The New England Patriots traveled to White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia yesterday to hold joint practice sessions with the NFC South's New Orleans Saints. The teams will spend the next two days together before facing off in week two of this year's preseason on Saturday. The session was open to fans and the media.
Working through the Twittersphere, here are some notes about today's joint practice session:
-- The following players did not practice (16): Julian Edelman, Aaron Dobson, Brandon LaFell, Darryl Roberts, Travaris Cadet, Dane Fletcher, Eric Martin, Ryan Wendell, Bryan Stork, Caylin Hauptmann, Rufus Johnson, Joe Vellano, Trey Flowers, Jake Bequette, Scott Chandler, Chris Jones.
-- After missing yesterday's session, Tom Brady was back on the field today.
-- Josh Kline, who also missed yesterday's session, was seen but did not wear pads.
-- Dont'a Hightower did not wear a red non-contact jersey and participated in 11-on-11s.
-- No Patriots injuries were announced.
-- According to Jeff Howe the quarterbacks performed as follows:
Tom Brady: 18/24
Jimmy Garoppolo: 11/18
Ryan Lindley: 5/9, INT
Drew Brees: 15/22
-- From the great catch department: first, Josh Boyce had one (a diving 55-yard catch on a Brady pass), then Danny Amendola (while double covered, pass by Brady) and finally Chris Harper (from Ryan Lindley).
-- Harper also caught a ball from Brady during no huddle work.
-- Center David Andrews fumbled two snaps during 11-on-11s, with Jimmy Garoppolo in the shotgun.
-- Brady was sacked four times.
-- Cameron Fleming got beat during 1-on-1s; Andrews as well.
-- Garoppolo threw a touchdown pass to tight end Jimmay Mundine during 11-on-11s and one to Rob Gronkowski during 7-on-7s. The All-Pro tight end also caught a Brady touchdown during 7-on-7s.
-- The second-year quarterback also led the team to two touchdowns during 2-minute drills.
-- Malcolm Butler had a rough 11-on-11 session: he gave up three passes including one 40-yarder and a touchdown and was also flagged for pass interference (negating an incompletion).
-- Rob Ninkovich, Chandler Jones, Jabaal Sheard won their respective 1-on-1 drills. Dekoda Watson struggled, Grissom at times too but in general gave the Saints some fits.
-- Ninkovich sacked Drew Brees. Brees was also sacked on a blitz by Patrick Chung.
-- Overall, the Patriots' starting defensive line was 3-6 against the Saint's starting offensive line.
-- Dominique Easley "crushed" Saints guard Andrus Peat during one drill.
-- Hightower forced a fumble.
-- Devin McCourty got beat by Brandon Coleman over the middle.
-- Tarell Brown had two pass breakups.
-- New England experimented with its secondary quite a bit. At one point, Butler and McCourty played outside the hash marks with Chung, Duron Harmon and Tavon Wilson on the inside.
Special Teams Notes
-- Danny Amendola worked as the primary kick returner, followed by Chris Haper.
-- Edelman, Dobson, LaFell and Stork did not make the trip to West Virginia but were among those, who worked out in Foxboro today.
-- Patriots-turned-Saint Brandon Browner was seen working out on a stationary bike during the session.
-- While the Saints were the de-facto home team, more Patriots fans showed up.
-- Two-time Masters winner Bubba Watson and basketball Hall of Famer Jerry West attended the session.