The NFL notified teams of two changes to training camp protocol on Tuesday night as the league continues to evaluate risk factors associated with Covid-19. All clubs will be required to hold training camp at their home facilities now, a change that will impact multiple teams but not the Patriots, who have held their training camp at Gillette Stadium since 2002.
The second change, however, could alter the Patriots plans as the league also let clubs know that joint practices will not be allowed this summer. The Patriots are scheduled to host Matt Patricia's Detroit Lions for the first week of the preseason and it seemed likely they'd be interested in holding joint practices again after doing so last summer.
Joint practices have been productive and useful for the Patriots in recent years. The team went six-straight seasons with them before taking a break in 2018, then resuming the practices in 2019 with both the Lions and Titans. The chance to practice against other personnel and schemes was a big benefit to both the players and the coaches, and the Patriots have made the most of the sessions over the years.
Additionally, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported on Wednesday morning that multiple sources are telling him that players will not report to facilities at all until training camps officially start. That would mean no in-person OTAs or minicamps at all this offseason, increasing the challenges for young teams, especially those like the Patriots who will have a new starter at quarterback.
With the scheduled start of camp just a little under two months away, we're slowly getting a clearer picture of how football might get back underway and how it might look. The NFL did mention these changes were only for 2020 and that they're hopeful the standard operating procedures would return in 2021.