined for the physically unable to perform list. Mason is exceptionally athletic for an offensive lineman and excels in the run game. Karras is tough and comes from great stock. Barker and Milton are long shots to make the 53, but both have practice squad eligibility.
Who's in contention: Jamie Collins, Jonathan Freeny, Kamu Grugier-Hill, Dont'a Hightower, Ramon Humber, C.J. Johnson, Rufus Johnson, Shea McClellin, Elandon Roberts, Kevin Snyder.
Quick hits: Collins and Hightower represent two of the NFL's best at the position. Versatile and valuable, they are elite difference-makers who must be accounted for on every snap. Freeny is the top backup, a heady player with deceptive quickness and strength. Humber and Snyder will be in the mix. If Rufus Johnson duplicates his performance from last summer it will be hard to keep him off the roster or stash him on the practice squad. Grugier-Hill looked comfortable as a gunner and instinctive in recording an interception and at least one pass breakup. Roberts is another instinctive player who put up gaudy numbers during his three campaigns at Houston.
Who's in contention: Alan Branch, Malcom Brown, Trey Flowers, Geneo Grissom, Woodrow Hamilton, Anthony Johnson, Frank Kearse, Terrance Knighton, Markus Kuhn, Chris Long, Rob Ninkovich, Jabaal Sheard, Vincent Valentine, Joe Vellano.
Quick hits: Knighton and Kuhn add depth and a lot of beef up front, joining Branch and Brown, who entering his second season. Valentine has mammoth size and a powerful body. He figures to fit into the rotation if he can stay healthy, which was a problem in college. Ninkovich has the chops to play anywhere in this defense. He'll get to the ball no matter where he's lined up. Sheard proved rather quickly that he could make plays from any spot last season. The sky's the limit for him in this defense. Long is an exceptionally smart player, comes from great stock, and if he's healthy he can still be a force off the edge. Tough calls on Kearse and second-year players Flowers and Grissom. It wouldn't be a surprise if any or all earned a spot with standout summers. It's tough to imagine Hamilton, Johnson, or Vellano making a successful push for a spot.
Who's in contention: V'Angelo Bentley, E.J. Biggers, Malcolm Butler, Justin Coleman, Cyrus Jones, Jonathan Jones, Cre'von LeBlanc, Darryl Roberts, Logan Ryan.
Quick hits: Three spots are settled: Butler, Ryan, and Jones. The competition for the final two spots is wide open, with a couple of second-year guys as the early favorites: Coleman and Roberts, who spent all of last year on injured reserve. Biggers, Bentley, LeBlanc, and Jones are the other players in the mix, with LeBlanc the early standout. The Patriots probably aren't done searching for cornerback depth, either. They could use more experience and should be looking for one in training camp, be it through a trade or waiver-wire pickup.
Who's in contention: Patrick Chung, Nate Ebner, Duron Harmon, Brandon King, Devin McCourty, Jordan Richards, Cedric Thompson, Brock Vereen.
Quick hits: McCourty is the unquestioned leader of this unit. Chung brings versatility and smarts to the defensive backfield, as does Richards, entering his second season. Harmon has served as a serviceable backup and rotation man. Ebner is a special teams aces and valued by coaches and his teammates. King, Thompson, and Vereen will compete to fill out this unit.
How to watch training camp
NFL training camp practices aren't quite as exciting as the games on Sunday, and it can be easy to drift off and lose track of the action, particularly during the individual portions of practice. But Patriots practices can be fascinating if you pay close attention. Which players are winning the position battles? Which combinations are the coaches using on the offensive line, and in the secondary? Which undrafted rookie is standing out? Which esoteric game scenario is Belichick working on repeatedly?
Here is a guide we developed last year and tweaked this year for tips on how to watch practice and have a good feel for what the Patriots accomplished during practice:
■ Fans usually sing Happy Birthday to Tom Brady on his birthday, Aug. 3. (He'll be 39 this year.) One year, lineman Matt Light smushed a cake in Brady's face. Three years ago, "Happy 40th Birthday, Tom" T-shirts were made for the whole team. He was only 36.
■ The rookies, at some point, go through a muddy slip-n-slide. The equipment workers soak a back corner of the field, and rookies have to dive into the slop while being hosed down by a veteran (usually Brady).
■ After each practice session, a position group (or two, depending on how many players are in each position group) spends time signing autographs for fans.
