New England Patriots

Jul 30, 2021; Foxborough, MA, United States; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick reacts during training camp at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

The pads haven’t come on quite yet at Patriots training camp, but the team increased the overall intensity at their final unpadded practice on Monday. There was a notable shift in tone an tempo as “real football-type conditions” – as Bill Belichick called them Monday morning – are on the way.

Among the biggest changes was a step away from the red zone. Outside of one late period, most of the team drills took place in between the 20’s. There also seemed to be a clearer dividing line between the presumed starters and reserves (more on that below).

Focused blocking drills were a part of the schedule. Although they were against pads and not other players, it was a clear signal that the players in the trenches are preparing to move beyond the walkthrough stage of camp once the pads come on tomorrow.

Who stood out as the Patriots begin what Belichick called “the next phase” of training camp? Here’s more observations from Day 5…

For more on Day 5 of Patriots training camp, check out the latest episode of the Patriots recap podcast featuring Nicole Yang.

MORE: Kristian Wilkerson making a roster push on special teams

Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 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