Today’s practice was a walkthrough for the New England Patriots and Chicago Bears, so don’t expect any real headlines. Since there is a game tomorrow, this was treated like a late week situation.
There were no fights. No surprises. Rumor has it that head coach Bill Belichick’s heart grew three sizes today.
But this was also the last full practice that was open to the media and public, so take whatever you can from this post. It ain’t happening again until 2017.
Here are the notes from today.
Not seeing Lewis, McClellin, Tre' Jackson, Cooper, Vollmer, Gronk, Sheard.— Doug Kyed (@DougKyed) August 17, 2016
There was no OG Jonathan Cooper (foot), TE Rob Gronkowski (bruise), OG Tre Jackson (knee), RB Dion Lewis (knee), LB Shea McClellin (?), ED Jabaal Sheard (?), or OT Sebastian Vollmer (?). These players will not suit up against the Bears.
S Nate Ebner returned with his pads and helmet, so that’s a positive sign that he’s back where he needs to be.
WR Danny Amendola was present, but not wearing a helmet. WR Malcolm Mitchell and ED Rob Ninkovich were present and wearing helmets.
TE Clay Harbor is in attendance and was with the full team.
Ninkovich, Mitchell, Foster, Brown, Ebner, BWilliams, Martin & Amendola just left to the lower practice field. They're not full participants— Mark Daniels (@MarkDanielsPJ) August 17, 2016
CB Logan Ryan continues to wear a non-contact jersey. This grouping of players continues to avoid the team drills and will likely not play against the Bears.
Tom Brady finished practice with a side session to Julian Edelman and Chris Hogan— Mark Daniels (@MarkDanielsPJ) August 17, 2016
Wide receivers with the first team: Edelman, Hogan, Dobson— Mark Daniels (@MarkDanielsPJ) August 17, 2016
It’s great to see Julian Edelman and Chris Hogan during Brady Fun Time, and it’s possible that Hogan could suit up against the Bears this Thursday. I wouldn’t play Edelman until the regular season, if I were the ol’ ball coach.
It’s also good to see Aaron Dobson getting some time with Tom Brady and the first unit. He has been given every chance in the world to win a roster spot; if he doesn’t make a statement this week, I don’t know if he’ll make the team.
David Andrews and Shaq Mason continued as the starting center and right guard, respectively.
Mildly interesting that Patriots DT Anthony Johnson is getting a lot of work with the 1s in two-minute drill walkthroughs.— Doug Kyed (@DougKyed) August 17, 2016
Johnson didn’t suit up against the Saints, so it’s a surprise to see him with the first team defense, next to Malcom Brown, this week. My guess is that the team wants to see how he reacts to the personnel grouping.
Darryl Roberts and Elandon Roberts had interceptions in 1v1s today. Cre'Von LeBlanc had one in 11v11s— Mark Daniels (@MarkDanielsPJ) August 17, 2016
Deflections: Bentley, Grugier-Hill— Mark Daniels (@MarkDanielsPJ) August 17, 2016
It seems like linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill has made a play on the ball every single day this week and he’s really adopting the role as the Patriots passing down specialist.
It’s also great to see Cre’Von LeBlanc making another play. He’s battling with fellow undrafted rookie Jonathan Jones for the final cornerback spot- and Darryl Roberts stepping up his performance will only make the decision more difficult.
With all the injuries, Chris Long and Trey Flowers were the starting DEs— Mark Daniels (@MarkDanielsPJ) August 17, 2016
The Patriots will have to face the Bears without Rob Ninkovich, Jabaal Sheard, and Shea McClellin. Chris Long, Trey Flowers, and Geneo Grissom are going to be the primary benefactors of all the snaps. Rufus Johnson will also get some play, but these four are the only edge defenders that will suit on this Thursday.
#Patriots are practicing the “last-second kickoff return with 15 laterals” play. No detail too small...— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) August 17, 2016
Lots of situational drills today. Lots of onside kicks. They even practiced last minute lateral plays.— Mark Daniels (@MarkDanielsPJ) August 17, 2016
What’s the over/under that we see the lateral play at some point this season? It’s gotta be slim-to-none, right? I guess this is why Bill Belichick always has the best team- they’re prepared for everything.