After a day off on Saturday, the New England Patriots returned to the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium today for their third and final full-team practice before pads come on on Monday. The session itself was closed to fans and the media alike, but the organization’s in-house media was allowed to watch the two-hour workout — one that was reportedly the most intense of this summer so far, according to patriots.com’s Paul Perillo, who was present for practice and wrote a recap about it.
Here are some interesting tidbits from that recap (one that you should definitely check out in full).
- The session itself was an intense one, as noted above, and saw the competition level rise compared to the two practices that were held earlier this week. According to Perillo’s notes, this was on full display during 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 work with both the offense and defense doing plenty of talking after each rep. It does seem as if the defense was able to get the better of New England’s offensive groupings, though.
- All three of New England’s primary quarterbacks — Brian Hoyer, Jarrett Stidham and Cam Newton — were given reps, but there does not appear to be a clear pecking order just yet. The three men, of course, are all competing for the starting job after Tom Brady left the Patriots in free agency earlier this year.
- New England’s young wide receivers had some notable moments: N’Keal Harry outmuscled cornerback J.C. Jackson for a touchdown reception in the corner of the end zone at one point, while Devin Ross caught a scoring pass from Stidham while working against reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore. Harry, of course, was the Patriots’ first-round draft pick last year and a lock to make the roster; Ross, on the other hand, is on his third team in three years in the league.
- While Gilmore allowed Ross to get open for one score, the secondary as a whole reportedly looked sharp. Undrafted rookie Myles Bryant, who has the versatility to play both cornerback and safety, caught an overthrown pass for an interception at one point.
- Rex Burkhead, who reworked his contract earlier this offseason to improve his chances of remaining with the Patriots heading into his fourth year with the club, reportedly was also among the standouts. According to Perillo’s notes, he “showed great burst on his carries” — just like he reportedly did all week long.
- Rookie kicker Justin Rohrwasser will be asked to replace franchise legend Stephen Gostkowski this year, and on Sunday he showed off his leg for the first time in a full-team setting. The youngster’s strong leg was apparently on display and he nailed two 48-yard field goals to close Sunday’s practice.
As noted above, the notes here are just part of what happened on Sunday and what Paul Perillo mentioned in his Blogservations. Please head over to patriots.com for more information about the practice session.