A Good Session with the Hall of Famers Present
The Patriots concluded Day 5 of training camp inside Gillette Stadium in front of a raucous crowd on Monday night. The team dressed in shorts and shells after being in full pads Saturday and Sunday. After having a crowd of over 21,000 people on Saturday, more than 24,000 fans filled the lower bowls at Gillette for the session.
The big news of the day was Kevin Faulk being inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame. Bill Belichick in his remarks and later in his press conference called him one of the most unselfish players he’s ever coached. He said that Faulk and Troy Brown were two of the toughest, most clutch, and best decision makers on the team.
Faulk once again climbed the stage wearing a Tom Brady jersey under his suit coat. Something he did at the NFL draft this May. But he was in for a surprise. Brady came out in uniform for practice and unzipped his warmup jacket to reveal a Faulk jersey.
Faulk later said he was speechless by the gesture. Brady called Faulk, one of the best players, one of the best teammates and one the best friends he’s had. When fans began to chant Brady-Brady-Brady… the QB stopped them and said that night was about Faulk.
There’s something to be said for the respect that Brady has for his former teammate as this is the first time he’s spoken this summer. Faulk later addressed the media at the end of Belichick’s press conference and stated he wanted to savor the moment. “That’s the good feeling,” he said when asked about donning the red HOF jacket. He was deeply touched by Brady’s gesture. “So much love, so much emotion…great moment,” he said.
Faulk had some words for the legions of Patriots haters who accuse the team of being cheaters. “Let them come in here and watch the work we put in,” he said.
Not Practicing: Danny Amendola, Julian Edelman, Alan Branch (NFI), Dion Lewis, Tre’ Jackson, Sebastian Vollmer, Nate Ebner (Olympic Games), Keshawn Martin, Chris Hogan were not spotted at practice.
Offense Looks Mostly Sharp: When the team isn’t in full pads, it is the offense that usually rules the roost and Monday night was no exception. Tom Brady took the first reps with top offensive unit all night. While the competition was spirited, the practice didn’t have the intensity that the weekend workouts did.
When Brady was off the field, he was idly chatting with Tedy Bruschi in the end zone, something that we haven’t seen much of this summer. Brady however, was mostly sharp on the night. The only poor throw he made was to Martellus Bennett who was running a deep cross from right to left and was wide open. Brady’s pass was behind him and when Bennett tried to stop to make the catch, he lost his footing.
Brady made a beauty of a deep throw to Chris Harper who beat Jonathan Jones. And on another, he showed outstanding touch to Rob Gronkowski on a deep slant over Jamie Collins who had tight coverage.
Jimmy Garoppolo wasn’t as sharp as Brady but had an ok session. He was picked off by Devin McCourty after his pass went right off the receiver’s hands. He had another nearly picked by Justin Coleman. But he showed some sharpness too. He made a nice connection with Aaron Dobson over Cyrus Jones for about 20 yards.
Jacoby Brissett didn’t have a great practice. As happens with rookies, he was holding the ball too long, made some poor throws, was picked off twice, nearly had a couple more and had too many throwaways.
Kick Returner Seems to be Jones’ job to Lose: Rookie Cyrus Jones continues to get the first reps with the STs kick return unit. He’s showing good vision and decision-making and has that burst that can be dangerous if he gets past the first wave of coverage.
Harper, V’Angelo Bentley and DeAndre Carter also are getting reps in the return game.
Rookies Continue to Work with Top OL Unit: Rookies Joe Thuney and Ted Karras continue to get the 1st team reps in the interior of the offensive line. Thuney looks very comfortable out there and Karras bring a little bit of that nastiness that the team has lacked in the past few years.
Shaq Mason was activated off of PUP but has had a difficult time seeing the field. He spent the majority of Monday evening watching from the end zone. Nate Solder and Marcus Cannon operated at the tackle position with David Andrews at center for the first team unit.
Play(s) of the Day: Brady not only hit Gronkowski once in the corner of the end zone but did it twice. The big man is having a terrific summer and is darn near un-coverable. So while he’s been on fire he’s also been playing to the crowd. Immediately after his second touchdown, he ran over to the fans in the end zone and was firing them up even more so than they wore before.
Which leads us to the next point. Watching the body language of the defensive players after Gronk’s second touchdown and resultant celebration, they were pissed. And rightfully so.
Once in a while the celebration a big score is acceptable, but there is beginning to happen an alarming trend of daily scenarios where they cavort and are showing up the defensive players. Two words here…. Brandon Browner.
Remember two years ago when the WRs were taking too much advantage of their defensive opponents in shorts and shells and they got a bit cocky. Browner set the tone immediately at the start of the next practice. He slammed Kenbrell Thompkins at the line then well after the whistle flung him to the ground like a sack of mail.
We may have another Browner moment soon. If the team is in full pads on Weds or Thursday, look for Hightower or Collins to send a message that the defense is ready for all comers.
The team is off on Tuesday and get back to work on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday with practices scheduled for 9:15 a.m.
Posted Under: Patriots Commentary
Tags: 2016 Patriots Roster 53 Man Roster Projection Bill Belichick Danny Amendola Julian Edelman Kevin Faulk LaGarrette Blount Malcolm Butler New England Patriots NFL Patriots Patriots edge rushers Patriots Hall of Fame Rob Gronkowski Tom Brady