FOXBORO -- Wednesday marked the middle of New England's three-day mini-camp. The workouts are mandatory, but not because conclusive evaluations for the regular season are being made. There's no pads, no tackling, and things happen at a relatively relaxed tempo.
What's the big deal? You've got to set up footings before you can pour the forms. Belichick said at least half of the Patriots' schemes are installed during this time.
"There's a lot of things we don't do -- a lot of situational things, situational plays, some adjustments and things like that. But it's a foundation, a base. Definitely, everything we do from here will build on what we've done so I think that's really the important thing. It's a pretty good chunk."
Just being on the field keeps a player on pace. With 25 rookies and a host of veterans who are new to Foxboro, there are a lot of lessons to be learned. Miss time, even for injury, and you'll feel it.
"Any player that's not out there is behind," Belichick said. "The fact that [injured players are] not out there is the best thing for them because they need to get physically healthy and rehab whatever condition they have, so that's more important than them being out there. But if they were healthy and they could be out there, they would gain more from being out there than not being out there.
"Guys that can't be out there, they're working hard and hopefully they'll be out there as soon as they can. We have guys at different stages of that process. When they're ready, they're ready."
Tight end Rob Gronkowski, receiver Julian Edelman and rookie receiver Josh Boyce have all missed reps so far as they nurse various injuries. Offensive lineman Nick McDonald was also not spotted at Tuesday's session.