Hopefully, this time they’ll be wearing helmets.
And there will be plenty to look for. Like …
* Seeing what receivers are running with the first team out there. Randy Moss is a lock. Julian Edelman will likely be with Tom Brady’s group. The rest? It’s a whole bunch of “Who Knows?” at a position where battles for playing time and roster spots will be heated in the summer.
* Seeing how the Patriots offense lines up. I’ll be interested, particularly with Wes Welker sidelined, if Tom Brady and the quarterbacks are under center more than we’re accustomed to. There’s more passing game work than anything in these camps (since there’s no contact). So it might be hard to glean too much here, though we did cover the possibility the team moves away from the spread last week.
* Seeing who’s at left guard. Was told that Logan Mankins remains in California this week, so that’s a spot to watch. Based on last year’s depth chart, Dan Connolly likely would be the fill-in for the two-time Pro Bowler.
* Seeing how much progress have the rookies have made. Usually you can get something of an idea by looking at who they’re coming out with. Is Devin McCourty with 1s? Or at least in the nickel? How does Jermaine Cunningham look on his feet? And are Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski working with Brady or not? We’ll take a look today.
* Seeing who’s coaching who. We’ve got it pretty well established now that Brian Ferentz is the de facto tight ends coach and Bill O’Brien is the de facto offensive coordinator, filling the two real holes on the staff roster. A bigger question might be if Bill Belichick continues more intimate involvement with the defense.
* Seeing the tempo. A lot of players have talked about needing to turn up the temperature in 2010. I’ll be interested to see if this one’s a little more fast-paced — players sprinting from drill-to-drill, animated discussions between players and coaches, etc. — than usually for May.
… Alright, we’ll check back in with you guys after the workout. Feel free to fill up the comments section with stuff you want to know from the 11 a.m. practice.