FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The Patriots concluded their three-day mandatory minicamp Thursday, which also marked the end of an important phase of their offseason program.
Most of the players were present over the last four weeks -- even though the first three weeks were voluntary -- and head coach Bill Belichick left the practice field Thursday feeling as if the team is headed in the right direction.
"I thought the players have worked hard. We've had a good number of practice sessions and I thought it's been competitive but still at a good teaching progression," he said. "We've got a lot of people a lot of reps. I think that will do us good in the long run, working guys at different positions and all those kind of things. We'll take a good evaluation of where we're at; I think everybody has a lot to work on -- coaches, players individually, collectively -- but we're off to a decent start here. I think we have a good foundation going into training camp. That's what we were hoping for. We'll be ready to go to camp in five weeks."
While some players will remain in the area to finish their participation in the offseason program, others will depart until they return for training camp in late July. Belichick was asked what message he gives the players.
"We have a long way to go," he said. "Everybody will be on their own here for a while, and will need to continue to work and get ourselves in good condition -- both physically and mentally. There are a lot of techniques and individual things that guys can work on between now and the start of camp, in addition to the conditioning. Those will be emphasized to each individual player. They're all different for each individual guy."
As for Belichick's plans over the next five weeks, he detailed his personal itinerary.
"First, we're going to go through what we've done here and try to evaluate it, and talk about things we've done and make a plan going forward for training camp," he said. "Then take a little time and get away -- see if I can keep the ball in the fairway, maybe see if the fish are biting."