FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — With his New England Patriots team in full pads for the first time in training camp — which coach Bill Belichick said is the start of “real training camp” — Belichick made sure one of the toughest plays in football was on the practice itinerary Saturday.
Ball on the 2-yard line. Running play. Live, with full tackling.
Can the offense punch it in?
“Two yards — I feel like I have to get that,” Gillislee said afterward. “I just turn my whole mindset around and know that I have to those two yards to get in the end zone.”
On the first snap, it was pure power football as the crunching sound of shoulder pads filled the air.
“Right up the A gap,” Gillislee relayed. “If I see anything else, I bounce it, but you don’t want to bounce at the 2-yard line. You want to get north and south with the ball.”
It was a punishing run, with Gillislee giving credit to the first-unit offensive line of Nate Solder, left guard Joe Thuney, center David Andrews, right guard Shaq Mason and right tackle Marcus Cannon for winning up front.
Soon after, the 215-pound Gillislee returned to the huddle for the second of two reps.
“Outside run, where you follow the fullback [James Develin], and he did a…
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