The New England Patriots and Las Vegas Raiders took the field Tuesday for the first of two joint practice sessions at Raiders Headquarters in Henderson, Nevada. For the Patriots, the team provided their toughest and most skilled competition of the summer.
It was also quite noticeable that New England is a week behind Las Vegas in terms of preparation: the Raiders were the first team to report this summer as they played in the annual Hall of Fame Game.
Here’s what happened, according to reports from those present for the session.
Absentees: WR Tyquan Thornton, WR Kristian Wilkerson, DE Ronnie Perkins, LB Harvey Langi, OL Andrew Stueber (NFI)
Limited: OL Bill Murray, CB Shaun Wade
Attendance remained the same for the Patriots on Tuesday. New England did see Jabrill Peppers and Ty Montgomery depart the field during practice, perhaps due to the Vegas heat. Peppers did eventually return.
Shaun Wade was a new limited participant, as he watched the end of practice without his shoulder pads on. Offensive tackle Isaiah Wynn also shed his red non-contact jersey and was a full participant, as was tight end Hunter Henry.
Offense continues to struggle: Through 15 training camp practices, the Patriots’ run game has struggled to gain any positive momentum. Lining up against the Raiders on Tuesday, similar issues continued. In the first 11-on-11 session, New England had just one positive run mixed in between three run stuffs. The story continued later on, as the four Patriot runs across two 11-on-11 sessions resulted in four stuffed attempts.
Success was also hard find in the pass game early on for New England. In 11-on-11 work, the passing attack started with a would-be sack and play-action completion to Kendrick Bourne. After Jones then found DeVante Parker up the seam for a touchdown in a separate red area session, the unit followed with two incompletions and then a drop by Kendrick Bourne. Things did not get much better in the next series, as a completion to Nelson Agholor was followed by two incompletions and a Jones interception by linebacker Jayon Brown to end the drive.
The offense did come back to life in its final two-minute drive, with Jones going 5-for-6 with completions to Hunter Henry, Jakobi Meyers, DeVante Parker, Jonnu Smith, and finally Kendrick Bourne for a touchdown. It was an impressive bounce-back, but the early struggles were, as noted by Andrew Callahan of the Boston Herald, perhaps the worst they've been all summer.
Davante dominates: In case you missed it, Davante Adams is really, really good. The Raiders wideout made quick work of Jalen Mills in 1-on-1s, beating him on all three reps (reminder: 1-on-1s are hard, especially against the best receiver in football). Adams followed that up with a spectacular one-handed snag for a touchdown later on. The Patriots will have their hands full against Adams in Week 15.
Defense holds up: Besides Adams doing Adams things, the Patriots defense held up in competitive team drills. The unit got off to a shaky start in pass coverage but eventually regrouped and stalled the Raiders offense. Jonathan Jones had a pass-breakup on a throw intended for Adams; New England’s defensive line continued to impress as well, making life difficult for the Vegas’ run game and pilling up three would-be sacks — Matthew Judon, Josh Uche and Ja’Whaun Bentley, per NESN’s Zack Cox — on the final drive.
DBs 1-on-1: Perhaps the biggest challenge for the Patriots defense throughout the day was covering the Raiders’ wide receivers in 1-on-1 work (which, again, is hard). Besides Adams beating Mills three times, Hunter Renfrow flashed his quickness by beating Myles Bryant on three reps. Rookie Jack Jones lost two reps badly, but did win two including a pass breakup on Justin Hall. Fellow rookie Marcus Jones lost all three of his reps. Justin Bethel and Adrian Phillips recorded pass breakups.
- Despite leaving the field shortly, patriots.com’s Evan Lazar saw Jabrill Peppers continue to be more involved with the defense as he recovers from the ruptured ACL he suffered last season.
- Myles Bryant, Marcus Jones, Kyle Dugger, and Jabrill Peppers returned punts for New England.
- Bill Belichick had more praise for the Raiders’ facilities Tuesday morning, calling it the “Taj Mahal of football facilities.”
- Julian Edelman was present (as a spectator), donning a Super Bowl XXXVIII shirt.
New England will look to rebound after their rocky day on Wednesday during joint practice No. 2 against the Raiders. The session will again start at 8:45 a.m. local time.