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Wednesday, May 29, 2013
W2W4: Patriots' fifth OTA

By Field Yates

Today marks the fifth organized team activity for the Patriots this offseason and the second that the media will be allowed to attend.

Taking a look at three areas we'll be focused on for the session, which is expected to take place on the practice fields outside of Gillette Stadium.

1. Attendance. No surprise here, as attendance is a primary storyline for any practice. Brandon Spikes was the lone player who was not accounted for at the first media-accesible OTA whose absence was not injury-related, and the expectation is that he again won't be on the field today. That's within his rights, as OTA's are voluntary workouts, but it was nonetheless notable that he decided not to participate in the earlier session. On the injury front, we'll have an eye out for any players that may return to action (rookie receiver Josh Boyce, running back Brandon Bolden and others have been nursing injuries of late), as well as those who don't project to be on the field until closer to training camp, but might be working with the strength and conditioning coaches/trainers on the sideline.

2. Daboll's role. The Patriots haven't specified the exact capacity of Brian Daboll's role on the offensive staff, but the sense we've had throughout the offseason was that he'll work with offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia while also contributing elsewhere. He worked closely alongside Scarnecchia in the previous OTA, and we'll keep an eye out for whether that remains the case today. Daboll is a versatile coach who has experience at a number of positions, one of the likely reasons that the Patriots were interested in bringing him back to New England.

3. Tempo. The first OTA that we were able to attend was just the second of the offseason for the Patriots, and though the tempo of the roughly 90-minute workout was crisp, it would come as no surprise to see the operation move even faster today. With four full OTA's already under their belt, the Patriots have been able to install segments of their playbook, which they'll continue to do through the end of the mandatory minicamp in June (and resume at the outset of training camp). As more information is available and disseminated to the players, it's only natural for an increased tempo to follow suit.