New England Patriots

Gillette Stadium before the Patriots' first in-stadium practice of 2021.

For their ninth training camp practice, the Patriots moved inside Gillette Stadium. It was the first of two planned in-stadium practices this summer.

Friday night was set up as a scrimmage, with players from each position being evenly split into two teams. Cam Newton led one squad, throwing to a group that included Nelson Agholor, Jakobi Meyers, N’Keal Harry, and Hunter HenryMac Jones was paired with Kendrick BourneJonnu SmithIsaiah Zuber, and Tre Nixon.

The pace of Friday’s practice was as slow as we’ve seen so far this summer. Players were just in helmets, jerseys, and shorts – not even ‘shells,’ or half pads. There was virtually no contact along the line of scrimmage, with receivers and defensive backs jogging through their assignments.

Given that pace, there’s few if any true evaluations that can be made from Friday’s session. It was, in the strictest definition of the term, a football practice. The focus wasn’t on the plays being run, but everything happening in between. Play calling, substitutions, personnel packages – making sure everybody knows where they need to be and when they need to be there.

From pregame stretching to a shortened ‘halftime,’ procedure was the key. Belichick seemingly wanted to simulate a gameday environment.

Here’s more news and notes from Friday’s in-stadium session…

For more on Friday night’s Patriots practice, check out the latest training camp recap podcast featuring 98.5’s Matt Dolloff.

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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