New England Patriots

Jeff Howe of The Athletic joined Toucher & Rich on Monday to talk all things Patriots. Chief among the topics was the overall feel at training camp so far, which has been relatively light on intensity and workload.

Howe believes the Patriots’ lack of joint practices early in training camp could be a big reason why Bill Belichick is taking a slower, lighter approach to start things.

“I think naturally it has to be [less intense], just because the joint practices aren’t here and you don’t have to dial up for that,” Howe said. “The other thing there is, when you’ve got joint practices – especially back-to-back weeks – Belichick has always said that they have to do a lot of their installation work before that other team comes to town, because you’re just sort of going over stuff when that team’s there. You can’t really do as much instruction. A, you don’t want to tip your hand, and B, you don’t wanna slow the pace of the practice to the disservice of the other team. So that could have some play as to why it’s more of a slow climb, as opposed to an intense first week, week-and-a-half before another team comes in.

“Belichick could look at this and say ‘Hey, I’ve got a veteran team. I don’t have to rush it because I don’t have back-to-back weeks of joint practices … so I think there are some differences there. And of course, the magnifying glass is a whole lot bigger this year from all the stories and stuff from the offseason.”

Howe also discusses what he knows about Sony Michel’s knee injury, what to expect from Eric Decker at training camp, and the NFL’s controversial new helmet rules. Listen above for the full interview!

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