The New England Patriots are heading into their second week of full-speed training camp, but before we turn our attention to what lies ahead, let’s take another look back at Sunday’s two-hour session: the Patriots returned to the practice fields following a day off, to hold a comparatively light 10th overall practice. Let’s clean out the notebook.
Jarrett Stidham’s injury creates an interesting dynamic
For the second practice in a row, Jarrett Stidham was held out of competitive team drills due to what has been reported as a hip injury. While Stidham was present throughout the session, his injury does create an interesting dynamic at the quarterback position: with Cam Newton the presumptive starter and Stidham dealing with an injury that might take “several weeks” until fully healed again, New England might elect to carry three quarterbacks heading into the regular season.
That third quarterback is veteran Brian Hoyer, of course, and Sunday’s session was another reminder that he could be a serviceable backup option for the Patriots this year. Hoyer looked good during two-minute work near the end of the session, after all, displaying a command of the offense that Newton has not yet shown due to his comparative lack of experience within the system. With Stidham’s status up in the air at the moment, Hoyer very much appears to be on his way to make New England’s 53-man roster.
Julian Edelman shares his thoughts on the wide receiver room
Julian Edelman is the elder statesman in the Patriots’ wide receiver room, and its only member to arrive in New England before last year’s draft. Following Sunday’s practice — one during which he led the team with seven receptions in team drills — he spoke about the development of his position group so far into training camp.
“There’s things that we have to continue to work on, myself included,” said Edelman about the wide receiver group. “That’s what this part of the season’s about: it’s about going down, laying down your fundamentals, laying down your bricks for the beginning of this year that we’re going to carry throughout the whole year, working hard competing. Our room’s doing well at that.”
Edelman also pointed out that even he, entering his 12th year in the league, can learn a thing or two from the younger players on the roster.
“The cool thing when you bring in new players, for me being here for a long time, I get to see these new players and how they run routes. And I’m learning a lot of things from a lot of these guys. Even ‘Gun Show’ [Gunner Olszewski], he’s out here running great routes and I’m taking things from him. We’re all trying to collaborate and it’s fun seeing different body types, different guys — Damiere Byrd, he’s going out here, he’s running some good routes. I think that the whole room is doing well. [...] It’s been fun, it’s a competitive room.”
Jake Bailey’s job remains the same in Year Two
While he originally opened his 2019 rookie season focusing only on punts, Jake Bailey also had to take over the kickoff role following Stephen Gostkowski’s season-ending injury early during the regular season. While the kicker situation has since changed quite a bit due to the arrival of Justin Rohrwasser via the draft, Bailey is still holding onto the kickoff job: he performed multiple kickoffs on Sunday and it seems as if he will keep the role heading into his second season.
Joe Cardona welcomes new Patriot Paul Quessenberry
The Patriots made a series of roster moves on Saturday, including signing tight end Paul Quessenberry as a free agent. Quessenberry’s story is a unique one in this day and age: a former defensive end at the Naval Academy, he has not played competitive football in five-and-a-half years after joining the U.S. Marine Corps. With his commitment over, he decided to try his luck in the NFL again and found his way to New England.
The 28-year-old is not the only member now on the team to have spent his college career at Navy, though: Joe Cardona and Quessenberry were teammates, and the Patriots’ long snapper spoke about the new arrival during a media conference call on Sunday.
“He was in my class at the Academy. We were teammates for five years, going back to prep school,” said Cardona about the new tight end. “You talk about a special guy that’s as tough as they come. It means a lot for me to be able to share this experience and have my teammates here at the Patriots meet him as well.”
Quessenberry is a long-shot to make New England’s roster, but he at least has earned himself a chance.
Running back depth becomes an issue... at least for a day
When the Patriots started the full-pads portion of training camp last Monday, they had two members of their running back corps on the physically unable to perform list: Sony Michel and Lamar Miller were both unable to participate in practice. With the two remaining on PUP, and with two more players joining them on the sidelines on Sunday inveteran James White and undrafted rookie J.J. Taylor, depth at the position has become an issue for the team.
In fact, only two running backs were present during practice yesterday: Rex Burkhead and Damien Harris shared all the reps, with both being heavily involved. White and Taylor will ultimately return to practice, but what is usually a position of strength has been weakened quite a bit recently.