Pats, Bears Conduct Competitive, Tough Practice
The Patriots conducted their 15th practice of training camp during the second of three joint practices with the Chicago Bears on Tuesday morning at the Gillette practice fields. It was a good competitive practice, with both teams having good and not-so-good moments. There was some more of the dustup nonsense that occurred yesterday and today Bryan Stork made the Walk o’ Shame back to the locker room after being ejected.
Did Not Participate: WR Malcolm Mitchell, RB D.J. Foster, RB Dion Lewis (PUP), RB Donald Brown, RB Brandon Bolden, S Nate Ebner (rugby exemption), TE Bryce Williams, DE Rob Ninkovich, G Tre’ Jackson (PUP), RG Jonathan Cooper, RT Sebastian Vollmer (PUP), WR Danny Amendola (PUP), WR Keshawn Martin, TE Rob Gronkowski, DE Jabaal Sheard
Nate Ebner returned to the Patriots and was in shorts and his jersey. After the warmup session, he joined Ninkovich, Amendola, Mitchell, Foster, Brown, Williams, Jackson and Martin on the lower practice fields with members of the training staff to work on their conditioning.
Here are our Practice Observations:
Edelman Returns to Team Drills and Dominates:
Julian Edelman worked on team drills for the first time since tweaking his foot on August 8 and was virtually impossible to stop. During the 1-on-1 drills, he was dominating against Tracy Porter and the second time, he juked the veteran corner so badly that Porter stopped running and threw up his hands in frustration before the ball was even thrown.
During 7-on-7s and 11-on-11s, Edelman was thrown to nine times, five times from Brady, four from Garoppolo and the ball hit the ground once. And on that play, a corner route from Brady, he was open again but the pass was just a bit too long and it fell inches from his outstretched hands.
He also took a shot after beating Porter on a crossing route. As he was nearing the sidelines, Harold Jones-Quartey lowered his shoulder and popped #11 with a good shot that flattened him. Aaron Dobson took immediate exception to that and Martellus Bennett joined him. Calmer heads prevailed but not for long.
Bryan Stork was ejected for head-butting and then taking a wild swing at LB John Timu after a LeGarrette Blount run. Belichick wasted little time and that put a stop to the extra nonsense right there.
Alshon Jeffery Has an Impressive Day:
On the flip side, Jeffery had a very impressive morning. He and Malcolm Butler shook hands on the field before practice, thereby putting an end to that stuff. The Patriots decided to work Butler on the opposite side of the field today.
He gave Logan Ryan and Justin Coleman fits during the individual drills and then beat the veteran corner Ryan on a deep Jay Cutler pass down the sidelines. Kevin White had a good day going against Butler today.
The Bears were conducting a strange WR drill on the sidelines during STs work. One coach would toss a ball well to the right or left of a Bears WR, who had his back turned. When the ball was in the air, they’d have to turn and react, all the while a second coach was tugging on their jerseys. Strange but effective.
Brady has the hot hand:
QB Tom Brady had a good day and was mixing it up to who he was throwing to. In his first work during 7s, he hit James Develin in the flat and Nate Washington on a comeback route. He then targeted Martellus Bennett on a crossing route, Edelman on a shallow crossing route, with an obvious mismatch of having a linebacker, Timu in coverage. Brady recognized the mismatch with Timu again and completed an easy slant to Edelman.
Brady was 11-15 on the day and that is with his last three attempts going incomplete. The pass to Edelman that was just a hair too long in the end zone and had two passes defensed. One on a nice play by Kevin Peterson who deflected a pass away from Nate Washington. And the other a big hit by Sam Acho, where he clobbered Clay Harbor just as the ball arrived and it fell incomplete.
Jimmy Garoppolo worked against the Bears first team defense today and struggled, going only 4 of 9 during 7s and 9-16 overall. He seemed to have a tough time, finding the windows to complete his passes pretty narrow.
After a hot start to training camp, Aaron Dobson has cooled off. He was targeted only twice today. He caught an outlet pass from Brady for about a four-yard gain and was targeted once on a crossing route from Garoppolo that fell incomplete.
After being the best player on the field for the Patriots defense yesterday, Justin Coleman was picked on today by Cutler and Brian Hoyer in both individual and team drills. He was targeted on successive plays by Hoyer, once a deep comeback to Cameron Meredith and on the next play with a bomb down the sideline to Joshua Bellamy who beat him cleanly.
In the “opportunity” session with the third team offense, QB Jacoby Brissett had a very impressive outing. He went 8-9 and looked very sharp and decisive with the ball. The only incompletion was a nice defensive play by Timu who knocked the ball away from Tyler Gaffney.
Jamie Collins and Chris Long would have had sacks in a game situation as they were able to bust in on Cutler with nice rush moves.
Chris Harper and V’Angelo Bentley were taking punt return reps ahead of Cyrus Jones today. During one punt coverage drill, Matthew Slater beat the blockers down field, and although he tried to pull up at the end, buried WR Kieren Duncan with a big hit. But he got up and gave him a hug as an apology for not pulling up.
Cre’Von LeBlanc spoke after practice about the competitiveness in the locker room.
Tomorrow’s Patriots – Bears joint practice session is slated for 10:00 a.m. It is also the final public open practice of the season. After the preseason game on Thursday, when the Patriots return to practice it will be only a regular season type schedule. The media will only be allowed to observe the first 15 minutes or so and then the practice will be closed.
Posted Under: Patriots Commentary
Tags: 2016 Patriots Roster 53 Man Roster Projection Alshon Jeffery Bill Belichick Brian Hoyer Chicago Bears Danny Amendola Dion Lewis Dont'a Hightower Jabaal Sheard Jay Cutler Jimmy Garoppolo Joint Practices Julian Edelman LaGarrette Blount Malcolm Butler New England Patriots Patriots Patriots edge rushers Rob Gronkowski Rob Ninkovich Tom Brady Trey Flowers