Saturday will mark the third day of New England Patriots training camp. For the first time this summer they’ll strap on the pads for a full contact, full speed practice session at Gillette Stadium. The intensity will be ramped up when the team hits the field.
On Days 1 and 2 of camp, the Patriots practiced in shirts, shorts and shells. Bill Belichick had his team run many different drills to help get his guys back in the swing of things. The team ran through positional orientated activities, 7-on-7s and 11-on-11s though, not at full speed.
Strapping on the pads will begin to separate the men from the boys. Not only does it present a physical test for the players, but a mental one as well. We’ve seen tempers flare during non-contact drills, specifically between Julian Edelman and Kyle Arrington. Things will certainly become more testy when the players start popping one another.
One player who won’t take part in contact drills is Rob Gronkowski. Even though Gronk claims he’s ready to rock and roll, he’s not quite ready to turn it up to 100% just yet.
“If it was 100%, I’d be doing every single little thing,” said Gronk following Friday’s practice.
Nonetheless, practicing in full pads will help the team get acclimated to game experience. It’ll also gives guys a better idea as to where they’re at in regards to conditioning. Practicing without pads is much different than with pads on.
“I’ve got to listen to the trainers, but I would say no, I’m not going to be doing full contact tomorrow. But you want to be in pads. You want to be in the full equipment because it’s a big difference not having the pads on running routes and having the pads on running routes,” added Gronk.
The Patriots begin practice at 9:15 a.m. on both Saturday and Sunday.