Editor’s note: The following item appeared in Ben Volin’s Sunday NFL notes.
■ Not only are the Patriots not holding any joint practices for the first time since 2011, but Bill Belichick confirmed on Friday that they’re not having an officiating crew work any of their training camp practices, either. Considering the new helmet rule, the new catch rule, and the new kickoff rules, you’d think the Patriots could benefit from a few days of practicing with the zebras.
Belichick said he didn’t watch the Ravens-Bears game on Thursday, but that he will study the tape to see how the officials called some of the rules and how the new kickoffs worked. Director of officiating Al Riveron is expected to make a video analyzing some of the calls in the game, and Belichick said he’s looking forward to watching it before the preseason opener against Washington on Thursday.
■ A couple of injured ex-Patriots at least left Foxborough with nice parting gifts. Tight end Troy Niklas, signed in April and released on the second day of training camp, still receives $250,000 from the team ($75,000 signing bonus, $75,000 offseason workout bonus, $100,000 base salary guaranteed). And receiver Jordan Matthews will walk away with $300,000 for his four months with the team ($80,000 signing bonus, $130,000 offseason workout bonus, $90,000 base salary guaranteed).
■ Interesting tweet from longtime Colts beat writer Mike Chappell this past week, pointing out that only five Colts are still left from the AFC Championship game loss to the Patriots in the 2014 season — Andrew Luck, Adam Vinatieri, Anthony Castonzo, T.Y. Hilton, and Jack Doyle. Turnover is the norm in the NFL, and the Patriots have had their fair share, as well. But the Patriots still have 15 players left from that game.