Football is back, and with near-perfect weather conditions, the Patriots hit the field for the first time. The crowds were huge and boisterous, cheering everything that was completed by Tom Brady.
Like minicamp, however, there were no pads and no contact, as per the CBA, that won’t happen until Saturday. OC David Andrews, DE Michael Bennett, OT Yodny Cajuste (NFI) were not spotted on the field
Six other players were in attendance but did not participate: WR Julian Edelman (NFI), WR Demaryius Thomas (PUP), RB Sony Michel (PUP), OT Cole Croston (PUP), DE Deatrich Wise Jr. (PUP), CB Ken Webster (PUP), SS Nate Ebner (PUP).
They were all visible, working out on the lower practice fields with the training staff, shortly after practice began.
Pat Chung was practicing but wearing a red no-contact jersey while Danny Etling was wearing a white practice jersey, not a red no-contact jersey that we are used to seeing with the QBs. For anyone keeping score, he didn’t practice with the QBs, but with the WRs.
Our practice observations included:
Brandon Bolden was getting first reps with the kickoff return unit and… once the team began kicking off for real and not using the JUGGS Machine, it was Jake Bailey kicking off. Braxton Berrios, Phillip Dorsett, and Gunner Olszewski were back to return kicks during special teams’ work.
Isaiah Wynn was being eased into full-team drills, despite it being a glorified minicamp session, seeing him out there is a very positive sign.
Joe Thuney was getting a lot of reps at LT. Ted Karras was filling in at LG while James Ferentz was taking the snaps at center.
In early individual drills, Tom Brady was throwing to the backs while Brian Hoyer threw to the WRs.
N’Keal Harry and Braxton Berrios both got extended reps with the top unit
Harry and Ben Watson were the players selected for a side session with Brady, Hoyer, and OC Josh McDaniels. Harry was working with McDaniels on getting a quick release off the line.
Harry and Brady were working on their timing and chemistry, adjusting his breaks and high-pointing the ball at its apex. They already look better than in the spring, but this is very early in the process
Brady’s first pass in 2-on-2 drills was picked off on a really nice play by Jonathan Jones. Brady tried to hit Berrios on a fade and Jones undercut it and made a nice play on the ball.
Brady could be heard yelling, “Get the refs out here!” when he felt Pat Chung was holding Berrios later in the drills.
Ryan Davis made a really nice catch on a fade from Brian Hoyer, going up for the ball and going to the ground, but held on.
Berrios went all out for a quick out pass from Brady, diving for the ball, which got a fist-bump from the QB when they got back to the huddle.
J.C. Jackson nearly had a pick on Brady as well. He tried to hit Maurice Harris on a shallow cross and Jackson dove, breaking it up and nearly picking it off.
Stephen Anderson made a nice catch, snatching the ball out of the air from Jarrett Stidham.
Stidham looked like a rookie QB for much of the session, taking too long to process things and holding the ball too long. That is expected for a rookie’s first real practice. But he throws a nice ball and has time to develop.
In very early going, Jonathan Jones was looking better than Duke Dawson in the slot. Jackson was the best corner not name Stephon Gilmore (not targeted during team drills).
As is common at this stage the defense looked a bit better. The linebackers look deep and versatile. Even Brady was forced to hold the ball longer than normal. That is a testament to how deep and talented this secondary is
As a result, Brady hit Rex Burkhead more than anyone in full team drills.
Play of the Day:
Harry made a leaping catch from Brady in the back of the end zone. The crowd roared. Speaking of which, the crowd was so loud at one point, Brady had to cover his ears to hear Josh McDaniels call in the play. Jerod Mayo was making the defensive calls in 11s work…if anyone is keeping the score at home.
Two undrafted WRs to keep an eye on are Jakobi Meyers and Gunner Olszewski. Both made several plays this morning whenever their numbers were called.
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 SpecialOperations.com, 1945.com 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)