The open portion of the New England Patriots’ 2019 training camp is over: today, the reigning world champions held their second and final joint practice with the Tennessee Titans. From now on, they will continue preparing for the upcoming regular season behind the scenes. We still have plenty to talk about in regards to today’s session, however, so let’s dig right into it and take a look at the players who stood out.
Winner: WR Jakobi Meyers
The Patriots’ biggest surprise of the summer ended the week in style: undrafted rookie receiver Jakobi Meyers caught all four of the passes Tom Brady threw his way during team work and also stood out during 1-on-1 drills. Despite being in his first season in the system, the 22-year-old continues to look like a veteran player when it comes to his savvy route-running and ability to take advantage of coverage weaknesses. Meyers is New England’s best fully healthy wide receiver — and a player who looks like a safe bet to make the 53-man roster.
Winner: CB Duke Dawson Jr.
Duke Dawson has caught a lot of flak during the early portions of training camp for his inconsistent performances and inability to take the next step in his second year with the Patriots. Credit where credit is due, however: he looked solid today. While the former second-round draft pick continues to be a work in progress, he appeared much more confident on Thursday, provided tight coverage at times, and was also able to register a pass breakup during team work. It’s a small step forward, but a step nevertheless.
Winner: QB Tom Brady
Tom Brady already was a winner yesterday for thoroughly dominating the Titans’ talented defense. Today was more of the same, as the 42-year-old continued to look every bit like the player everybody expects him to be: he was sharp and completed 18 of 28 pass attempts during team portions, and also adapted well to life without a considerable portion of the Patriots’ wide receiver depth chart. All in all, Brady was by far the best quarterback — and possibly player — on the field for the second straight day.
Loser: OT Dan Skipper
While Dan Skipper showed some progress recently, he had a tough time on Thursday: after already leaving yesterday’s session early because of what appeared to be heat-related issues, he again was forced off the field (and to present the contents of his stomach) today. But even when he was taking reps with his teammates — Skipper subbed in for Isaiah Wynn at times as the left tackle — he was inconsistent and surrendered a pair of quarterback hurries during team drills that forced back-to-back incompletions by Brady.
Winner: LB Dont’a Hightower
While offseason addition Jamie Collins is regularly making headlines as a playmaker on New England’s defense, the leader of the linebacker group also has produced a solid training camp so far: Dont’a Hightower is looking as good as ever, and today was further proof of that. He stood out throughout the entire session, would have registered a sack in game conditions, and also tipped a pass at the line of scrimmage that he nearly intercepted. It was a good day for the Tennessee native.
Winner: WR Braxton Berrios
With a bulk of the Patriots’ top wide receivers unavailable, the bubble players saw increased action. Braxton Berrios made the most out of it: the second-year man, who missed all of last season on injured reserve, was targeted 7 times by Brady during team work and finished the day with 5 receptions — both team-highs. He also showed some mental toughness after being chewed out by the future Hall of Famer for running a wrong route at one point. Shortly thereafter, he caught a long touchdown pass from Brady.