But Bill Belichick's group is making the best of an unprecedented situation.
The Patriots have been holding virtual workouts and meetings over the last month in lieu of organized team activities. According to cornerback Jonathan Jones, those virtual sessions have allowed players and coaches shore up the mental aspect of their game.
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"I think it's to have everyone on the same mental plane as far as communication," Jones said Tuesday on a conference call when asked about the goal of the Patriots' virtual meetings. "Refreshing that, even for the veteran guys, just hearing some of those terminologies over and over again and starting from scratch. I think that's something we kind of do every year. We don't assume that everyone knows anything, so we start on the playbook from page one.
"... I think the communication of that is so key. We're missing the physical aspect of it, but just having that communication is very key."
The Patriots are still getting their workouts in, too -- Jones said the players are doing the team's official strength and conditioning program at their various home gyms -- as they try to make this offseason as "normal" as it can be.
"I would say the lack of competition that we get when we start (spring practice) -- we haven't really got to that phase," Jones said. "But we're starting to get there as far as timing when we're going against the offense in live situation, so I think that's the only thing that's missing.
" ... I think the live work that we'd be getting going into phase two and the OTAs is what you're going to miss the most."
The Patriots certainly could benefit from that live work after a number of free agents (notably Tom Brady) left this offseason. The team's elite cornerback group from 2019 remains intact, though, which the 26-year-old Jones believes should give the unit an edge.
"I think that will be extremely advantageous for us, if we use it to that advantage – to continue to get on our communications, to stay on the same page," Jones said. " ... Once we get on the field, I think we'll be a step ahead."
Jonathan Jones details what Patriots are stressing in virtual meetings originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston