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Patriots Training Camp Practice #3 Quick Observations

Steve Balestrieri
Steve Balestrieri on Twitter
July 29, 2017 at 1:02 pm ET

Patriots Training Camp Practice #3 Quick Observations(PHOTO: Bob DeChiara - USA TODAY Sports)

🕑 Read Time: 4 minutes

Is Brandin Cooks Fast? You betcha

The Patriots wrapped up their third practice of the 2017 training camp just about 11:30 on Saturday morning. It was their first padded practice of the summer and the team got down to positional drills, one-on-ones, and some special team’s work.

Brandin Cooks had another eye-popping performance on Saturday. His speed was once again on display as he is able to get separation from the defensive backs and is going to be a very tough man to account for in this offense. He’s been the steal of the spring for the Pats 32nd pick in the 1st round of the draft. More of this below.

  • Quick Hitters:
    As soon as practice began, Danny Amendola, Malcolm Mitchell, and David Jones retreated to the lower practice fields with members of the Patriots training staff.
  • Interesting to note the QBs were doing some different footwork and pocket movement drills today. From the confines of the pocket, the coaches had cones set up and the QBs had to do their backpedal, then move forward thru the cones while a coach with a big padded arm extension hit them trying to jar the ball loose.
  • The cornerbacks practiced with the wide receivers in a drill where they tried to jam the receivers coming off of the line but while wearing big mitts. It makes it much tougher to jam when they can’t grab ahold of a jersey. It is a great drill because it makes things tougher…obviously for the DBs and will cut down on penalties.
  • David Harris had some impressive plays as the Mike linebacker. He had a few audible pops that could be heard up in the press tent. He’s moving very well so far and coupled with his veteran savvy, looks like a steal …so far.
  • Both Mike Gillislee and Rex Burkhead had a couple of nice runs during goal line drills. That’s what we were looking for today…Good start for the duo.

Scary Moment for Harmon: Safety Duron Harmon had a really scary moment during the 11-on-11 drills. Brady attempted to hit Chris Hogan on a crossing route in the back of the end zone. Harmon made a great move on the ball and broke up the play. However, he landed awkwardly on his leg and stayed down. He was helped off the field by the training staff and was limping noticeably.

He stayed on the field, however, and although he still walking gingerly after practice the fact that he stayed is an encouraging sign. This will bear watching.

Wise Has Impressive Day: Rookie defensive end Deatrich Wise had a pretty impressive morning session. The big defensive end looked like a veteran out there at times and despite an odd gait when walking, displayed some nice explosion off the line in both 1-on-1s and in full team drills.

During the individual drills he beat Cameron Fleming with a quick inside penetration move and rocking the veteran back on his heels. He was stonewalled by Joe Thuney while trying to bull rush his way past in another rep. But he recovered and used an outside-inside move on James Ferentz to beat him cleanly. That’s a nice repertoire for the rookie to showcase this early. He was juked hard by Rex Burkhead in a tackling drill in a kind of welcome to the NFL moment.

During the full team drills, however, Wise jumped inside of Fleming again and would have had a clean sack of Jimmy Garoppolo. Jimmy G. dumped the ball off to James White. At the end of practice, during the opportunity time with the backups, Wise again shot a gap and stuffed D.J. Foster for a loss. He has a long way to go but is showing a lot of potential in the early going.

Brady in Midseason Form: Tom Brady was sharp again on Saturday morning. From moving well in the pocket during drills to being quick and accurate with his throws. He threw a laser to Chris Hogan on a deep crossing pattern down the seam over the safety.

He hit Edelman on a deep post on nearly the same play call, which elicited huge cheers from the crowd.

Brady also spread the field and recognizing single coverage on Rob Gronkowski split wide, Brady hit the big man on a crossing route with Jordan Richards in a mismatch. Later they tried the same thing on a skinny post with Richards breaking up the play but who would have certainly been flagged for interference.

Play of the Day: Jimmy G. and Cooks hooked up on a play that brought the huge crowd to their feet. Cooks went in motion and took off down the slot on a deep post pattern. The defense was in a Deep Cover 2 with Duron Harmon and Nate Ebner in coverage. Cooks blew by both of the safeties and waited for what seemed like forever for the ball to come down for what would have been a 30-yard touchdown.

Play of the Day 2: During a goal line sequence, Rex Burkhead who had a couple of nice touchdown runs earlier, ran off-tackle to the left behind Nate Solder and Joe Thuney. Rookie linebacker Harvey Langi recognized it and flew thru the gap to nail Burkhead behind the line of scrimmage. It was a real instinctive, downhill play.

Big Men Get Into the Act: Near the end of practice, the Patriots put some of the big bodies back to catch punts off the Juggs machine. OL Jason King, DL Darius Kilgo, DL Woodrow Hamilton and DL Adam Butler all took turns catching…or trying to catch punts.

Kilgo showed some remarkable footwork and agility for a 320-pounder. He fielded his all cleanly….However, King looked a bit like a fish out of water and probably won’t be asked to be on the hands team.

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About Steve Balestrieri

A former US Army Special Forces NCO and Officer, Steve has been following the Patriots since their days at Fenway Park. Steve has worked in the film industry and wrote as an Military Editor at, as a reporter for the Millbury Daily Voice, Millbury-Sutton Chronicle, and the Grafton News. He's also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA)

Tags: 53 Man Roster Projection Bill Belichick Brandin Cooks Chris Hogan Danny Amendola Deatrich Wise Dion Lewis Jimmy Garoppolo Julian Edelman Mike Gillislee Rex Burkhead Tom Brady

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