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.”