The New England Patriots started their 2018 training camp with a relaxing, padless affair where we got our first glimpse at a few extremely important roster battles. Here’s what reporters said from the first day of camp!
Malcolm Mitchell was the only player not present at practice.
Danny Etling getting some extra work in with the Patriots’ young receivers and DBs. Hit Braxton Berrios on this one. pic.twitter.com/WML7pCcU6G— Zack Cox (@ZackCoxNESN) July 26, 2018
Tom Brady “had to work out some kinks” at the start of practice, per NBCSB’s Phil Perry, throwing an interception to Elandon Roberts and having another couple broken up by Ja’Whaun Bentley and Kyle Van Noy.
Brady went 11 of 15 in red zone work, per NESN’s Zack Cox, while Brian Hoyer went 11 of 17 and Danny Etling went 4 of 5. The latter two quarterbacks fumbled, too, both on snaps from offensive lineman Luke Bowanko, per Perry.
Trent Brown and Joe Thuney were the starters at left tackle and left guard, respectively, alongside center David Andrews, right guard Shaq Mason, and right tackle Marcus Cannon. Rookie Isaiah Wynn started at left tackle with the second unit, per NBCSB’s Mike Giardi.
Phillip Dorsett received multiple mentions for his work out of the slot, after playing primarily on the outside last season- as noted by NESN’s Doug Kyed.
Dorsett “spent considerable time working with Julian Edelman and Brady,” per the Herald’s Kevin Duffy. “Also, Dorsett shook [Stephon Gilmore] for a nice TD in goal line 11s.”
He “had a strong day, catching everything [that] went his way,” Perry added, noting that Dorsett worked off to the side with Brady, Edelman, Rob Gronkowski, and James White.
A few other quick observations:
“Chris Hogan made the catch of the day,” Perry tweeted, “climbing the ladder for a touchdown in the back of the end zone on Brady’s final throw in team work. “
Rob Gronkowski “looked like the best player on the field today,” ProJo’s Mark Daniels noted.
Edelman “looked great today and wasn’t wearing a knee brace to protect his torn ACL,” the Globe’s Ben Volin wrote.
Rookie running back “Sony Michel’s reps with the starters seemed notable,” The Athletic’s Jeff Howe tweeted.
Tough to see here, but Sony Michel has spent the past few minutes working on pass blocking after practice with RBs coach Ivan Fears. Going against fellow draft picks Ja’Whaun Bentley and Christian Sam. pic.twitter.com/zH6GvGW2SV— Zack Cox (@ZackCoxNESN) July 26, 2018
Brian Flores wore the headset for the Patriots defense and asserted himself as a strong voice during red-zone work. Plenty of man power working with the defense. Belichick, Bielema and Brendan Daly, for instance, all worked with Flores in a period with front-seven players.— Phil Perry (@PhilAPerry) July 26, 2018
According to Daniels, the first team defense was Trey Flowers, Lawrence Guy, Danny Shelton, Adrian Clayborn, Dont’a Hightower, Elandon Roberts, Stephon Gilmore, Eric Rowe, Devin McCourty, Patrick Chung, and Duron Harmon.
Rowe appears to have the inside lane to start on defense, while it’s notable that Danny Shelton and Elandon Roberts played ahead of Malcom Brown and Kyle Van Noy. It’s still super early in camp and the Patriots like to rotate players so they gain flexibility with an array of players, so I wouldn’t look too far into this, but it’s still worth noting.
Howe notes that Gilmore’s “strong offseason continues into the first day of camp” and that the cornerback “was in coverage for just one completion” on the day. Jason McCourty took reps for the first time in a Patriots uniform, per Cox.
Pass breakups today:— Zack Cox (@ZackCoxNESN) July 26, 2018
Van Noy (2)
Elandon Roberts (on Brady)
The defensive linemen finished “practice by working on their hand-fighting technique with martial arts coach Joe Kim,” according to Volin.
Practicing kickoff returns: Patterson, McCarron, Berrios— Mark Daniels (@MarkDanielsPJ) July 26, 2018