Cleaning out the Patriots notebook

Cleaning out the Patriots notebook with some quick-hit thoughts after three days of mandatory minicamp:

1. Regardless of how things looked on the field, Bill Belichick had to be pleased with the commitment of the team's players. While the team held its mandatory minicamp this week, it was more a culmination of four weeks of team drills. The first three weeks were voluntary, but with almost every player on the roster present, it gives the team a strong foundation heading into training camp. Bill O'Brien, who is leading the offensive coaching staff, said the team's entire offense has been installed.

2. Last year, Belichick called off the final practice of the team's mandatory minicamp as he felt the team had completed all the necessary work. With 12 more draft choices to integrate into the mix, this year's minicamp went all the way to the finish line.

3. While things can always change as training camp unfolds, it looks like the Patriots are going to be bigger on their kickoff return unit from a blocking perspective. That was an area in which the team missed opportunities in 2009, and it's one spot where rookies like Brandon Spikes and Rob Gronkowski can carve out an immediate niche.

4. One point that was stressed by members of the coaching staff was that the four weeks of on-field work were beneficial to work players in different spots. It's easy to fall into the trap of reporting which players are in the first group, and in some cases there is clearly meaning to that, but I think I went a little overboard in some areas (such as outside linebacker).

5. Former Patriots assistant Al Groh, entering his first season as Georgia Tech's defensive coordinator, was a guest of the team this week. Groh makes an annual trip to Patriots camp, but it didn't look like he brought his shovel.