■ Parking and admission are free. Practices are on the fields behind Gillette Stadium.
■ The schedule throughout training camp is tentative and subject to change. Fans planning to attend practice should to check Patriots.com for daily updates or call the training camp hotline at 508-549-0001.
■ When the Patriots are forced to practice indoors due to inclement weather or poor field conditions, practices will be closed to the public.
■ There are concessions positioned at various locations around the practice fields and the Patriots Fan Zone.
■ Prohibited items: Animals, except service animals assisting those with disabilities, alcohol, beach balls, bullhorns and air horns, coolers, fireworks or pyrotechnics, flags will be allowed, however flag poles over two feet in length will not be allowed, helium balloons, illegal drugs or any other illegal substance, laser pens, noise makers, video cameras, weapons of any kind (including knives), unmanned aircraft systems, remotely controlled model aircraft, selfie sticks, GoPro cameras.
■ From Boston and farther north: Take I-95 South to Exit 9. Follow Rte. 1 south approximately 3 miles to Gillette Stadium (on the left).
■ From Cape Cod: I-495 North to Exit 14A. Follow Rte. 1 north about 4 miles to Gillette Stadium (on the right).
■ From southern Connecticut, Rhode Island: Take I-95 North to I-495 North to Exit 14A. Follow Rte. 1 north about 4 miles to Gillette Stadium (on the right).
■ From northern Connecticut, Vermont, upstate New York: I-90 East to I-495 South to Exit 14A. Follow Rte. 1 north about 4 miles to Gillette Stadium (on the right).
|Aug. 11||vs. Saints||7:30 p.m.||Patriots preseason network|
|Aug. 18||vs. Bears||8 p.m.||Patriots preseason network|
|Aug. 26||at Panthers||7:30 p.m.||Patriots preseason network|
|Sept. 1||at Giants||7 p.m.||Patriots preseason network|
|Sept. 11||at Cardinals||8:30 p.m.||NBC|
|Sept. 18||vs. Dolphins||1 p.m.||CBS|
|Sept. 22||vs. Texans||8:25 p.m.||CBS, NFLN|
|Oct. 2||vs. Bills||1 p.m.||CBS|
|Oct. 9||at Browns||1 p.m.||CBS|
|Oct. 16||vs. Bengals||1 p.m.||CBS|
|Oct. 23||at Steelers||4:25 p.m.||CBS|
|Oct. 30||at Bills||1 p.m.||CBS|
|Nov. 13||vs. Seahawks||8:30 p.m.||NBC|
|Nov. 20||at 49ers||4:25 p.m.||CBS|
|Nov. 27||at Jets||8:30 p.m.||NBC|
|Dec. 4||vs. Rams||1 p.m.||FOX|
|Dec. 12||vs. Ravens||8:30 p.m.||ESPN|
|Dec. 18||at Broncos||4:25 p.m.||CBS|
|Dec. 24||vs. Jets||1 p.m.||CBS|
|Jan. 1||at Dolphins||1 p.m.||CBS|
|Jan. 7 and 8||AFC and NFC Wild Cards||CBS, ESPN, FOX, NBC|
|Jan. 14 and 15||AFC and NFC Divisionals||CBS, FOX, NBC|
|Jan. 22||AFC and NFC Championships||CBS, NBC|
|Jan. 29||Pro Bowl in Orlando||ESPN|
|Feb. 5||Super Bowl LI||FOX|
|Aug. 11||Deadline for players under contract to report to earn a season of free-agency credit|
|Aug. 11||If a drafted rookie has not been signed by this date, he can't be traded this season|
|Aug. 13-17||Teams must inform unsigned players they're headed for the exempt list|
|Aug. 30||Rosters cut to 75 by 4 p.m. ET|
|Sept. 3||Rosters cut to 53 on active/inactive list by 4 p.m. ET|
|Sept. 3||Players on PUP or non-football injury lists must move from active to reserve|
|Sept. 4||After noon, practice squads of 10 can be formed|
|Sept. 4||After 4 p.m. ET, teams can deem a player on IR as designated for return|
|Sept. 7||Teams must file season's first injury report by 4 p.m. ET|
|Oct. 18||Players on PUP or non-football injury lists can begin practicing|
|Nov. 1||Trade deadline, 4 p.m. ET|
|Jan. 2||Teams may begin signing free agents for 2017 season|