In all the years Bill Belichick has been coaching, no summer has been like this.
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Patriots and all other NFL teams have had to make a number of adjustments to obey COVID-19 protocols.
Speaking via video conference Friday, Belichick gave some insight into how the Patriots have operated.
“We’re very fortunate here,” he said. “We have a stadium. We have a big facility. I know there are other teams that are dealing in a much smaller training facility. We have a lot of big spaces and open space that we can work with, and that’s very helpful in the environment that we’re in. We have great food service, a big training room, weight room and so forth, so we’re able to accommodate — with the visitors’ locker room, when you add that in — we’re able to accommodate 80 people pretty comfortable.
“Of course, we have some plexiglass and things like that up that take things a step further, but we’re able to handle the number of people and what we would normally do, and it’s been pretty effective. Again, we’re not walking across the hall to a meeting. We’re walking maybe down to the end of the tunnel to it. But to me, those are relatively minor things. So I’d say overall, we’re doing things pretty close to the way we usually do them with more masks (and) more plexiglass for sure.
“I don’t know what the plexiglass bill around here is, but it’s got to be pretty high.”
“Honestly, I wouldn’t say any of it has just been overwhelming,” Belichick said. “We wear masks. There’s not a buffet line for food. The food’s ordered, it’s boxed and packaged. The dining staff has done a great job. The meetings are in bigger rooms. We’re more spread out. But essentially, it’s the same meeting. We’re just distanced and wearing masks. I think everybody’s just a little more conscious of the hand-washing, the sanitizing, the distancing. We have to wear monitors and all that. There’s just a higher awareness of it.
"But fundamentally, we’re still going over the material — the same material — in a similar progression. We have walkthroughs. We have meetings. We have training and conditioning. We’re going to eventually have individual drills when we get to Phase 2, and then we’re going to get to Phase 3 and have 11-on-11 drills. So I don’t think it’s monumental, but certainly there are adjustments, none of which are, I would say, particularly inhibiting.”The first full-padded practice is slated for Aug. 17.