Bill Belichick delivers predominant quote on the 2020 Rookie class of Patriots | New England Patriots

It will be an even steeper uphill battle than normal for NFL rookies to contribute this season, but New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick seemed happy with his group of freshmen while acknowledging the challenges they face.

In a normal year, first-year players would have already undergone rookie minicamp, organized team activities, full-squad minicamp, two-week training camp and their first preseason game. The Patriots have not even placed pads yet, and since Friday morning they have practiced twice.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, all attendance at the training camp was canceled, and players met instead this spring. Due to the loss of OTAs and minicamp, training camp began with a boarding period of two weeks before practices began this week. Preseason has been canceled, so rookies will have about a month to practice to get ready for the NFL 2020 season, which begins Sept. 13 for the Patriots as they face the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium.

“I think all our rookies have worked extremely hard. They are sitting in deep water, turbulent water, and it will get rougher, ”Belichick said Friday in a video conference call. ‘Just what the volume and level of competition is, becoming a professional athlete and the whole day and consecutive days that come together with very high demands, both physical, mental and rest and recovery, and all that. I think all the boys adapt to it. They all work hard at it. It’s a really hard working group. There have been no problems. They just do the best they can, but they swim.

‘They sit in deep water and their eyes open every day as we step up in the process and we are still a long way from everything close to real football. We do more now than we did before. Every day is an acclimatization day and adjustment day for them. I think they’re just trying to keep their heads above water and try to swim or paddle in the right direction, knowing they are not really capable of holding, but they are doing the best they can and they can, by far forward where they were a week ago, two weeks ago, a month ago, two months ago. Lots of progress there, but a long way to go. But they are really all in the same boat. It’s a hardworking, conscientious, eager group. They have a lot that they will have to absorb. We’ll get a much better evaluation of where they are up to 10 days next week when things start to start on the football field and we start playing some football. ”

The Patriots will likely adjust to the loss of preseason games by holding intrasquad scrimmages this summer.

Rookies may need to be counted on key positions after eight Patriots veteran players were selected for the 2020 NFL season. Among those rookies who may have to step up from day 1 are tight ends Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene, linebackers Josh Uche and Anfernee Jennings and safety Kyle Dugger.

One rookie from the Patriots, center Dustin Woodard, has been retiring from NFL practice for two days.

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