The New England Patriots hosted their second-straight practice that was open to the media. LT Nate Solder returned to the field as DL Lawrence Guy and OL Andrew Jelks were the only two players not in attendance. WR Malcolm Mitchell, LB Dont’a Hightower, and DT Alan Branch were limited as they work back into football shape. LB Jonathan Freeny is wearing a non-contact jersey.
Here are the notes from Wednesday’s practice.
According to NESN’s Doug Kyed, running back Rex Burkhead, who received some reps with the first team offense, caught six passes, tying UDFA wide receiver Austin Carr for the most on the field Wednesday. Burkhead’s four-down potential was noted as a primary reason for the Patriots’ interest, and to see him getting work with the “ones” only serves to boost the belief that the fifth-year Cornhusker will play a big role in the offensive game plan in 2017.
Brady was 13-18 in 11-on-11s, 24-32 overall.— Doug Kyed (@DougKyed) June 7, 2017
Garoppolo 9-18 in 11s, 16-26 INT overall.
Brissett was 11-17 in 11s, 22-33 overall.
Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett throwing deep balls pic.twitter.com/kA0UnuyYBg— Ryan Hannable (@RyanHannable) June 7, 2017
New WR Brandin Cooks appears to be fitting in nicely, per all reports. Cooks had the “play of the day” on a 60-yard touchdown, per the Globe’s Ben Volin, and has “solid chemistry” with QB Tom Brady, per Kyed.
Cooks “is the real deal,” per the Herald’s Jeff Howe. “He’s got a different gear.”
MassLive’s Kevin Duffy called new WR Andrew Hawkins possibly the “quickest on the team” with “ridiculous agility.”
A look at RB Mike Gillislee taking the handoff from director of player personnel Nick Caserio before making his cut. pic.twitter.com/N2PMWIvs1v— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) June 7, 2017
TE Dwayne Allen “committed multiple drops for the second straight day,” per Duffy.
Linebacker Kyle van Noy asserted himself on Tuesday with “an incredible leaping” interception of Jimmy Garoppolo in the end zone. While of course it’s still incredibly early, the battle for the starting spot next to Dont’a Hightower is one to keep a close eye on throughout the summer, so any signs of production and progress shown in the linebacker group should be noted.
Kyle Van Noy picked off Garoppolo. Dwayne Thomas (x2), Coleman, Butler, Rowe, Augusta, Ealy, Gilmore, Killings and Travis had PBUs.— Doug Kyed (@DougKyed) June 7, 2017
ProJo’s Mark Daniels reports that EDGE Geneo Grissom received some time “opposite of Rob Ninkovich on the defensive line.”
Undrafted rookie CB Kenny Moore was elevated from the rookie squad after posting two breakups on Tuesday. Instead of facing Jacoby Brissett like the other rookie defensive backs, Moore faced Brady and Garoppolo per NESN’s Doug Kyed.
Practice ended about 25 minutes ago. Trey Flowers is just now coming off the field after working on technique by himself.— Jeff Howe (@jeffphowe) June 7, 2017
CB Jonathan Jones took a backseat from the first team defense as Justin Coleman and Eric Rowe replaced Jones and Stephon Gilmore across from Malcolm Butler, per PFW’s Paul Perillo. It’s probably more an indication of how well-regarded Jones is in the pecking order that he was given snaps off.
Cyrus Jones had “another strong day on special teams,” per the Herald’s Jeff Howe. “He had a clean performance with every opportunity, steered clear of a wobbly punt and allowed another to roll into the end zone for a touchback. Good decisions and execution all around. Defensively, he remained with the backups, as Coleman and Jonathan Jones were ahead of him in this practice.”