The New England Patriots have wrapped up their second day of minicamp and we're starting to see some common threads with regards to player trajectory.
Wide receiver Danny Amendola and running back James White have both looked incredible in the passing game. If Amendola can bring his 2014 playoff form to the regular season, the Patriots offense will feature four incredible players in Amendola, Julian Edelman, Brandon LaFell, and Rob Gronkowski. White's growth is a positive sign because while he got it mentally as a rookie, he's starting to put everything on the field as a sophomore. The team is also using White as a punt returner, to strengthen his claim to a roster spot. Perhaps Shane Vereen's replacement has been in house all along.
On the defensive side, cornerbacks Malcolm Butler and Darryl Roberts have been turning heads on every snap. Butler has been asked to shadow Julian Edelman, which implies the team might project him as the top cornerback, while the rookie Roberts has had pass break-ups every time he takes the field.
Most of the absentees were missing in the last session. Tight end Scott Chandler was a new missing player, after tweaking the side of his body. The team was still missing its linebackers in Jerod Mayo, Dont'a Hightower, Jamie Collins, Dane Fletcher, and Chris White, along with receivers Matthew Slater and Brandon LaFell, linemen Ryan Wendell, Sebastian Vollmer, Chandler Jones, Sealver Siliga, and Chris Jones, and tight end A.J. Derby.
The offense continues to give Jimmy Garoppolo the car keys to the top unit receivers, with the sophomore throwing to Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski. Tom Brady played with Danny Amendola and Aaron Dobson. The top backfield of LeGarrette Blount, James White, and Brandon Bolden played with Brady, while the second stringers of Jonas Gray and Dion Lewis played with Garoppolo.
Speaking of Bolden, Mass Live's Kevin Duffy made the interesting note that Bolden didn't work with the receiving running backs today, but instead spent time with the players in between the tackles. Bolden has historically backed up Vereen in the receiving role, but both White and Lewis have received high praise for their work out of the backfield this camp.
Best moment of practice: Side session, no defense, Gronk throws TD to Brady, whose celebration was peeling/eating football like a banana.— Jeff Howe (@jeffphowe) June 17, 2015
Kind of funny to see the entire offense, coaches included, take a lap after a substitution issue.— Phil Perry (@PhilAPerry) June 17, 2015
Belichick said rookie S Jordan Richards, who missed most of OTAs to finish school, did a good job of self-learning while away & retained lot— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) June 17, 2015
It seems like another productive day at camp for the Patriots.