New England Patriots > Patriots Blog > Patriots Commentary

Patriots Training Camp Day 3, First Padded Practice, What to Watch For

Steve Balestrieri
3 years ago at 9:00 am ET
Posted Under: Patriots Commentary

Patriots Training Camp Day 3, First Padded Practice, What to Watch ForBob DeChiara - USA TODAY Sports

The Patriots get back to work here at Gillette Stadium on Saturday morning and now is when the work really starts. The pads come on for the first time today and as Bill Belichick so aptly put yesterday, now is when the evaluation begins.

The team had a pair of shorts and shells practices the first two days of training camp to get things started but the intensity was dialed down a bit. Today, that should change. Here are a couple of things to watch for today as the team ratchets up the tempo and intensity:

Will Rob Ninkovich Show Up? We’ve been hearing the rumors about Ninkovich possibly going to retire and the only official word we’ve heard from the Patriots is that Nink is dealing with a personal issue.

If Ninkovich indeed does decide to call it a career it will be a definite blow to the defense. Although he’s dealt with a suspension and some injuries a year ago which affected his production, Ninkovich remains one of the best Patriots players at crunch time. He’s always been at his best when the games are on the line.

He may have lost a half-step last season but he’s still a stalwart on the defense and a versatile one to boot. He can line up as a defensive end, as a linebacker and even serves as the team’s emergency long snapper in a pinch. We’ll be watching for the players coming out on the field this morning to see if he’s back….If he does retire, it would leave Kony Ealy and Trey Flowers as the probable starters with rookie draft picks Derek Rivers and Deatrich Wise with veteran Geneo Grissom.

How will the Power Running Game Look: The Patriots parted ways with LeGarrette Blount this spring and brought in Rex Burkhead and Mike Gillislee. Those are the two backs that are expected to pick up the slack of Blount’s departure and provide the team the heavy running between the tackles that they’ll need to keep defenses honest in 2017.

James White and Dion Lewis are the primary passing back options along with D.J. Foster and veteran Brandon Bolden who can jump in for the occasional carry but the new players are the ones to watch today.

With the pads coming on today, Burkhead and Gillislee are the guys to watch. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the team open in some sort of goal line drill today to set the tone for the day. UDFA rookie Leshun Daniels is a dark horse to make the roster and he is also in that power back role. It will be curious to see how he performs as well.

Can the Young Players Keep up the Pace? We wrote about how Austin Carr had turned heads in the opening days of camp with some nice catches and showing good hands. Of course, Bill Belichick pooh-poohed the entire episode during his Friday presser but the fact remains that Carr didn’t do anything to hurt his chances during the first two days of camp.

Besides Carr, the Hollister twins, Rivers and Deatrich and others in their first Patriots training camp will be guys to watch now that the heat gets turned up.

As Belichick said, the teaching part will continue but now the evaluations begin. He should be making his way to the podium shortly and after that Saturday’s practice will begin.

Follow me on Twitter @SteveB7SFG or email me at [email protected]

Listen to our Patriots 4th and 2 podcasts on blog talk radio as the writers Russ Goldman, Derek Havens and I from PatsFans.com discuss the latest Patriots news Wednesdays at 12 noon.


Posted Under: Patriots Commentary
Tags: 53 Man Roster Projection Austin Carr Bill Belichick Deatrich Wise Derek Rivers Kony Ealy LaGarrette Blount Mike Gillislee New England Patriots Rex Burkhead Rob Ninkovich

Comments are closed.

  • More News Headlines:

    Patriots Week 2 Report Card, Loss to Seahawks A Learning Lesson
    Patriots Week 2 Report Card, Loss to Seahawks A Learning Lesson
    By: Steve Balestrieri
     Patriots’ offense Looked Strong, Wilson Torched Defense We wrote a week ago in our keys and have spoken on a couple of different podcasts about…
    2 days ago
    MORSE: Patriots at Seahawks Game 2 Analysis
    MORSE: Patriots at Seahawks Game 2 Analysis
    By: Mark Morse
    You're pissed the Patriots lost this game.  I’m not, but disappointed? Yes, because despite getting shredded by MVP candidate Russell Wilson, they had a chance…
    2 days ago
    James White’s Father Passes Away In Car Accident, NFL Community Reacts Over Social Media
    3 days ago
    Five Thoughts on the Patriots Last-Second Loss to the Seahawks: Newton Showed Us Something
    Five Thoughts on the Patriots Last-Second Loss to the Seahawks: Newton Showed Us Something
    By: Ian Logue
    The Patriots fought hard on Sunday night and despite falling behind battled back and came up a yard short in a 35-30 loss to the…
    3 days ago
    Patriots Rally Comes Up a Yard Short in 35-30 Loss to Seattle
    Patriots Rally Comes Up a Yard Short in 35-30 Loss to Seattle
    By: Steve Balestrieri
    This time once again the shoe was on the other foot as the Patriots were the ones who came up short by a yard against…
    3 days ago
    Search For Links: - CLOSE
    For searches with multiple players
    add commas (Ex: "Bill Belichick, Devin McCourty")