As you probably know, mandatory New England Patriots minicamp began yesterday. Although Musket Fire couldn’t be there to report on practice because we have real-person jobs, we have pulled together nine things you should know about the first day of Patriots minicamp from some of the best Patriots beat reporters out there: Mike Reiss of ESPN, Paul Perillo of Patriots Football Weekly and Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald.
9. Tom Brady and Martellus Bennett working with each other away from everyone else.
You have to like this: Brady getting some quality alone time with the Patriots’ top offensive acquisition. In particular, Brady and Bennett were getting accustomed to each other in the red zone, an area where the 6-foot-6 Bennett should excel in alongside Rob Gronkowski.
Here’s what Bennett had to say after practice about the time with Brady:
"It’s just like the student-to-teacher ratio. When it’s lower, you have a better chance of learning the material."
Oh, and the reason it was just Bennett working with Brady and not Gronk was because…
8. Gronk and 12 others did not participate in the first day of Patriots minicamp.
In addition to No. 87, the Patriots were without Julian Edelman (foot), Danny Amendola (knee, ankle), LeGarrette Blount, Dion Lewis (ACL recovery), Tre’ Jackson, Sebastian Vollmer, Nate Solder, Josh Kline, Shaq Mason, Duron Harmon, Logan Ryan and Nate Ebner (U.S. Rugby commitment).
7. Four OTAs absences appeared at practice for the first time this offseason.
Malcolm Butler, Joe Cardona, Frank Kearse and Alan Branch were seen after skipping OTAs. Much was made of a possible link between Butler’s OTAs absence and his contract situation, but the star cornerback downplayed that chucked around a few go-to Patriotisms in interviews. As for Cardona, well, it certainly looks like he will be playing in 2016 so that’s good news. Branch is known for skipping voluntary workouts anyway, but still good to see him back at work.
Next: 6. Cyrus Jones was best punt returner