The NFL lockout may still be in full swing with no end in sight, but that hasn't stopped the New England Patriots from preparing for the 2011 season, whenever it may start.
Tom Brady, who is back in the area after spending the offseason Los Angeles, is leading players-only workouts that started on Wednesday. The second practice came on Tuesday. Both have been held at Boston College's Alumni Stadium.
More than 40 Patriots players attended Wednesday's session -- a tribute to Brady's leadership and influence on the team -- which lasted about 2.5 hours. On Thursday, the practice was around 90 minutes, and included veterans Vince Wilfork, Jerod Mayo, Devin McCourty and Wes Welker, but also had some of the younger guys, notably rookies Nate Solder, Ras-I Dowling and Ryan Mallett. And Mallett wasted little time in showing off his arm.
Mallett just unleashed an absolute bomb to Matthew Slater. Impressive. #Patriots
Interestingly enough, Kevin Faulk, an unrestricted free agent who tore his ACL in Week 2 last season, was also in attendance on Thursday and, according to WEEI's Christopher Price, "really looks like a guy who is practicing like he's gonna play in 2011."
While the workouts are informal -- just shorts and t-shirts -- Pats Pulpit says that while they are "overrated," there is still "something exciting about them."
It might not mean much in the long run, but there has certainly got to be some chemistry building through these workouts. I doubt that these workouts are going to be the difference in the 2011 NFL season (knock on wood), but they are certainly a bright spot for the time being. However, I wouldn't expect the shine from these workouts to last for long.
There's expected to be another workout on Friday.