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Patriots 2017 Training Camp: Day 2 Observations

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Day 2 was more competitive and feisty and at one point Bill Belichick had enough with the chippy behavior between two players.

The Patriots conducted their second day of practice for training camp which had a more feisty and competitive attitude, which came to a head between Chris Hogan and Cyrus Jones in a 7 on 7 drill where Hogan caught a short pass and was driven out of bounds by Jones. Things got so bad, Bill Belichick made the entire team do wind sprints up the hill behind the practice fields for a good 15 minutes. Sounds like the team is ready to go full speed when the pads come on tomorrow.

Standouts:

  • After spending 30 minutes watching the Malcolm Butler interception from Super Bowl XLIX, the first play in 4 on 4 was a Malcolm Butler interception. Playing a zone technique, Butler passed the outside receiver and dropped right into the passing lane and made a goal line interception.
  • Austin Carr continued to have a strong camp, once again making plays against the Patriots 2nd team defense. Carr’s route running and ability to find the soft spots against zone coverages were on full display in practice. I’m hoping the Patriots will be able to keep him around because I’m very high on him as a potentially great slot receiver in the future.
  • Chris Hogan made catch of the game, hauling in a back-shoulder throw from Jimmy Garoppolo. Hogan made a lot of really good grabs in drills, although against Cyrus Jones, the two got really chippy and that pissed off Belichick enough to make the team run.
  • Eric Rowe once again shined in cover drills. Rowe in a 4 on 4 drill was not only able to pry the ball free from Devin Lucien. Rowe broke up 3 more passes and was glued to the receivers he covered. I’m very high on Rowe’s potential and as he grows more comfortable with the position should be more consistent in coverage.
  • Stephon Gilmore showed why the Patriots were willing to give him $31M in guaranteed money, showing tight coverage and allowing none of the passes in his direction to be completed. Early in practice stuck with Brandin Cooks, which forced Brady to overthrow Cooks on a go route. I hope the Patriots are able to find a way to get Butler, Gilmore, and Rowe on the field at the same time.
  • It’s hard for a defensive lineman to show something when it’s shorts and jerseys, but Deatrich Wise showed the ability to be disruptive with a batted pass and pressured the QB twice.
  • Jordan Richards had a solid day overall, intercepting a pass on Jimmy G that would have been defensive pass interference on Justin Coleman, and sticking with most of the TEs and RBs he had to cover.
  • Derek Rivers on one play showcased the ability to be a potential asset in coverage. Lined up against Rob Gronkowski, the rookie edge rusher put a good jam and re-direct on Gronk and stuck with him on a seam route from a trail technique, forcing Tom Brady to look elsewhere. This guy could be special once he adjusts to the speed of an NFL game.

Bad Plays

  • Justin Coleman would have been flagged for DPI on Jordan Richards’ INT. Did not turn his head and due to an underthrown ball led to Coleman interfering with Hogan.
  • Josh Augusta muffed a kickoff, where it looked like he was trying to body catch and use his hands at the same time. Augusta found my tweet about it and was a good sport about the play. That’s OK, I don’t expect every nose tackle to have Vince Wilfork’s ball skills.
  • Jacoby Brissett threw a pair of hospital passes in a row. The first one was leading Brandon Cooks right into Jonathan Freeny, which would have been an ugly collision if both players were going full speed. The second pass was low and Cody Hollister slammed his head and shoulder into the turf going for the ball. He did not return to practice and was in considerable pain after the play.
  • Jonathan Jones busted a coverage on Edelman, leaving the Patriots leading receiver from 2016 wide open in the end zone for an easy TD from Brady.
  • Tony Garcia struggled in the final 11 on 11 drill when matched up against Caleb Kidder. Kidder put Garcia on skates and walked him right into Brissett’s lap, leading to a wobbly incompletion.

Notable Things:

  • Danny Amendola missed practice, but seeing that he didn’t get hurt yesterday, I wouldn’t be too worried. Also a report from Mike Garofolo, whose covering Patriots training camp for NFL Network, says the same thing.
  • Kony Ealy returned to practice today with yesterday’s absence not being injury related. Ealy suffered an injury during minicamps last month. Yours truly apparently broke the news.
  • Cody Hollister left and did not return after landing hard on his left shoulder and head. Trainers quickly put him under concussion protocol and then took him off the field. Could be a case where the Patriots waive him with an injury designation in the future.
  • Devin Lucien’s right calf cramped up after the final 11 on 11 drill of practice. He was on the ground for a while and grabbing at his calf. Trainers quickly brought him water and Gatorade while massaging his calves before Lucien got up.
  • Rob Ninkovich and Joe Cardona were both not at practice for personal reasons. Until we know more, I will not speculate why either or them is missing.