Here’s a photo of Tom Brady connecting with tight end Rob Gronkowski during Thursday’s practice session (PHOTO:Derek Havens)

The New England Patriots opened up training camp to the public on Thursday and many observers got their first look at the 2014 squad.

Patriots fans were out in full force. No question a sight for sore eyes as football is back. The first two days the players are in workout gear and helmets so we will get our first padded practice Saturday.

Here are my observations from Thursday:

- Wide receiver Aaron Dobson, cornerback Alfonzo Dennard, special teamer Matthew Slater, linebacker Deontae Skinner, offensive lineman Chris Martin, defensive lineman Dominique Easley, wide receiver Jeremy Gallon and defensive lineman Tommy Kelly were not participating in practice. Skinner and Martin were not on the field.

- The first day of camp always has a ton of energy from the crowd and today was no different. After several months without the Patriots, fans are a little football starved. So when Tom Brady, Vince Wilfork and Rob Gronkowski stepped on the field for the first time, there was an uproar.

 - Danny Amendola was the first Pats player out on the field. He looked good, no noticeable limp and made sharp cuts. Then again, I said the same thing last July. I’m not worried about how he does in camp or even preseason for that matter. For Amendola, it’s all about when the pads go on and the hits come. Big year for him.
 - Kenbrell Thompkins stood out at several points during the practice session. He made some terrific catches and looks like he’s built a good chemistry with Brady.
 - Many fans saw exactly what they wanted to see Thursday, Brady throwing a pass to Gronkowski in the endzone. Gronk looked good, showing some burst off the line and cutting well. While he did participate in position drills, he watched from the sidelines as the team ran 7-on-7 and 11-on-11s.

- None of the Quarterbacks were overly impressive in Thursday’s session. Obviously Brady looked much better than Ryan Mallett or Jimmy Garoppolo, but even no. 12 was off on a few passes. The backup QB position is one of the more interesting situations to monitor, but both had ups-and-downs. First impression from Garoppolo was his quick release and he’s not afraid to throw it into tight windows.

 - Cornerback Brandon Browner is big. I know I’m not breaking any news, but it was incredible to see him tower over the other defensive backs. He broke up a few passes and was moved around throughout the day. He’ll be an interesting chess piece Bill Belichick can move around this season.
On another note, it was awesome to see Revis hanging out with the other defensive backs and wearing Patriots gear. He looked good in drills, but I don’t think we’ll get a great look at him for a few more days. Revis did look comfortable, though. He fits in nicely.

 

Overall, a lot more positives than negatives as camp is underway. Be sure to check back throughout the weekend for more observations and analysis.

Do you have a Twitter account? Be sure to follow me: @PatriotsHaven!