After a weekend away from the practice fields, the New England Patriots returned today for the final open training camp session at Gillette Stadium. With the team traveling to West Virginia later today for joint practices with the Houston Texans, it held a lighter and shorter session than is the norm.
Overall, the session was basically a glorified walkthrough – it was shorter than usual with the team not being in full pads – that focused on situational work. Here is what happened (via our live news ticker):
Two players returned to practice today: Defensive tackle Alan Branch was activated off the PUP list, while tight end James O'Shaughnessy returned after being limited the last two practices.
Nate Solder, Shea McClellin, Mike Gillislee, Deatrich Wise Jr., Matthew Slater, Brandon King, Antonio Garcia, Matt Lengel and Keionta Davis did not practice today. Wise Jr., King and Lengel are new additions to the list as is recently signed Davis.
Wide receiver Cody Hollister and safety Damarius Travis both wore non-contact jerseys.
Linebacker Dont'a Hightower remains on PUP while rookie offensive tackle Andrew Jelks remains on the NFI list.
Tight end Jacob Hollister, a standout against Jacksonville, was slow to get up after getting tackled in team drills.
The quarterbacks, per the Providence Journal's Mark Daniels, performed as follows:
11-on-11s: Tom Brady 16/22; Jimmy Garoppolo 8/15; Jacoby Brissett 1/2
Danny Amendola and fellow wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell both started training camp in limited capacity – and both had their best practice so far today. Amendola and Mitchell also had two of the day's best catches.
Tom Brady had a nice connection with newly acquired Brandin Cooks on a comeback route; he also overthrew him later in the session on a deep ball. Brady also stayed on the field after practice doing extra work. Because of course he did.
Tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Dwayne Allen both had drops today. Fellow tight end James O'Shaughnessy, in the meantime, “looked decent”.
New England's defense was dominant late in practice as neither Brady nor Garoppolo were able to complete passes – the Patriots' top two quarterbacks finished with a combined eight straight incompletions.
As has been the case the last few sessions, fellow rookie Derek Rivers again saw plenty of first-team reps on the defensive edge. With Deatrich Wise Jr. currently out with a concussion, Rivers' development is critical.
Stephon Gilmore, Jonathan Jones and Patrick Chung finished with pass breakups during team drills.
Later today, the Patriots will travel to West Virginia. The defending world champions will hold three practice sessions with the Houston Texans at the Greenbrier Resort the next three days in preparation for the two teams' preseason meeting on Saturday. The first two of the practices are open to the public.