This will be a unique summer for NFL teams for a number of reasons.
One of them is with no preseason games, or even joint practices, it will be harder to evaluate players, especially at positions holding competitions for starting jobs. Relating to the Patriots, that is at quarterback with Cam Newton and Jarrett Stidham.
So, how will they do things?
"There’s no question the more players that you’re trying to rep and get, let's just call them similar looks, the more difficult it can become," offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said Friday via video conference. "You’ve got to be creative. We'll use every period in practice, I know that for sure. You use every period in practice and whether it’s a group period or 7-on-7 or team periods, we’re going to have to evaluate everything we do and it goes from the QB position all the way through the offense on my side of the ball.
"We have a lot of new faces, a lot of new players that are learning things in our system and giving them opportunities to go out there and try to learn the fundamentals required to do those things well is really the most important thing. I think at the end of the day, when you go into a season the way we’re going into it with a truncated offseason, a truncated training camp, I think you really want to try to be as good as you can fundamentally and not worry about volume as much as possible.
"It doesn’t matter how many things you can teach, what matters is what we can do well. So we’re going to have to try to get all our QBs to do things the right way within the scheme of the offense and then let the competition play out and then at some point, that will kind of declare itself."
While Newton obviously has way more experience than Stidham, McDaniels isn't looking at it that way.
"What really matters to me and us and what we do this training camp moving forward here and now, and how we evaluate what they’re doing on a day-by-basis in our offense with our players and our system (is) can they take care of the football, move the ball and score points when they’re out there," he said. "That’s really what all our competitions are based on -- being able to do good things and help our team win."
The Patriots are working their way towards full-padded practices, which are set to begin Aug. 17.