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Patriots Camp Notes and Morse’s Morsels

Mark Morse
Mark Morse on Twitter
10 months ago at 1:59 pm ET
Posted Under: Patriots News

Patriots Camp Notes and Morse’s MorselsEric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

I am highlighting some of the camp highlights of the last 4 practices.

Camp Notes

7/28 Thursday Practice

No pads

  • Defense gets the last laugh. They made 10 straight stops in the Red Zone.  Mac Jones redeemed himself with a TD throw on the final play.
  • Joshua Bledsoe had back-to-back excellent practices with 5 Pass Breakups (PBUs).
  • Parker had a very nice back shoulder catch for a TD. On the play, the LB blitzed to put pressure on Jones.
  • Stevenson is down 7lbs from last season.
  • DBs played with mitts on to prevent holding.
  • Patriots signed former Jaguar WR Josh Hammond for camp help. That brings the roster to 84.
  • Joe Judge is calling plays today

7/29 Friday Practice

  • Tyquan Thornton was working as a gunner on special teams. This is a positive use of his speed.  If he can contribute to special teams that will be a bonus for him.  Saw that Agholor was working as a Kick Off return man.
  • Jonnu Smith with 2 TDs in the Red Zone over Kyle Dugger. Dugger was in a good position in coverage, but the ball was thrown a little behind Smith cutting across the back line of the endzone, made the adjustment and made a great catch, then two tapped to get the TD.  The Jones pass was to where Smith could get it and nobody else.  Not so down on Dugger as others have written.
  • Mac Jones has been tearing it up in the Red Zone.
  • Practice finished with a Punt Return Challenge. Marcus Jones represented the Defense and Tre Nixon the Offense.  The trick was the PR man had to catch the ball while holding another ball.  After each round, another ball was added.  This went 4 rounds with both players being perfect, a tie.  Well BB was not having that, now it was up to the lineman.  Cole Strange stepped in for the Offense and DeMarcus Mitchell for the Defense.  No contest as the athletic Cole made the catch and Mitchell didn’t.  No wager like not having to do sprints at the end of practice, just bragging rights.  A fun way to end the practice.  The players really enjoyed it as the whooping and hollering showed.
  • No Hoyer today so Bailey Zappe got extra reps. Two INTs and one nice TD, dropping a dime right in there.
  • Marcus Jones and Shaun Wade played in the slot.
  • Terrance Mitchell has been really good. Mills had an INT when Jakobi Jones ran the wrong route.
  • In the dime package (6 DBs) Mack Wilson has been the only true LB. Need to watch this as the pre-season progresses.
  • Brenden Schooler was working on the side with Matthew Slater and Cody Davis on Special Teams techniques
  • Deatrich Wise was out again
  • Bledsoe filled in for Devin McCourty who was given a veteran maintenance day. Bledsoe also saw some snaps as a slot corner the worked with the 1st team Punt coverage team.
  • Pierre Strong practice for the 1st time as did David Andrews and Jake Bailey.
  • Mills, Bethel, and Phillips had INTs today. Secondary competition is really heating up.
  • According to Miguel Benzan (Patscap), the Godchaux extension freed up about $2M in cap space. The new number Miguel is projecting is $2.9M in remaining space.  He stated that the team still needs another $10M to operate during the season.
  • I need to watch Jakobi Meyers progress this pre-season. He might be the better target to trade since Agholor makes $9M this year and that might be too much for another team to take on.

7/30 Practice

This will be the final league-mandated no-pads practice.

  • Joshuah Beldsoe, yes that is the correct spelling! We have been spelling his name incorrectly all along.  If you can string together 4 practices as Bledsoe has, you can be called anything you want!  Bledsoe has been the surprise of camp so far.  With Jabrill Peppers not able to practice yet, Bledsoe has taken the full opportunity.  He has at least 5 Pass Breakups (PBU).  He has also shown position flexibility, playing Free Safety for McCourty, Slot Corner, and Strong Safety covering TEs.  He has also worked on the Punt Coverage team.  He has done a lot of film work and watched videos of Patrick Chung.  He impressed the coaches last year while he was out with his work ethic and film study.
  • Kyle Dugger got his revenge by picking off Mac Jones on the last play of the day. It would have been a pick-six.
  • Mac Jones didn’t stick around after practice as he usually does to get some extra work. He seemed really ticked off by that pick-six.
  • Lots of pressure by the defense with Cameron McGrone and Christian Barmore putting on the pressure that would have been sacked.
  • Linebackers Anfernee Jenning, Cam McGrone, and Mack Wilson have played well in pass coverage
  • Evan Lazar pointed out that LaBryan Ray and Sam Roberts are the ones to watch next week when the pads come on.
  • Mitchell has 2 PBU’s against Bourne and Thornton
  • Jalen Mills and Joejuan Williams also had PBUs
  • Mike Reiss called the secondary coverage sticky today. It has been pretty good overall.  Several of the TD throws by Jones were balls either his receiver is getting or nobody is getting a hand on it.  I am very curious how they will show against other NFL teams (Pre Season games or joint practices).
  • Things should pick up on Monday when the pads come on. Running game work should dominate those practices.  I can’t wait to hear the reports on the one-on-one battles between O-line and D-line.
  • It was an Overflow crowd for the 1st-weekend practice. So much so the team opened the walkways in the stadium up for the overflow crowd.

