FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Patriots coach Bill Belichick held a news conference at mandatory minicamp for the third day in a row, and here were a few news and notes:
1. Joint practices update. Belichick said he's spoken with Saints interim coach Joe Vitt about the possibility of the teams having joint practices prior to their Aug. 9 preseason game at Gillette Stadium. Belichick isn't sure it will happen, and one factor is that the Saints have a longer preseason, playing in the Hall of Fame game on Aug. 5. "It's a little bit of a tight schedule on their end, so we'll see how it goes," Belichick said, adding that it's a possibility to hold joint practices with another team on the preseason schedule.
2. AFC Championship rings nice, but ... Players and coaches received AFC Championship rings on Wednesday. Asked his thoughts on receiving them, Belichick said simply, "Bittersweet." Then, he added, "Whatever it was last year, it was. So it's time to move on."
3. Jake Ballard arrives. Injured tight end Jake Ballard showed up at Gillette Stadium on Wednesday afternoon. "I talked to him, and we'll move along with his rehab, and see how that goes. He seems to be doing relatively well for where he was at when he had the surgery," Belichick said.
4. Britt Davis on the radar. First-year receiver Britt Davis has shown up at practice with a few nice catches, and Belichick confirmed what some of us amateur scouts in the media have noticed -- Davis, a longshot to make the roster, has put himself in as good of a position as possible. "He's been an interesting guy to work with. He's one of our bigger receivers (6-3, 205), so he has good size, good target," Belichick said. "I think he's shown up well here and put himself in good position to go to training camp."
5. Roster set at 90 for now. Belichick was asked if he had an update on free-agent defensive end Andre Carter possibly returning, and he said he didn't. He then mentioned that the team has the full complement of 90 players on the roster at this time, but that could always change. He left the possibility of Carter's return open.
6. Conditioning the key for players. Belichick shared his opinion that the most crucial thing for players over the next five weeks, until they return for training camp, is conditioning. "I think overall these guys are in pretty good shape, but I don't think they're in training camp shape, real football shape," he said. "That will come over the next few weeks, getting back to their offseason training -- lifting and conditioning and doing things that really get them prepared for the football season from a conditioning standpoint."