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Patriots training camp notebook: Young linebackers have impressive days on Tuesday

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

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

The New England Patriots were back in pads for their sixth training camp practice of the summer on Tuesday. The 1-on-1 work continued in both the trenches and in the secondary while the Patriots’ offense looked for more success on the ground in team drills.

For everything you need to know from Tuesday’s practice, let’s get into the notebook.


Absentees: QB Brian Hoyer, TE Dalton Keene, RB James White (PUP), OL Chasen Hines (NFI), OL Andrew Stueber (NFI)

Limited: RB Pierre Strong Jr., DE Deatrich Wise Jr.

Dalton Keene was the lone surprise absence for the Patriots on Tuesday. Brian Hoyer was again absent, but the expectation, which Bill Belichick confirmed Tuesday, is that he will return soon.


Linebackers stand out: Several Patriots linebackers had impressive days on Tuesday. Anfernee Jennings continues to pop playing both on the edge and over the ball. The third-year man had a quality win in 1-on-1s against Yodny Cajuste using an impressive arm reach to move the tackle. He also showed up later in the run game.

Beyond Jennings, Raekwon McMillan was one who stood out, as both him and Jahlani Tavai made plays in the run game. Mack Wilson also had a strong practice recording a would-be sack, while Ja’Whaun Bentley and Harvey Langi made a handful of plays as well.

Christian Barmore dominates again: For the second straight day it was the Christian Barmore show on defense. Barmore got the best of Michael Onwenu in the first 1-on-1 session. The two matched up later in practice and Onwenu ended up on his back. Barmore’s path to destruction wasn't over then as he went on to destroy undrafted free agent rookie Kody Russey.

His strong play extended beyond 1-on-1s, as he was in the backfield in back-to-back plays during an 11-on-11 session recording a would-be sack and run stuff.

Cole Strange bounces back: After not the best debut in pads for the rookie on Monday, Strange held up much better on day two. The first-round draft pick recovered nicely after a strong initial bullrush by Davon Godchaux in his first 1-on-1 rep of the day. He then finished 2-0 in the second 1-on-1 session, recording a decisive win over Lawerence Guy, while also beating Daniel Ekuale.

Ronnie Perkins has his best day: Like Strange, Perkins bounced back after not having his best performance Monday. While he did commit a false start in 1-on-1s, Perkins showcased his speed with a strong up-and-under move on Yasir Durant. He was also in the backfield in team drills, recording a would-be sack and making several plays against the run.

Speedy wide receivers flash their skill: Perhaps the flashiest plays of the day came from wide receivers Tyquan Thornton and Nelson Agholor in 7-on-7 drills. Thornton hauled in an impressive over-the-shoulder catch despite tight coverage from Jalen Mills, who applauded the rookie after the play. The second-round pick continues to impress early on, catching almost anything thrown his way.

As for Agholor, the veteran continues to look more comfortable on offense, something he confirmed after practice. Agholor has been sharp early on during Tuesday’s session, highlighted by a one-handed circus catch over Joejuan Williams.

Shanahan scheme: While the Patriots do not seem to fully have given up their old downhill run scheme, glimpses of Kyle Shanahan’s outside zone continue to peak through between outside runs and bootleg/play-action passes. It certainly looks like the offense is still putting the pieces together, as the defense was constantly in the backfield again Tuesday.

Light workload for QB1: It was a light day throwing the ball for Mac Jones. The sophomore quarterback donned a sleeve on his right arm, saying after practice it was for compression and to keep his throwing arm warm. Jones also noted the amount of snaps the younger players received today, perhaps hinting it the decrease in workload was planned.

The result was a lot of work for rookie Bailey Zappe. After a shaky start to camp, Zappe had one of his better days Tuesday. The rookie seems more decisive and quicker delivering the football.

Other notes:

  • The opening session featured a cornerback flip, with Malcolm Butler and Jack Jones manning the boundary and Myles Bryant in the slot. However, Jalen Mills, Terrance Mitchell, and Jonathan Jones returned to their expected spots in the final 11-on-11 session with the music blaring.
  • Trent Brown dominated the 1-on-1 session today, especially when he’s able to get his hands on the defender. Brown had impressive reps over Josh Uche and Matt Judon and also threw Henry Anderson to the ground.
  • As for Uche, it was an impressive day despite getting stonewalled by Brown. Uche got his revenge, using his speed to almost crossover Brown. Uche also beat Isaiah Wynn with an impressive spin move.
  • David Andrews had a solid win 1-on-1 over Christian Barmore, perhaps the last time the sophomore defensive tackle was stopped Tuesday.
  • Undrafted free agent LaBryan Ray also continues to catch the eye. After a strong start in pads on Monday, Ray impressed again Tuesday. He had two solid reps against Cajuste in ones, while making numerous plays in the run game in 11-on-11s.
  • Jack Jones and Henry Anderson recorded pass break-ups.
  • Jabrill Peppers got work as a returner for the first time this summer.

The Patriots will be back for their seventh training camp practice on Wednesday beginning at 9:30 a.m. ET.

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