Again, the NFL enacted a rule that will force the Patriots to adapt. By now, it's becoming an offseason tradition.
A year after the NFL banned the type of plays the Patriots used to stump the Ravens in a playoff game, the NFL prohibited a particular practice procedure that pertains to the Patriots. As ESPN's Mike Reiss reported, the league will no longer allow numberless jerseys during OTAs and mandatory minicamp -- a technique Belichick deployed in New England.
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told ESPN the rule was implemented to "ensure clubs are in compliance with workplace rules." The new rule "will permit the league office and NFLPA to monitor player participation during on-field sessions," McCarthy said.
Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels explained the purpose behind the method to Reiss in 2014:
"We're learning a lot of different names and faces right now. We want our teammates to learn who the other people in the huddle are. I think it's great for the quarterbacks to do that but also for the skill players, the different groups of linemen, the different centers. There are a lot of different people working with one another during the course of practice that really lends itself to us becoming a team. That's what we're really focused on."
Defensive coordinator Matt Patricia also weighed in:
"We're working on communication and talking, getting used to hearing each other's voices and understanding how people move. ...We'll force a lot of communication to be made during this camp and during these practices to hopefully make it easier when we get to the portion of the season when we can work on those padded fundamentals."
The biggest winner here: Reporters, who will actually know which players they're watching at minicamp.