For the second day in a row, the New England Patriots will put on the pads and hit the fields behind Gillette Stadium. Their sixth overall practice of this year’s training camp will again be a physical affair, especially compared to last week’s, so let’s dive straight into what we will be keeping a close eye on.
Team discipline. The Patriots struggled in this area on Monday, with several players being forced to embark on penalty laps around the practice fields. Most of those were the result of players jumping early during 1-on-1 drills, including offensive tackle Isaiah Wynn and defensive linemen Daniel Ekuale and Carl Davis.
With the Patriots expected to do more 1-on-1 work on Tuesday, those players in particular will be in the spotlight. That said, team discipline as a whole will be a point of emphasis following Monday’s inconsistent performance in that regard.
Mac Jones’ downfield passing. The Patriots’ passing attack is obviously a work in progress, with the downfield attack in particular in need of more work. Mac Jones’ stat-line on Monday is a reflection of that: he was near-perfect on throws within 10 yards from the line of scrimmage — going 9-for-10 during team drills — but only went 1-for-4 when going deeper down the field, including an interception to Terrance Mitchell.
Jones is a good deep ball passer, something that was on display multiple times during his 2021 rookie season. However, he has not had a lot of opportunities to showcase his skills just yet in camp; when he did go deep, however, he was off base more often than not.
Christian Barmore in 1-on-1 situations. Christian Barmore already was a disruptive player during his rookie season last year, and it appears he is in line for the famous sophomore jump — at least if Monday is any indication. Barmore, after all, looked very good during 1-on-1s and proved himself a tough player to keep contained.
New England’s defensive line had its moments in 2021 but lacked consistency. Barmore’s improvement might go a long way toward achieving that consistency this year.
As for yesterday’s things to watch, here are a few quick notes:
1-on-1 competition: The Patriots putting on pads for the first time led to the first 1-on-1 battles of the summer, both between offensive and defensive linemen and pass catchers and defensive backs. It was a lively competition, with some of the standouts including the aforementioned Christian Barmore as well as fellow defensive lineman Davon Godchaux, wide receivers Kendrick Bourne and Jakobi Meyers. On the other end of the spectrum were Isaiah Wynn and Cole Strange.
Running back performance: Monday can be seen as a learning experience for the Patriots offense, which had a rough go on the ground at times. It eventually did find its footing, though, but on the hole had an up-and-down day. As for the depth chart, Damien Harris was the first man up during team drills. Rhamondre Stevenson, meanwhile, was more involved in the passing game catching three of the balls coming his way.
Injuries: The Patriots, luckily, appeared to escape Monday’s practice without any new injuries. In fact, the session was a net positive for the team: defensive backs Jonathan Jones, Jabrill Peppers and Myles Bryant returned, while Deatrich Wise Jr. was spotted for the first time since Day 1.