The New England Patriots hosted the Jacksonville Jaguars for the first joint practice of the preseason. The Patriots played at a high level on both sides of the ball with WR Brandin Cooks having his best practice of the offseason.
Q: Brandin Cooks put on a show out there today with a couple of deep catches. How excited are you to add that element to the offense?
Rob Gronkowski: “Oh yeah. He’s a great player, great dude and he works super hard. Not surprised at all to see him making plays like that [when] you see how hard the kid works.”
Absent: WR Matthew Slater (missed fourth straight practice)
Limited: OT Nate Solder, RB Mike Gillislee, TE James O’Shaughnessy, WR Cody Hollister, S David Jones went to lower field before positional drills.
Note: WR Malcolm Mitchell later joined these players on the lower field. WR Danny Amendola did not participate in 11-on-11 drils.
PUP: LB Don’t’a Hightower, DT Alan Branch
NFI: OT Andrew Jelks
Duffy adds that RB Rex Burkhead had a stand-out day with Gillislee absent, making a nice power run at the goal line. He calls the passing game “sloppy” as the receivers suffered from a high number of drops.
For the defense, Duffy notes that CB Stephon Gilmore did an excellent job in coverage of Jaguars WR Allen Robinson.
“Cooks had his busiest day of camp with the seven grabs, and he took over a late portion of practice with a deep score and then a later stretch when he made three catches in a span of four plays,” Howe writes. “First, Cooks split the Jaguars secondary for a 65-yard touchdown grab on a wonderfully thrown deep ball. And five plays after the pick in the final passing period of practice, Cooks worked his way to a wide-open spot in the end zone and jumped to make a wildly athletic one-handed catch by palming the ball over his head. He then caught a pass on the left sideline and beat Jalen Myrick on a fade route for a 20-yard score to the left corner of the end zone.”
Howe notes that the Jaguars even drew up schemes to limit Cooks’ freedom on deep routes and were still unable to defend his speed. Jacksonville has the second-most expensive starting secondary in the league, behind the Seattle Seahawks, so Cooks is able to get behind some of the biggest ticket signings of the past couple seasons.
“Pretty sure Kony Ealy is firmly on the bubble and I’d expect plenty of projected 53-man rosters to have him on the outside,” Dussault writes. “He’ll need to get going in a hurry. Guys are getting longer looks with the top teams, but Ealy seems like an afterthought right now.”
Dussault provides a deep dive for all of the Patriots edge defenders, noting that Geneo Grissom with the second-team unit, Deatrich Wise continues to look outstanding, and both Harvey Langi and Derek Rivers have been invisible. He also suggests that CB Eric Rowe “is firmly in the slot corner spot.”
NESN’s Doug Kyed looks at the defensive backs that made plays on the ball.
WEEI’s Ryan Hannable reviews the usage of TE Rob Gronkowski and where TE Dwayne Allen is getting more playing time than the All Pro.
ProJo’s Mark Daniels looks at the performances by the Patriots three quarterbacks.
There is another joint practice on Tuesday from 9:30 am to 12:15 pm.