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Patriots training camp notebook: Matt Patricia appears to be the play-calling favorite

Pats Pulpit Training Camp Guide: Schedule, position battles, practical info, and more

NFL: JUN 07 New England Patriots Minicamp Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The New England Patriots wrapped up Day 2 of training camp on Thursday with another session focused on red zone work. Despite the team being without pads until Monday, the energy and competition levels remained high.

Let’s get into the notebook.


Absentees: DE Deatrich Wise Jr., RB James White (PUP), C David Andrews (PUP), S Jabrill Peppers (PUP), DB Jonathan Jones (PUP), DB Myles Bryant (NFI), OL Chasen Hines (NFI), OL Andrew Stueber (NFI), P Jake Bailey (NFI/Illness)

Limited: RB Pierre Strong Jr.

Deatrich Wise Jr. was the lone surprise absentee for the Patriots on Thursday. The reason why he was a no-show is unknown at this point in time.


Defense dominates: With the music blaring in the background, the starting defensive unit dominated New England’s starters in 11-on-11 red area work. Mac Jones was just 1-of-7 with four overthrows, while Bailey Zappe went 0-for-4. The defense forced 10 straight incompletions at one point.

Jones’ one completion was the last play of the period, a roll out touchdown to Hunter Henry. Despite its dominance, the defense dropped to do push-ups.

“Looks like Bill Belichick is an offensive coach now,” joked cornerback Malcolm Butler after practice.

Matt Patricia remains the play-calling favorite: For the majority of the day and the second straight practice, Matt Patricia handled play-calling duties. During the first 11-on-11 period, he was again spotted with a walkie-talkie. He also held a play card and checked in with Mac Jones before every play in the scout team session the previous period.

It was noteworthy that it appeared Jones and Bailey Zappe both checked in with Bill Belichick, who also held a play sheet, during the final 11-on-11 period. No play caller has been named, but Patricia appears to be the favorite.

DeVante Parker makes play of the day again: For the second straight day it was new wide receiver DeVante Parker making the play of the day in the end zone. This time, Mac Jones delivered a beautiful low, back-shoulder ball to Parker near the front left pylon. Parker adjusted and got both feet down in bounds for the would-be score. The Jones-Parker connection continues to shine in the red area.

Joshuah Bledsoe continues strong start: With competition heating up in the secondary, 2021 sixth-round draft pick Joshuah Bledsoe is doing his best to firmly cement his name in the mix. After a pair of pass breakups yesterday, Bledsoe was active in coverage again getting his hand on several other passes today. The safety was also in coverage on an incomplete pass to Devin Asiasi.

Tight ends: Both Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith were active in pass catching periods Thursday morning — highlighted by a pair of acrobatic touchdowns from each player. Henry went up and over Kyle Dugger for his, while Smith made a leaping grab over Bledsoe. Henry was certainly feeling it, showcasing his signature spike celebration after both of his TDs. The Patriots seem to be committed to more two-tight end sets through two practices.

Other notes:

  • Terrance Mitchell was again the first cornerback up opposite of Jalen Mills.
  • Henry Anderson and Raekwon McMillian also have been heavily involved and defense.
  • The first penalty laps of the season were dished out as J.J. Taylor (fumble) and Trent Brown (penalty) were forced to run.
  • Rhamondre Stevenson and Nelson Agholor joined J.J. Taylor on kick return duty.
  • Stevenson noted after practice he is down to 225 pounds, roughly seven pounds lighter than he was listed at last season.
  • Brian Hoyer took no reps throughout the day and wore an arm sleeve on his throwing arm

That is all for today’s Training Camp Notebook. Make sure to follow @iambrianhines and @patspulpit on Twitter for all your training camp updates!