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Patriots training camp notebook: New England’s defense dominates first joint practice with Panthers

Related: Patriots will use joint practices with the Panthers as a ‘gauge to see where we are’

NFL: JUL 29 New England Patriots Training Camp Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The New England Patriots kicked off the first of two joint practices with the Carolina Panthers Tuesday morning. Here’s what went down.


Absentees: OT Isaiah Wynn, OL Bill Murray, OT Justin Herron, CB Malcolm Butler, CB Joejuan Williams, DB Cody Davis, OL Andrew Stueber (NFI)

Returnees: DB Cody Davis

Limited: TE Hunter Henry

Injuries: OT Yasir Durant

A similar injury report as Monday as New England remained short along the offensive line. Speaking to reporters before practice, Bill Belichick called Isaiah Wynn “day-to-day”. Cody Davis did return after a one-day absence while Hunter Henry was limited.

Yasir Durant was spotted walking off the field with a trainer. Matthew Judon also briefly left the practice fields but returned shortly thereafter.


Defense dominates: After getting the upper hand over the Patriots’ offense throughout the start of training camp, New England continued its successes against Carolina. Panthers quarterback Baker Mayfield struggled to get anything going through the air early in 1-on-1 drills while the Patriots defensive line gave Carolina’s offensive line all it could handle later on.

Like the Patriots offense the past few weeks, there were several plays where the Panthers’ offense appeared to just stand no chance. As Deatrich Wise Jr. said after practice, the New England defense appeared to “dominate”.

Offensive showing: It was an up-and-down day for the Patriots’ offense. There were moments of success, highlighted by Tyquan Thornton’s diving touchdown in 1-on-1s and a terrific catch by DeVante Parker along the boundary. The unit as a whole, however, didn’t appear to be operating to its fullest.

There were plenty of balls on the ground in an early 11s drill, as well as a few penalties. As for the offensive game plan, New England seemed to rely on play-action passing, striking its best success on what appeared to be a Yankee concept to Jakobi Meyers.

DeVante Parker: Parker impressed throughout practice, hauling in one of the highlight-reel plays of the day with a jump ball reception over cornerback Donte Jackson. Parker was a favorite target of Jones throughout the day and also drew a defensive holding call during 11s. Throughout both 11-on-11 and 1-on-1 drills, Parker created some noticeable separation as well.

Ding-ding: The competition and intensity was dialed up as both sides lined up against a new opponent. After a clean completion to Kristian Wilkerson near the Panthers’ sideline, the first brawl of the day broke out. It was hard to see exactly what started it, but shortly after punches were being thrown and both fields cleared as players joined. Wilkerson was thrown out, as well as Kendrick Bourne for the Patriots. The very next play, the chippiness continued as Trent Brown got into some extracurricular activities with a Carolina defensive lineman, but the situation was resolved before an all-out fracas.

Later on, another brawl ensued as center James Ferentz ended up on the ground in a matchup with what appeared to be Carolina defender Phil Hoskins. Hoskins was immediately removed while Ferentz pleaded his case with Belichick. He was then removed after ruling from referee Brad Allen.

Following the second scrap, Belichick put a halt to practice and gathered his team for a meeting.

Energy levels: With the new competition (and the fights) the energy level was raised, but it appeared to be only from one sideline. Throughout practice, the Panthers seemed to be the more energetic team, especially on the sidelines. The Patriots weren’t flat by any means, but Carolina seemed more intense.

After the session, Adrian Phillips downplayed the notable difference in energy, saying the Patriots aren’t into “that ra-ra stuff.”

Second-year success: After walking off the field by himself, linebacker Matthew Judon returned moments later and didn’t miss a beat. In the next period he was on the field, he notched a sack, a run stuff, and blew up a screen pass. He later recorded another would-be sack in 11-on-11s continuing his strong performance.

Another player entering their second-year in New England who had a monster day was cornerback Jalen Mills. Mills recorded thee pass breakups and did not allow a catch in team drills. Near the goal line in the Panthers’ final two-minute drill he jumped a slant on a slant-out combo perfectly and broke up a pass intended for D.J. Moore. He was in the area with Myles Bryant on the next attempt to Moore which fell incomplete.

Other notes:

  • Jonathan Jones continued to start his day at the outside cornerback position. He had two strong reps against D.J. Moore along the boundary in that same two-minute drill.
  • With Jonathan Jones outside, rookie Marcus Jones continued to play a big role in the slot. He impressed, winning a pair of reps in one-on-one and recording a pass breakup in 11s.
  • Shaun Wade recorded an interception on a pass which was deflected at the line of scrimmage. The Panthers’ offense stayed on the field to continue its drive and later got Wade for a defensive flag. New England’s sideline and Wade were frustrated with the call.
  • In New England’s opening two-minute drill to conclude practice, Ty Montgomery was the running back on the field. Mac Jones started the drive with a ball to him down the right sideline before checking down to him twice shortly after.
  • Before getting kicked out, Bill Belichick had some choice words for Kendrick Bourne after a referee removed him from the playing field. It appeared Bourne’s uniform was not up to code.
  • Myles Bryant was the first punt returner up for New England. Marcus Jones, Adrian Phillips, and Kendrick Bourne followed.
  • Tedy Bruschi, Patrick Chung, Nate Ebner, and Rob Ninkovich were among former Patriots in attendance.

New England will be back Wednesday for its second joint practices with the Carolina Panthers before the preseason matchup Friday night.

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