No contact, multiple star players missing, and mostly teaching – but football is back, everybody! The New England Patriots returned to practice today for their second session of this year's organized team activities, the first one open to the media. We are therefore able to bring you a recap of today's practice session (all notes via the Twittersphere).
10 players were not spotted: QB Tom Brady, TE Rob Gronkowski, WR Malcolm Mitchell, WR Cody Hollister, RB Brandon Bolden, OG Joe Thuney, LB Dont'a Hightower, DE Trey Flowers, CB Jonathan Jones, CB David Jones. Mitchell is a new addition to the list after he was present for yesterday's session.
9 players were spotted but limited: WR Julian Edelman, WR Darren Andrews (NFI), OT Isaiah Wynn, OT Marcus Cannon, OT Trent Brown, DT Malcom Brown, DT Lawrence Guy, CB Cyrus Jones, SS Nate Ebner. While most of the players worked on a separate field, Edelman was more active: He did punt return work but before team drills joined other players doing conditioning work.
The quarterbacks performed as follows during 11-on-11s:
Brian Hoyer: 8/18, INT
Danny Etling: 3/6
The quarterbacks performed as follows during 7-on-7s:
Brian Hoyer: 4/7
Danny Etling: 2/3
While Hoyer is the number two option right now, Etling had a better session with his mechanics noticeably improving. Overall, though, the quarterbacks were off to a rocky start.
With three potential starters not participating – Isaiah Wynn, Joe Thuney, Marcus Cannon – the Patriots' depth players saw plenty of time: LaAdrian Waddle saw plenty of reps at left tackle, James Ferentz was used at left guard, and Cole Croston played right tackle.
Second-year tight end Jacob Hollister had two touchdown receptions.
Rookie cornerback Keion Crossen had a standout day: Not only did he intercept a Brian Hoyer pass intended for James White, he also had two additional pass breakups.
Undrafted rookie cornerback C.J. Jackson also had a pass breakup.
Cornerback Ryan Lewis, who spent 2017 on the practice squad, saw some first-team reps opposite Stephon Gilmore.
Derek Rivers and Adrian Clayborn were the top duo at the defensive end spots. Rivers played mainly on the left side, Clayborn on the right.
Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan, Matthew Slater, Patrick Chung, Riley McCarron, and rookie Braxton Berrios were used as punt returners
The Patriots finished the day by doing conditioning work on the hill behind the practice fields. The team will return for its next OTA session on Thursday.