Shortened preseason kicks off at Gillette

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady throws the ball during the first day of their NFL training camp.

Better late than never, right? 

That was the theme going into Patriots training camp Thursday, as players took the field — albeit without pads — for the first time this year.

It looked more like a glorified walkthrough than anything else, but make no mistake about it: The Pats are going full-throttle any way the new CBA will let them.

“I mean, there’s less time,” coach Bill Belichick said. “But I think it’s somewhat incumbent on us as a coaching staff and an organization to give the team the best opportunity to perform well. That may be doing things a little bit differently than we’ve done them in the past.”

The Pats’ first preseason game is less than two weeks away, and there’s a lot to cover. The team’s players-only offseason workouts should help.

“We’re all prepared; guys are physically in shape,” Deion Branch said. “Now it’s all about getting in football shape.”

Even with all their veteran leadership, it’s going to be a tricky preseason.

“There are some key pieces on a lot of teams in this league,” Ty Warren said.

“But I think at the end of the day, ultimately everybody is starting from the same starting line.”


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