The New England Patriots announced this morning that they have cancelled the final day of mini-camp practice along with today's media availability at Gillette Stadium. Mini-camp will conclude after player meetings this morning.
Last spring, Bill Belichick also cancelled the final day of mini-camp, with the best interests of the football team surely in mind.
The next time the Patriots take the field will be at training camp in late July. Specific dates for practices - including those open to the public - have yet to be announced.
With all of the turnover at the wide receiver position this offseason, Tom Brady knows that training camp will be an important time to develop an even stronger rapport with his new teammates. The intensity will be ramped-up as rookies and veterans vie for a spot on the roster.
"Running around in shorts and our game jerseys without pads, it’s football but it’s not really football," said Brady regarding recent mini-camp and OTA practices. "You really learn the most about players when it’s the hardest. Training camp is a good time to develop some of that chemistry and mental toughness as a team.
"The more of those guys we have, the better we’re going to be. To be mentally and physically tough is the most important part of football."
Free-agent acquisition Danny Amendola seems to be the only lock to start at wide receiver when the Patriots open their season on Sept. 8 in Buffalo. Brady hopes that he and Amendola will continue to develop chemistry in a Patriots offense that some receivers have struggled to adapt to.
"I've developed some great chemistry with receivers over the years. That body language is really important: when to sit, when to move, when to give me your eyes, when to give me your hands, all those little cues that you’re using to try to anticipate things as players are very important," explained Brady. "That’s why some guys really pick things up and why you develop a chemistry with certain players. Like Aaron [Hernandez] and Rob [Gronkowski], they got it so quickly and they were very talented players.
"Danny has come in and he’s been fun to play with. He’s come in and worked so hard. He’s diving out there for catches. He’s really done everything that we've asked him to do. It’s been a lot of fun."
So with the end of mini-camp, the Patriots hope to have laid the foundation for a successful summer in Foxborough. In just over a month, they'll be back on the practice fields again -- albeit with a whole new level of intensity.