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Team at midway point between mini and training camps

The New England Patriots are almost exactly halfway between the end of the mandatory mini-camp and the training camp, which starts July 17.

The players and coaching staff are all enjoying their final weeks of freedom before the start of the 2000 season, but nobody can afford to forget what was learned at mini-camp three weeks ago. When the team was together from May 30-June 3, the team worked mostly on communication and group work.

The individual work will come in a heavy dose during training camp. Head Coach Bill Belichick said the individual work should wait until camp so the team would have to repeat as little as possible when practices start again.

"Training camp will really be a time for us to focus on techniques," said Belichick, who noted that there was no one-on-one work, particularly for cornerbacks against wide receivers. "My feeling on that is we could've stood out there and done one-on-one techniques for four or five practices and then go to training camp and have to start all over."

Belichick said it was unrealistic to expect players to keep their techniques sharp during the six-week layoff between mini-camp and training camp.

"Even though they are on their own, you can't really keep them that sharp," Belichick said. "A little bit of [training camp] will be starting over again, but we will expect them to be further along."

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