The 2020 Patriots took the field for the first time as a team on Wednesday, an exciting development as the team continues to progress through their coronavirus-altered preseason.
"It was great, it really was, just to get out there, put the helmets on and kind of move around at a faster tempo," said running back Rex Burkhead. "We've been doing the virtual meetings, we had that all spring and then the first week here. So you see a lot of guys just through the screens like we're doing right now. It's really cool just to see guys actually out on the field moving around, getting to know them more in person."
Shaq Mason shared Burkhead's excitement to just be back on a football fields with the guys.
"It was great," said Mason. "You know, naturally nobody's played football since we were last all together. I think more than anything it was just great energy. Everybody's just excited to get back on the football field and grind. We haven't been able to go out there as a unit and do things as a whole, but today it was good to get all the guys out there. It was all smiles, high energy. We were all glad to get that going."
For Mason, these minicamp-like sessions will give him a chance to get the little parts of his technique down.
"Just taking the mental aspects and getting your footwork down, getting your hand placement," said Mason. "It's good to actually be out there with the guys and just seeing things, seeing live bullets instead of you know, just being behind a computer screen and just watching things. It's good to get out there and get moving a little bit."
The team is expected to strap on full pads early next week and with limited practice time and no preseason games, everyone understands that every practice moment counts and the clock is ticking.
"With no preseason games, that means every time we step onto the practice field, every single rep is huge," said Burkhead. "We're being evaluated every single day, it's a competition and I think that's what the younger guys really understand as well. Not having a spring to really be able to put any tape out there for the coaches or get to be seen. It's really just every single day, learning as fast as possible for those guys, even myself, continuing to learn and understanding we're competing every single day even though we may not have games. It just heightens that level of competition at practice even more more."
Competition aside, there was great energy for on Wednesday and despite the looming season and the challenges it will present, the first day on the field was a welcome relief for eveveryone.
"As a whole we're just excited to be back together," said Burkhead. "We're looking forward to the season but it's just great being back there on the field today."
Webex Sound Bites
Rex Burkhead to Mike Reiss on his preference between Pat Patriot and the Flying Elvis:
"I like a mixture of it. I like a little bit of the throwback as well, you know I like mixing it up a little bit. But yeah the Pat Patriot one's cool, I like it."
Damiere Byrd on being teammates for one year with Stephon Gilmore:
"He's been the same guy from what I remember. Quiet, confident. Great player. Knows what he has to do to help the team and he does it."