New England Patriots

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - SEPTEMBER 27: Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots looks on before the game against the Las Vegas Raiders at Gillette Stadium on September 27, 2020 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

By Alex Barth, 985TheSportsHub.com

Saturday morning, the Patriots returned to their facilities in Foxborough for the first time since Stephon Gilmore tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday.

The team has been limited to virtual meetings throughout the week, and now will have just two in-person days of practice (with Sunday expected to be just a walkthrough) before facing the Denver Broncos Monday night.

“It’s good to be back in the stadium and have everyone back in the facility,” head coach Bill Belichick told reporters Saturday morning. “It’s been several days since we’ve had an opportunity to do that, both with the players and the staff and all of us together collectively.”

Still, being back in the building doesn’t solve all of the Patriots problems. In the last eight days, they’ve had arguably their best player on each side of the ball test positive for COVID, leaving their statuses up in the air.

MORE: Who will the Patriots starting QB be on Monday?

“One thing that we’ve learned this year repeatedly has been we have to be ready to adjust and adapt,” Belichick noted. “In some cases [there’s] decisions that really come down to a very short amount of time that we have to be ready to adjust to. We’re certainly taking things day by day, probably hour by hour would be more accurate.”

That statement more or less set up the tone for the rest of Belichick’s availability.

“Do you anticipate Cam Newton being able to practice today,” Belichick was asked.

“I don’t,” Belichick replied before cutting off the text question about the quarterback’s availability for Monday. “I’m not getting into a bunch of hypotheticals. I just told you that. We’re taking it day by day, hour by hour.”

“Do you anticipate having Stephon Gilmore at practice today?”

“No.”

“Do you have any chance of having either Stephon or Cam at Monday’s game?”

“Hour by hour.”

“At this point, who do you anticipate starting at quarterback for your team on Monday night?”

“We’re taking it day by day. Today’s Saturday morning.”

“What is the current state of the quarterback depth chart?”

“Day by day.”

Belichick has never been one to tip his hand early in the past. Two days out from a game in a year where you can lose any player at any minute, it’s understandable that he wouldn’t want to commit to anything.

A pillar of Bill Belichick’s long time success has been his ability to prepare better than whoever is on the other sideline. In 2020, COVID has, at times, taken that ability away. With as uncertain as week as there’s been in the books, we’ll see what he can do with a short turnaround on Monday.

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Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at Alexander.Barth@bbgi.com.