After two days of rest, the New England Patriots returned to the practice fields today to kick off their joint practices with the Lions in Detroit. The first session, which took place under perfect conditions, saw the two teams focus primarily on the passing game during the 2-hour, 30-minute session — one that saw the Patriots’ youngsters on both sides of the football deliver some solid performances.
Let’s recap what happened:
Absent: SS Patrick Chung, CB Ken Webster (PUP), SS Nate Ebner (PUP), OT Yodny Cajuste (NFI), WR Cameron Meredith, TE Lance Kendricks
Present but did not participate: WR Julian Edelman (NFI), WR Demaryius Thomas (PUP), RB Rex Burkhead
Present but limited: OT Isaiah Wynn
- After wearing a red non-contact jersey all camp long, Patrick Chung was a no-show for today’s full-pads session. This is no surprise considering that the team is playing it safe with injuries.
- The five non-Chung absentees all did not fly to Detroit and instead remain in New England for more rehabilitation work.
- Danny Etling again did not wear the red non-contact jersey that quarterbacks are usually in.
- Nothing to report.
Quarterback performance: Tom Brady 13/20 (11-on-11s), 6/7 (7-on-7s); Brian Hoyer 1/3 (11-on-11s), 3/4 (7-on-7s); Jarrett Stidham 2/3 INT (11-on-11s), 10/12 (7-on-7s); Danny Etling N/A
Starting offensive line: LT Dan Skipper, LG Joe Thuney, OC David Andrews, RG Shaq Mason, RT Marcus Cannon
- Practice started in a walkthrough setting in which the Patriots used both Dan Skipper and Isaiah Wynn at left tackle. New England is continuing to slowly build Wynn up to full speed after he missed all of his 2018 rookie season because of an Achilles injury. And while the former first-round draft pick did again participate in individual drills, he sat out both competitive 1-on-1s versus the Lions’ defenders and 11-on-11 work.
- The Patriots’ wide receivers looked more competitive going against Detroit’s secondary than against their own. The highlights of 1-on-1 work were two leaping catches made by rookie receivers N’Keal Harry and Jakobi Meyers, who out-jumped their opponents to come down with the football. The two youngsters generally had a productive practice against the Lions, and were prominently featured during 11-on-11 segments.
- The final two-minute drill at the end of practice saw the Patriots use a skill position group consisting of running back James White, tight end Benjamin Watson, and wide receivers Phillip Dorsett, Jakobi Meyers and Braxton Berrios — a continuation of similar situational packages used over the course of the first eight practices. Brady and the offense looked good, but ultimately had to settle for a field goal after stalling near the goal line.
- Linebacker Jamie Collins continues to be a playmaker for the Patriots defense. Today, he forced another fumble when he knocked the football loose during a 7-on-7 drill. Collins joined New England on a comparatively cheap deal but he is looking more and more like a lock to make the roster. If his practice performance translates onto the field, the offseason acquisition will be a big asset for the team this year.
- For the first time all camp, cornerback Stephon Gilmore surrendered a catch — which just shows how incredibly tight Gilmore has covered through the first eight training camp practices. The player beating him, by the way, was no other than former Patriots wide receiver Danny Amendola who caught a pin-point pass from quarterback Matthew Stafford.
- Defensive edge Shilique Calhoun has quietly produced a very solid training camp so far, and today’s session was more of the same: the former third-round draft pick, who was signed by the Patriots as a free agent this offseason, ran with the first-team and looked very comfortable in 1-on-1 drills. While New England is deep along the defensive line, Calhoun can be seen as a dark-horse candidate to make the club.
- Fellow edge defender Chase Winovich, a lock to make the team due to his third-round draft status, also looked solid. During two-minute work near the end of the session, the rookie found himself in the backfield twice and would have taken down the opposing quarterback for two sacks had he been allowed to finish the plays. Winovich is taking strides.
- D’Angelo Ross continues to put up a fight for one of the depth cornerback spots. The undrafted rookie, who ran with the third team defense today, had an interception during 11-on-11 work. It will be tough for him to make the roster given all the talent ahead of him on the depth chart, but he sure is not going down without a fight.
- Camp standout Jakobi Meyers joined the group of punt returners today, the first time we have seen the undrafted rookie receiver in this role. Given that he muffed a punt at one point during team drills, however, the experiment might be a short one. The other punt returners, meanwhile, were all familiar faces: N’Keal Harry, Braxton Berrios and Gunner Olszewski.