Well that was an active joint practice between the New England Patriots and Chicago Bears. Wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell returned to the field for the stretching portion, but didn’t partake in the drills, while tight end Rob Gronkowski pulled up lame in the middle of 7-on-7s.
Here's Malcolm Mitchell - four days after gruesomely dislocating his elbow pic.twitter.com/ygBvuTQ3Rm— Mark Daniels (@MarkDanielsPJ) August 15, 2016
Of course, there’s nothing to be concerned about at this point in time. It’s a bajillion degrees out at Foxboro, so some players are going to experience discomfort with their muscles. I’d much rather Gronkowski leave the field under his own power than be carried off later. Hopefully the trainers will take care of him and he’ll return in short time.
In other news, there were multiple fights that broke out during the day. Per head coach Bill Belichick’s joint practice rules, any player involved in a serious fight will get kicked out of practice.
Cornerback Malcolm Butler was getting in the face of Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery and a fight erupted around them. Butler was sent off the field.
Malcolm Butler ejected from practice after getting into it with Alshon Jeffery. Things escalated. Lots of shoving. pic.twitter.com/TlWlG8npAb— Phil Perry (@PhilAPerry) August 15, 2016
Another fight happened with tight end Martellus Bennett- who spent the past three seasons with the Bears- and Chicago edge defender Lamarr Houston. Neither player was kicked out of practice.
Patriots linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill got into a scrap of his own, but he also recorded an interception earlier in practice- the two facts are unrelated, but it paints a full picture.
Here are our practice notes.
The Patriots were without OG Jonathan Cooper (foot), S Nate Ebner (conditioning), RB Dion Lewis (knee), LB Shea McClellin (?), ED Jabaal Sheard (?), DB Brock Vereen (?), and OT Sebastian Vollmer (?). WR Danny Amendola and OG Tre Jackson were in attendance, but not in pads and did not participate.
It should be noted that both McClellin and Vereen are former Bears. However, TE Martellus Bennett was at practice, so that’s just a coincidence.
TE Rob Gronkowski pulled up with an upper leg and/or groin issue. This is pure speculation and I’m sure we’ll find out more in a few hours.
Mitchell, Foster, Donald Brown, Bryce Williams, Nink, Jackson, Amendola and Keshawn are going to a separate field to work with trainers.— Doug Kyed (@DougKyed) August 15, 2016
Mitchell, Jackson, and Amendola were joined by RB D.J. Foster, RB Donald Brown, TE Bryce Williams, ED Rob Ninkovich, and WR Keshawn Martin in conditioning work apart from the team.
Wide receiver Julian Edelman took part in practice and was planting and competing. Hopefully last week’s scare is behind him and he’s getting healthier and closer to a full return.
The Patriots continue to play center David Andrews and right guard Shaq Mason with the top unit. Whenever Vollmer returns to the field, I think we will see a Nate Solder, Joe Thuney, Andrews, Mason, Vollmer unit for as long as they can remain healthy. I wonder how this plays into the roster building with Jonathan Cooper and his foot injury.
It was apparently a great day for the Patriots cornerbacks against the Bears wide receivers:
Butler gets the best of Alshon on the 2nd throw. Jammed him. Alshon ended up dropping the ball on a short curl.— Kevin Duffy (@KevinRDuffy) August 15, 2016
Logan Ryan just had several competitive reps with Alshon Jeffery in 1 on 1 drills. Good battle between the two— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) August 15, 2016
Cre'von LeBlanc and Justin Coleman had solid reps in 1-on-1s. Coleman had PBUs over Kevin White and Joshua Bellamy.— Doug Kyed (@DougKyed) August 15, 2016
Pass deflections: Coleman (4), LeBlanc (2), Collins, McCourty, Ryan, Biggers, Sunseri— Mark Daniels (@MarkDanielsPJ) August 15, 2016
S Jordan Richards and LB Kamu Grugier-Hill both recorded interceptions.
LB Jonathan Freeny and ED Trey Flowers joined the top team defense with both McClellin and Ninkovich not participating.
The Patriots did a lot of work on punt coverage after Thursday’s disaster.