After three days of rest, the New England Patriots returned to the practice fields today to kick off their last week of open practices at Gillette Stadium. The team wore full pads on this gorgeous day for football — presumably for the final time before departing for joint practices in Tennessee. All in all, the session saw plenty of defensive plays being made but also a certain Hall of Fame quarterback deliver a memorable stretch.
Let’s recap what happened:
Returned: TE Lance Kendricks, CB Ken Webster, SS Nate Ebner
Absent: WR N’Keal Harry, TE Matt LaCosse, CB D’Angelo Ross, OT Yodny Cajuste (NFI)
Present but did not participate: WR Julian Edelman (NFI), WR Demaryius Thomas (PUP), WR Cameron Meredith (PUP)
Limited: TE Stephen Anderson
- Patrick Chung and Lance Kendricks both wore the red-non contact jersey today.
- Stephen Anderson played only six snaps against the Detroit Lions and it appears some minor injury might have been the reason for his comparatively little playing time.
- Danny Etling again did not wear the red non-contact jersey that quarterbacks are usually in.
- Defensive tackle Danny Shelton briefly left practice but returned.
Quarterback performance: Tom Brady 15/19 (11-on-11s), 2/4 2 INTs (7-on-7s); Brian Hoyer 6/16 INT (11-on-11s), 2/2 (7-on-7s); Jarrett Stidham 6/12 2 INTs (11-on-11s), N/A (7-on-7s); Danny Etling N/A
Starting offensive line: LT Isaiah Wynn, LG Joe Thuney, OC David Andrews, RG Shaq Mason, RT Marcus Cannon
- Isaiah Wynn took a big step forward today and saw more action than at any other point so far this summer: he participated during 1-on-1 and 2-on-2 blocking drills and was on the field with the rest of the first-team offensive line for a competitive 11-on-11 period against the scout team defense. Later, he also went against the starting defensive line and was part of the final hurry-up drill led by Brady. While Dan Skipper subbed in at times, Wynn was close to full participation.
- While Tom Brady had some downs during the session — he fired back-to-back interceptions during a 7-on-7 drill — he closed practice strong during 11-on-11 work. At one point, he had nine straight completions and spread the football around well. The rest of the quarterbacks, meanwhile, struggled during full-team work: Brian Hoyer and Jarrett Stidham combined for only 12 completions on 28 attempts with 3 interceptions.
- The offense worked on some trick plays today. The unit ran a flea-flicker pass that ended with a Maurice Harris drop (despite the wide receiver being wide open), a direct snap to James White who then went on to complete a pass from it, and a fake end-around that saw Tom Brady hook up with camp standout Jakobi Meyers for a long completion.
- Speaking of Harris and Meyers: the former bounced back from his drop later during 11-on-11s when he made the catch of the day — going against All-Pro cornerback Stephon Gilmore, the free agency acquisition was able to climb the ladder and reel in a pass from Brady on a deep crossing pattern. Meyers, meanwhile, continues his strong training camp as he had a terrific high-concentration catch over Jonathan Jones and Duke Dawson.
- Anything but Jamie Collins making the Patriots’ roster would be a major surprise at this point. After all, he continues to be a major playmaker for the team’s defense as was on display again today: during 11-on-11 work he intercepted a pass by second-string quarterback Brian Hoyer. The pick was an easy one, though, as Hoyer threw it directly at the linebacker.
- Collins’ interception was just one of seven picks made by the Patriots’ defense today: whether it was 1-on-1s, 7-on-7s or 11-on-11 drills, the unit looked good when playing the ball — not just for interceptions but also pass breakups — and did not allow the offense to get into much of a rhythm early on during the session. Stephon Gilmore and Joejuan Williams led with two picks, while J.C. Jackson, Patrick Chung and Collins also came away with interceptions.
- While the rest of the defense continues to make plays, second-year cornerback Duke Dawson again was outmatched for most of the day. The one statistic that sums up his day the best: he competed in four 1-on-1 drills, and lost all of them. That being said, he did have some good plays as well and blanketed Jakobi Meyers at one point during team drills. As things currently stand, however, he cannot be trusted to play on a consistent level.
- Braxton Berrios, Jakobi Meyers, Rex Burkhead and Gunner Olszewski were serving as the punt returners today.
- Jake Bailey again looked good kicking the football, but that’s nothing new at this point. What is, however, is that he also saw his role grow today: the fifth-round rookie, who is competing against incumbent Ryan Allen for the punter role, also was used as a holder on field goals.
- Fresh off the physically unable to perform list, Nate Ebner joined fellow core special teamer Matthew Slater in doing solo drills while the rest of the team was running 11-on-11s with the offense going against the defense.