Sunday afternoon’s practice was a non-contact walkthrough for the New England Patriots, but a few familiar faces returned to the field. Head coach Bill Belichick called it an “installment” day as the team worked through some of the issues they experienced during Thursday’s game.
Here’s what happened.
Wide receiver Julian Edelman (foot) and edge defender Rob Ninkovich (triceps) returned to practice, which is crazy. Ninkovich tore his triceps five days ago. Wide receiver Danny Amendola was on the field, but without a helmet so he is not yet cleared.
Here's Rob Ninkovich, back at practice, five days after suffering torn triceps pic.twitter.com/mjtJb8GyOn— Mark Daniels (@MarkDanielsPJ) August 14, 2016
The following players were not spotted:
OG Jonathan Cooper (foot)
S Nate Ebner (has to clear physical)
OG Tre Jackson (knee)
RB Dion Lewis (knee)
WR Malcolm Mitchell (elbow)
ED Jabaal Sheard (?)
OT Sebastian Vollmer (?)
TE Bryce Williams (?)
Wide receiver Chris Hogan and linebacker Jonathan Freeny lost their red non-contact jerseys, so they should be back in action. Cornerback Logan Ryan is the only player in a non-contact jersey. The fact that Ninkovich and Edelman are not wearing non-contact jerseys is certainly surprising.
Ninkovich just went to lower practice field with Donald Brown, Keyshawn Martin, Danny Amendola and DJ Foster, so he's not a full participant— Karen Guregian (@kguregian) August 14, 2016
Wide receiver Nate Washington saw time at receiver and made a few notable grabs down the field. He’s going to see an expanded role on the outside with Malcolm Mitchell temporarily sidelined. Mitchell and Aaron Dobson are the team’s top two outside threats, so Washington will have some more time with the top units in the coming weeks.
Brissett not getting any reps today. Same as with the 2 scrimmages. I’m told Brissett was told to be patient, this camp is Tom & Jimmy Show— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) August 14, 2016
Tom Brady was not as accurate as we might have hoped, going 13 for 23 on the day. Jimmy Garoppolo was 16 for 28 with an interception.
O-line today: Solder, Thuney, Andrews, Mason, Cannon— Mark Daniels (@MarkDanielsPJ) August 14, 2016
Andrews continued to split time with Bryan Stork at center. The second-team offensive line featured Waddle, Karras, Kline, Halapio, Fleming.
Offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia made a point of saying the team would stick with the top five players when they found them. The fact that Kline and Mason are not rotating at right guard implies that Mason has a clear edge.
Great note from Patriots.com’s Andy Hart:
Five players worked on center snaps prior to practice. Andrews snapped to Tom Brady, Bryan Stork to Jimmy Garoppolo, Kline to assistant quarterbacks coach Jerry Schuplinski, Karras to Jacoby Brissett and Thuney to offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia. In the drill work it's funny to watch Scarnecchia, the aging legendary assistant coach, carry out the same pre- and post-snap signals/footwork as the rest of the quarterbacks.
Hart also noted that Edelman was cutting and planting, which is a good sign for the status of his foot.
Tight end Rob Gronkowski continues to battle drops this offseason.
Safety Jordan Richards picked off Jimmy Garoppolo in 11-on-11s. Richards saw an expanded role on Thursday against the Saints and he’s continuing to develop as a player. He serves as a great pivot in the heart of the defense, with Patrick Chung in the box and Devin McCourty the single-high safety. He’s likely to see an increased role in 2017, but it’s nice to see him grow.
Some notable names getting first-team reps today: Chris Long, Trey Flowers, Jonathan Jones— Doug Kyed (@DougKyed) August 14, 2016
With Jabaal Sheard and Rob Ninkovich out of team practice, Flowers won more time with the first team defense across from Chris Long. Jones joined the competition for #3 cornerback, with Malcolm Butler and contact-free Logan Ryan the top two. Jones will now fight with Justin Coleman and Cyrus Jones.
Cre'Von LeBlanc got some snaps opposite of Malcolm Butler today— Mark Daniels (@MarkDanielsPJ) August 14, 2016
LeBlanc has joined the discussion, too, so there are four cornerbacks fighting for that #3 spot. The undrafted rookies played with last year’s starters, which is just good practice in case of injury.
Interesting mixing and matching w the corners. Groupings of LeBlanc-Coleman-Butler and JJones-CJones-Ryan, for the most part.— Adam Kurkjian (@AdamKurkjian) August 14, 2016
Jonathan Freeny has two pass deflection today. Logan Ryan, JJones and Coleman with one— Mark Daniels (@MarkDanielsPJ) August 14, 2016
Former Patriots special teams coach Scott O'Brien a guest at today's practice— Mark Daniels (@MarkDanielsPJ) August 14, 2016
O’Brien served as the Patriots special teams coach from 2009-2015, and acted as an area scout last season.
Rookie returnman Cyrus Jones “punched” a football after dropping another punt. He’s had some trouble holding on to punts this offseason.
Julian Edelman was back returning punts today. He didn't participate fully in 11v11s though— Mark Daniels (@MarkDanielsPJ) August 14, 2016