With a busy few days on the scheduled featuring a pair of joint sessions with the Carolina Panthers, the New England Patriots expectedly kept the intensity low in their return to the practice fields on Monday. Working in shells after a weekend off, the focus shifted on cleaning things up and continuing the installation.
Before the attention turns to Tuesday’s joint practices, here is what happened Monday.
Absentees: OT Isaiah Wynn, OL Bill Murray, OT Justin Herron, CB Malcolm Butler, CB Joejuan Williams, DB Cody Davis, OL Andrew Stueber (NFI)
Limited: TE Dalton Keene
New England was down several members of the offensive line Monday morning. Isaiah Wynn remained absent, while Justin Herron and Bill Murray joined him after both players were shaken up in Thursday night’s preseason matchup.
Yodny Cajuste, who also took a trip to the blue medical tent on Thursday, was present.
Installation continues: As Bill Belichick noted before practice, the team continues to install new things within the offense as it gets ready for games in September. Working in a slower pace, the Patriots offense featured heavy amount of pre-snap shifts, as well as pre-snap motion — something New England was near the bottom of the league in last season.
Busy day for Jonnu: Smith was active in the passing attack on Monday despite working mainly in the flat or around the line of scrimmage. New England schemed up a handful of passes for its tight end, often using Smith in those aforementioned pre-snap motions and shifts. After a tough first season in New England, using Smith like this could be a way to get him going and showcase his strong after-the-catch skills.
One-handed Agholor: With not too much happening, Nelson Agholor drew a roar from the crowd by pulling down a one-handed catch into his body in the back left corner of the end zone over Jonathan Jones. Agholor later one-upped his catch, snagging an end-zone fade out of the air with one hand.
Jumpy Jones: Rookie cornerback Jack Jones saw more snaps Monday with Malcolm Butler and Joejuan Williams absent. After showcasing his aggressiveness in Thursday’s preseason opener, Jones was at it again Monday cutting off a slant route and knocking a ball away that was intended for Kristian Wilkerson. The cornerback has made it work for him so far, but we’ll see if teams take advantage of jumpiness when the season starts.
- Yodny Cajuste was with the starting unit at right tackle with Isaiah Wynn and Justin Herron sidelined.
- Marcus Jones continues to see time in the slot with Jonathan Jones outside. The third-round rookie had a strong play to conclude practice, forcing an incompletion on Tre Nixon.
- Tyquan Thornton showcased his speed beating Shaun Wade down the sideline. A nice pass from Brian Hoyer fell incomplete, though, as the receiver drifted out of bounds.
- Speaking of Wade, he responded in the red zone with a strong pass breakup (in mitts) while covering Kristian Wilkerson. Wade had a handful of strong coverage snaps, perhaps building off his strong preseason opener.
- While the pace was slower, Jabrill Peppers seemed to be more involved in 11-on-11 work. He has been eased back into things as he recovers from the ruptured ACL he suffered last season.
New England now turns its attention to the first of two joint practices with the Carolina Panthers in which the competition and intensity will be dialed up.