A taste of real football Monday morning on the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium as the New England Patriots donned full pads for the first time this summer. With the pads on, energy and intensity levels rose and the team finally got to work in the run game.
Let's get into Monday's notebook.
Absentees: QB Brian Hoyer, RB James White (PUP), OL Chasen Hines (NFI), OL Andrew Stueber (NFI)
Returnees: DB Myles Bryant, S Jabrill Peppers, CB Jonathan Jones
Limited: RB Pierre Strong Jr., DE Deatrich Wise Jr.
The Patriots saw some good news in their secondary on Monday, as Jabrill Peppers and Jonathan Jones were activated off the PUP list, while Myles Bryant returned off the non-football injury list. Brian Hoyer remained absent while Deatrich Wise Jr. was spotted in a limited capacity for the first time since last week.
Tyquan Thornton vs. Joejuan Williams: All eyes were on rookie receiver Tyquan Thornton Monday as he had his first true test against the Patriots' secondary with pads on. Early in 1-on-1s, Thornton was matched up against the physical Joejuan Williams.
Williams was able to disrupt his route at the line of scrimmage, but Thornton's speed stood out as he was able to build back up and haul in a diving snag on a beautifully placed ball from Mac Jones up the right sideline with Williams in tight coverage. Thornton then got Williams in the next rep, beating him off the line on a quick slant. It was a good first test for the second-round rookie.
DeVante Parker vs. Malcolm Butler: Another wide receiver versus cornerback battle that stood out on Monday. Parker got off to a fast start, hauling in a pair of 40-plus yard bombs from Mac Jones. In 1-on-1s, the trade acquisition showcased a nice downfield back shoulder adjustment beating Butler up the right sideline. He then got the veteran corner again, beating him clean on a go-route up the left sideline.
Butler did not go down easily however, as he broke-up a goal-line fade intended for Parker later in practice.
Mix-and-match secondary: With the return of Myles Bryant, Jabrill Peppers, and Jonathan Jones, the Patriots had their full secondary at practice for the first time this summer. What didn't change is that they continued to roll out a handful of secondary combinations throughout the day. One noticeable rotation included rookie cornerback Jack Jones with the "ones."
Christian Barmore and Davon Godchaux stand out: As the pads came on, Christian Barmore and Davon Godchaux got right to work in the trenches. In 1-on-1s Godchaux had a strong rep with David Andrews, while Barmore went 2-of-3 easily including a strong finish against Kody Russey. A strong season from the duo up the middle would do wonders for the Patriots' defense.
False starts: With the focus back in the trenches Monday, both sides were quite jumpy. A handful of players from both sides of the ball were penalized with nine total laps for false starts, including Isaiah Wynn, LaBryan Ray, Carl Davis, and Danny Ekuale.
- Mac Jones threw his third interception of camp on Monday. Looking for Tyquan Thornton across the middle it appeared he never saw Terrance Mitchell in his zone. The veteran cornerback jumped in and picked the pass off.
- Bill Murray had a rough go in his first 1-on-1s on the offensive side of the ball, getting beat by Daniel Ekuale and LaBryan Ray. Murray did respond with a pancake it 11-on-11.
- Besides his 1-on-1 win, LaBryan Ray also stood out in 11-on-11s. He made a few strong plays in the run game and also recorded a would be sack. He could be the early UDFA favorite to make the roster.
- Ty Montgomery continues to fill a vast majority of roles for the Patriots on offense and special teams. He looks like the Brandon Bolden replacement and appears an early favorite for a roster spot.
- Besides Montgomery, Tre Nixon, Kyle Dugger, and Rhamondre Stevenson served as kick returners.
- In one 7-on-7 session, Nelson Agholor beat Terrance Mitchell clean down the sideline. Mac Jones, however, missed his receiver several steps ahead and went elsewhere with the ball.
- Josh Uche impressed in pass coverage Monday, recording a pass breakup and sticking with several of the Patriots' running backs in coverage.
- Patrick Chung was a guest at practice, wearing his red gloves and traveling around with the secondary. Ivan Fears was also present again.
The Patriots will be back in pads on Tuesday for their sixth training camp practice, beginning at 9:30 a.m. ET.