8/1 Practice   

  • Brian Hoyer was not in attendance again on Monday. This has given Bailey Zappe a lot more reps than he would have ordinarily have gotten.
  • Jonathan Jones, Jabrill Peppers, and Myles Bryant were all cleared to practice. The competition in the secondary has been fierce so far in camp and these players were falling behind.
  • Jonathan Jones made his presence felt with PBU of Tre Nixon.
  • Tyquan Thornton made the play of the day on a deep pass that he sold out for with a diving catch. This was a 50-yard bomb that Joejuan Williams bumped Thornton off his stride, but Thornton recovered and showed the speed to catch up to the ball.
  • Kendrick Bourne had two wins against Mills
  • Parker with a 40-yard reception over the top of Butler. Parker has been terrific on the 50/50 balls, coming down with most of them.
  • JuWhaun Bentley had a thunderous hit on Rhamondre Stevenson, knocking the second-year player’s helmet off.
  • Mac Jones was dropping dimes on long passes all day. Emphasized long passes today.
  • Mitchell had an interception on Mac Jones early in practice. Jones never saw him.
  • Bourne, Parker Thornton, and Montgomery have all looked good.
  • There were 31 reps in the one-on-one in-the-line competition. This was the 1st padded practice and it appeared the Defense had the upper hand.
  • Cole Strange had a rather rude introduction to the NFL going up against Christian Barmore. His initial set was fine, but he lost the hand fighting and Barmore drove him into the backfield.
  • Next, he went up against veteran Henry Anderson and it was a similar result. Bill Belichick pulled Strange aside and gave him some individual coaching.  Welcome to the NFL rookie.
  • Drew Desjarlais got beat on a rep but came back to look good on 2 others.
  • Butler knocks away a 5 yard fade in the red zone covering Parker.
  • Zappe had a nice 40-yard bomb to Devin Asiasi
  • Thornton has been practicing with the 1st
  • Wynn played LT today
  • Jonathan Jones looked a little rusty
  • Assistant WR coach Ross Douglas had this to say about Tyquan Thornton “He has good change of direction and terrific ball skills”.
  • DTs LaBryan Ray and Dan Ekuale were in the backfield on a couple of reps each.
  • Sam Roberts looks like a physically interesting prospect
  • The running game offense was a complete disaster with the 10 scripted plays to start. They went nowhere and the defense dominated.
  • Shaun Wade has looked good as the slot corner and got valuable reps as the #1 slot corner with Jonathan Jone’s absence.

Morse’s Morsels

Patriots sign S Brad Hawkins

UDFA Brad Hawkins, a Safety from Michigan was signed after a tryout today.  Hawkins was cut by Atlanta a month ago.   A bigger safety at 6’1” 207 lbs., he ran a 4.57 40 and a 7.10 3-cone drill.   He had 60 tackles last year for the Wolverines, but no interceptions for his entire career. Hawkins brings the total to 85 players.

Guardian Head Gear

Have you noticed in any of the videos coming from camp that the lineman and TEs are wearing a strange contraption on their helmets?  That something is called a Guardian cap, a padded shell that is placed on top of a helmet. It is the NFL’s latest initiative to try to protect players’ heads.

All offensive linemen, defensive linemen, linebackers, and tight ends are required to wear them through their teams’ second preseason games.

“That padding is intended to reduce the severity of impact by reducing the forces and motions that eventually make it through the head,” said Dr. Jeff Crandall, chair of the NFL’s engineering committee and an expert on injury prevention, in the video.

“Wearing the Guardian cap is ultimately going to keep you safer,” he said.

Crandall said the league is “optimistic” it will see similar results on the field as it did during laboratory studies in terms of the cap’s effectiveness.

Bailey Extension

Jake Bailey was given a 4-year extension worth $13.5M, with $6.5M fully guaranteed.   According to Mike Reiss this will give the Patriots another $1.85M in cap space this year.  There still have to be more moves to get another $8M in savings to have enough operating capital for the season.

Posted Under: Patriots News

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