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Patriots 2020 training camp recap: Defense dominates intense Thursday practice

Related: Patriots training camp recap: Quarterbacks don’t have their best day

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

The New England Patriots were originally scheduled to hit the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium at 10:00 am today, but the weather forecast forced the team to move the session up 45 minutes. The start time may have been different than initially anticipated but a) the Patriots still had to practice in rainy and windy conditions with temperatures in the low 60s, and b) the intensity was what had to be expected during a full-pads session that resembled a scrimmage at times.

With that said, let’s recap what happened at today’s two-hour practice via those present for the two-hour session.


Absent: DT Beau Allen, WR Will Hastings, LB Brandon King (Reserve/PUP), S Devin McCourty, LB Cassh Maluia, RB Lamar Miller (Active/PUP), LB Josh Uche

Present but limited: TE Devin Asiasi, LB Terez Hall, WR Jakobi Meyers

  • While no players returned compared to yesterday’s practice, two more were added to the list of absentees: rookie linebackers Josh Uche and Cassh Maluia. Both have been full participants recently, and did not appear to have suffered any injuries on Wednesday.
  • Devin McCourty did not participate in today’s practice, but he did watch the final periods from the sidelines.
  • Yodny Cajuste and Kyle Dugger were full participants again after recently being among those limited.


  • Starting left guard Joe Thuney was slow to get up at one point after apparently hurting his left wrist or forearm. He went off the field to have a team doctor and a trainer look at it, but it did not look as if the injury was as bad as it initially seemed to be. (source)


Quarterback performance: Jarrett Stidham 4 of 11 (11-on-11s), 2 of 2 (7-on-7s); Cam Newton 11 of 23 with 1 INT (11-on-11s), 2 of 5 (7-on-7s); Brian Hoyer 5 of 11 (11-on-11s), 1 of 2 (7-on-7s); Brian Lewerke 2 off 4 (11-on-11s) (source)

  • The first play of the Patriots’ 11-on-11 work saw Damien Harris take a handoff 65 yards for a touchdown. The second-year back was sprung open by some excellent blocking up front by Joe Thuney and David Andrews, and was able to hold onto the football even with Jason McCourty chasing him down and trying to knock it out. Another good moment for the camp standout. (source)
  • Cam Newton was the first man up during 11-on-11s, and he completed three of his five passing attempts. While he did throw an interception, he also found James White on a slant pass for a touchdown. On the next series, Jarrett Stidham went over and failed to complete any of his four attempts. The defense, however, played a big role in this: three of Stidham’s throws were broken up, including N’Keal Harry losing a 50/50 ball against D’Angelo Ross. (source)
  • The second go-around saw Newton again take starter snaps while completing three of five throws. He almost had a touchdown, but officials ruled him out of bounds. Brian Hoyer took over next in place of Stidham, and completed two of six attempts. One of two completions was a touchdown pass to second-year man wideout Gunner Olszewski. (source)
  • Hoyer later also threw a touchdown pass to Devin Ross on a deep post route versus Jason McCourty — arguably the best offensive play of the day besides Harris’ long touchdown run. Ross had been quiet after an impressive start but made an impressive play to beat one of the Patriots’ starter-level cornerbacks. Hoyer, meanwhile, was able to look the deep safety off before firing the deep ball towards the second-year Patriot. (source)
  • For the first time all training camp, Brian Lewerke did see some reps during team drills. The first-year quarterback completed two of his four attempts near the end of practice, including a pass to fellow undrafted rookie Isaiah Zuber who made a nice adjustment to make the grab. (source)


  • The passing statistics outlined above show how the extensive 11-on-11 periods went: the Patriots’ defense got the better of the offense. Not all was perfect given the touchdowns mentioned above, but the unit as a whole was much more consistent regardless of which quarterback was under center. Is this a sign of the team’s overall quality on this side of the ball, or more a reflection of the state of the post-Tom Brady offense? Probably a bit of both, but this question is for the coaches to answer. (source)
  • For the second day in a row, safety Terrence Brooks was able to intercept a Cam Newton pass. That being said, the play would likely have ended differently in a live-game setting: Deatrich Wise Jr. and Ja’Whaun Bentley would have registered a sack had they been allowed to take down the quarterback. Instead, Newton tried to salvage the play versus a collapsing pocket but threw off the mark to his right where Brooks picked it off. (source)

Special teams

  • Justin Rohrwasser and Nick Folk both attempted five field goals during full team work. While the rookie went 3-of-5, the veteran was successful on all his kicks. Rohrwasser does appear to be trending in the right direction — he made two kicks from 50-plus yards out — but Folk is still the more consistent option of the two. (source)


  • For the first time all summer, the Patriots had officials present for the session. Given that NFL refs are not allowed to travel this offseason as part of the league’s Coronavirus protocols, the team had to go outside the league to find today’s crew. Earlier during the session, it seemed as if head coach Bill Belichick went over the practice script with the officials. (source)