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Patriots Joint Training Camp Practice With Jax, Observations

Steve Balestrieri
Steve Balestrieri on Twitter
4 years ago at 9:04 pm ET

Patriots Joint Training Camp Practice With Jax, Observations

Brandin Cooks Steals the Show …Again

The Patriots wrapped up their tenth practice of the 2017 training camp and their eighth practice in a row in full pads. The team welcomed Jacksonville to the practice fields at Gillette for the first joint practice of the season. The teams will practice again tomorrow, will conduct a walk-thru on Wednesday which will not be open to the public and then play their first preseason game of the year on Thursday.

The Patriots first team offense looked a bit sluggish and sloppy at times today, with as many drops in one session as they’ve seemed to have had in the previous week. But as Dick Enberg used to say…Oh, My. Brandin Cooks put on another display today. We’ve been preaching to the choir since they acquired him that in this Patriots offense, he’s going to be fun to watch. Well, today he and Tom Brady put on a display that was at times scary good. Cooks even had a couple of so-so moments. But it doesn’t take away from his great day at all.

Brandin Cooks was sensational on Monday against Jacksonville. (SBalestrieri photo)

First the bad…he dropped what would have been a 50-yard+ completion from Brady that was right on the money while he had a step and a half on his defender. Then he and Brady had a miscommunication on one route where Brady was expecting him to run a comeback, Cooks ran a fly pattern up the right sideline. Brady’s pass was easily picked off. It was one of those plays that they’ll figure out.

But the good far outweighed the bad. Even when the Jaguars tried to rotate a safety deep on Cooks, there were times he still just blew past the coverage. He and Brady hooked up on a beautiful 65-yard bomb. Cooks ran a deep post and was easily past the safety and Brady uncorked a gorgeous arcing ball right on target. They also hooked up a pretty fade for a 20-yard touchdown. But for his best….see below.

Brady and Chris Hogan had a real nice connection on a 35-yard touchdown toss. Hogan ran a fly down the left side line and Brady dropped a perfectly thrown pass right into the bucket for six. Where are these “look at me” dolts who are writing these lack of arm strength pieces on Brady today?

Chris Hogan makes a great catch in tight coverage on a perfectly thrown bomb by Brady. (SBalestrieri photo)

I thought the Patriots defensive front seven was really impressive in the early going. Rookie Deatrich Wise had some nice plays setting the edge in the running game and putting some pressure on Blake Bortles. David Harris, taking part in his first joint practice of his career was his usual solid self in run support.

In 11-on-11, it was hard to get a good take on the Patriots secondary. Why? It seemed like Blake Bortles was gun-shy about throwing on it. He seemed to be checking down on nearly every throw. Was that a result of great coverage or just that Bortles has struggled all thru camp and was trying to minimize the damage today and build off of a pedestrian session. Time will tell.

Gronk wasn’t a factor today. He made one nice catch but had two drops and in short yardage, they were going with Dwayne Allen and later some Matt Lengel. Probably just trying to limit his workload so early in the process.

No Shows: Alan Branch, Dont’a Hightower (PUP) and Andrew Jelks (NFI) didn’t practice but were in sweats on the sidelines. Matthew Slater was not seen again. Mike Gillislee, Danny Amendola, and David Jones worked with the training staff of the lower fields.

David Harris lines up Leonard Fournette in the running game. (SBalestrieri photo)

Quick Hitters:

  • Julian Edelman is so quick with his footwork, he was toasting everyone that went against him. He had a strong day where he wasn’t the primary target.
  • He and Brady had a rare miscommunication breakdown early in 11s and missed their connection.
  • Marqise Lee got the better of Malcolm Butler on a pair of passes during 1-on-1 drills. The two went at it hard but cleanly. Lee looked impressive at times. One must wonder how he’d do in another offense.
  • Kenny Moore (I feel like I’m saying this every day) had a nice pass breakup during the drills.
  • Butler got a pick on a very ugly pass from Bortles intended for Allen Robinson. Bortles telegraphed it with his eyes and Butler read it and jump the route for the interception.
  • Both defenses played well in goal line situations. The Patriots had a couple of good stuffs as did the Jaguars. Rex Burkhead did score on a goal line carry but it was due to a really nice second effort.
  • With Gillislee on the lower fields, Brandon Bolden got a lot of work and the big man had a pretty solid day.
  • Cam Fleming had a rough session. No matter who Jax lined up over on the right side, they were giving Fleming, taking snaps at LT fits.
  • Jimmy G. had a so-so day but seemed to be the victim of quite a few drops.
  • Harvey Langi was getting a lot of different looks playing with his hand in the dirt and standing up as a linebacker. It seems like the team really likes him and are throwing a lot on his plate to let him show what he can do.
  • More good news on the Cyrus Jones front. The second year player took a lot more kickoffs today and fielded them all cleanly.
  • Not-so-good news on STs, Stephen Gostkowski missed a 50-yard FG attempt, but the Jags were offside, but then he missed the 45-yarder next.
  • During “opportunity time” at the end of practice with mainly the third stringers, Jacoby Brissett struggled. He’s holding the ball too long and his passes were off the mark. He also threw another ugly interception.

Play of the Day: Brandin Cooks (who else?) had the best play of the session. The Jaguars had pressure on Brady in the pocket, and as it was collapsing around him he fired a pass to the rear of the end zone.

Cooks ran free along the back of the end zone and with a tremendous leap, was able to corral the pass by palming the ball like a basketball. With the Celtics Isaiah Thomas in attendance today, that was a fitting exclamation point on his day.

Patriots fan Mike Clark (@mclark8185) caught the catch in the best video shot of the day:

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 discuss the latest Patriots news Wednesdays at 12 noon.

Posted Under: 2017 Patriots Training Camp

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