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Patriots 2020 training camp recap: Quarterback race remains tight despite Jarrett Stidham’s rough stretch

Related: Patriots training camp recap: Quarterback reps split equally on first day of full-contact work

New England Patriots Training Camp Photo by Steven Senne-Pool/Getty Images

The New England Patriots’ 2020 training camp is in full swing, as the team returned to the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium today for a second straight practice in full pads. Conditions were better than they were on Monday, with temperatures in the mid-70s and sunshine — perfect conditions for football. The session itself, meanwhile, was a continuation of Monday’s with a heavy emphasis on foundational work in all three phases of the game.

With that all being said, here is what happened at today’s practice.

Attendance

Absent: DT Beau Allen, LB Tashawn Bower, LB Brandon King (Reserve/PUP) RB Sony Michel (Active/PUP), RB Lamar Miller (Active/PUP), WR Jeff Thomas, LB Anfernee Jennings

Present but limited: WR Will Hastings

  • Tashawn Bower is a new addition to the list. The fourth-year man, who is in his first training camp as a Patriot, did not suffer an obvious injury during Monday’s session.
  • Will Hastings was limited for the second day in a row.

Injuries

  • Wide receiver Julian Edelman was a full participant on Monday, but left after warmups and before positional drills began.
  • Tight end Dalton Keene had his right ankle taped towards the end of the session, but did not seem to be bothered too much by the issue.

Offense

Quarterback performance: Jarrett Stidham 6 of 7 with 1 INT (11-on-11s), 2 of 4 with 2 INTs (7-on-7s); Cam Newton 6 of 9 (11-on-11s), 3 of 3 (7-on-7s); Brian Hoyer 7 of 8 (11-on-11s), 2 of 3 (7-on-7s)

  • Early during the session, the team’s quarterbacks worked on shotgun snaps with three interior offensive linemen. Jarrett Stidham lined up behind starting center David Andrews, Cam Newton behind starting left guard Joe Thuney, and Brian Hoyer behind second-year man Hjalte Froholdt. While Stidham worked with the top center option on this particular drill, the Patriots once again split their quarterback reps rather evenly.
  • After a strong outing on Monday, Jarrett Stidham had a rough stretch at one point during Tuesday’s session when he threw three picks within five pass attempts in team work. While not all of his interceptions appeared to be necessarily his fault, the second-year passer was unable to connect twice with Damiere Byrd and also threw a pick while trying to throw to Devin Ross.
  • Not all was bad for Stidham, though. He looked decisive in his decision making and also had two of the best passes of the day when he hooked up with Mohamed Sanu and Damiere Byrd during 11-on-11s. He also was the first quarterback up during 11-on-11 work, for what it is worth.
  • For the second day in a row, Brian Hoyer looked good. The veteran, who was re-signed earlier this offseason to a third stint with the Patriots, connected with second-year wideout Gunner Olszewski for a 40-plus-yard touchdown, and later hooked up with Devin Ross — one of the camp standouts so far — on another big play. While Olszewski beat undrafted rookie Myles Bryant, Ross was able to make his catch versus starting cornerback Jason McCourty.
  • Cam Newton, meanwhile, had a solid day as well. He showcased his strong arm on numerous occasions, and saw two of his three incompletions get dropped by the intended targets. While the former league MVP is still getting acclimated to the Patriots’ offense, he is looking fully healthy again after ending last season on the Carolina Panthers’ injured reserve list.
  • N’Keal Harry, Mohamed Sanu and Devin Asiasi held a side session with the quarterbacks at one point. Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, quarterbacks coach Jedd Fisch and wide receivers coach Mick Lombardi were also present for the session.
  • The offense and defense did some red zone work late during the practice, with McDaniels’ unit finding plenty of success. Rex Burkhead had a pair of touchdown runs out of the i-formation behind Jakob Johnson, with Cam Newton later connecting with Devin Asiasi and Damien Harris. Harris later was stuffed on a running attempt as well, however.

Defense

  • Cornerback Michael Jackson registered the first interception off Jarrett Stidham during team work. Jackson, who was added to the Patriots’ roster via trade just earlier this month, undercut a pass intended for Damiere Byrd. While the play goes into the books as a negative one for Stidham, Byrd’s cut may not have been decisive enough — allowing Jackson to jump the route and pick off the ball.
  • Stidham’s second and third interceptions, meanwhile, came on back-to-back plays and were caught by cornerback Stephon Gilmore and safety Kyle Dugger. While Gilmore’s pick came after he jumped a pass intended for wideout Devin Ross, Dugger’s was the result of a badly underthrown deep attempt by New England’s second-year quarterback.
  • Just like Kyle Dugger, Josh Uche also continues to be actively involved in practice. The second-round rookie out of Michigan again was used in multiple roles and at one point stuffed a run on what looked like a scripted blitz.

Special teams

  • Jake Bailey and his coverage team had a strong session. While the second-year punter placed his kicks consistently well, veteran gunners Matthew Slater and Justin Bethel were quickly down the field to down them. At one point, the two combined to down the football at the 1-yard line.
  • Gunner Olszewski, J.J. Taylor and Damiere Byrd saw action both as kickoff returners and punt returners. Kyle Dugger also ran back kickoffs, with Isaiah Zuber joining the punt return group.

Miscellaneous

  • Rookie kicker Justin Rohrwasser was once again the first player on the field.