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Patriots Last Two Practices, First Transactions

Mark Morse
Mark Morse on Twitter
1 month ago at 9:31 am ET
Posted Under: Patriots News

Patriots Last Two Practices, First TransactionsEric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

This is an accumulation of observations of the last two practices.  The Joint practice was especially lively and dominated by the Patriots’ Defense.

Ahead of the joint practice, these are things to watch during the joint practice with Carolina Panthers from Evan Lazar:

  1. Patriots O-line vs the Panthers front 7
  2. Patriots Wide Receivers vs the excellent Panthers cornerbacks
  3. Patriots secondary vs the top receivers (DJ Moore and Robbie Anderson )
  4. Patriots LBs vs McCaffrey
  5. Patriots Edge rushers vs Panthers Tackles Ekwonu and Moton

A follow-up to the 1st pre-season game last Thursday.  QB Bailey Zappe was exceptional.  The Giants blitzed him 17 times in the game.  Bill Belichick was a little miffed at the number of blitzes the Giants threw at him, but Zappe adjusted well and made quite a few good passes under pressure.  I didn’t like the no-huddle offense that the Giants employed in a pre-season game against backup players.  I will say thank you to the Giants for doing that and giving the Patriots an opportunity to practice against that.

8/15 Practice

Patriots practiced in shorts and shells.  This meant that the starters that didn’t play against the Giants hadn’t played in a game or practice where there was full contact in 8 days.  It will be interesting to see if they come out a little flat against Carolina in the joint practice.

Yodny Cajuste participated fully in practice and filled in for Isaiah Wynn at RT.  It appeared that he injured his knee in the Giants game but avoided a serious injury.   Wynn, Herron, Murray, Butler, Williams, Davis, and Stueber were out.  Keene was limited.  Stueber is probably going on IR.

Nelson Agholor had a good practice making two one-handed catches.

Jack Jones had 2 PBU and nearly had another on Thornton who held on for a TD.

It appears that Jon Jones is now officially a boundary corner.

8/16 Joint Practice

It’s time to find out if the Patriots’ Offense is as bad as it appeared last week or is it that the Patriots’ Defense is just that much improved.  From the Pre-season game vs the Giants, the 2nd team Defense played very well against the 1st team offense of the Giants.  In two series they held them to a Field Goal.

Now the 1st teamers will be banging heads with someone other than their teammates.

  • Herron and Wynn are on the rehab field and they are close to returning
  • Joejuan Williams will be put on IR with a shoulder injury and will be lost for the year per Ian Rappaport.
  • Butler and Murray are still out but Davis returned
  • Hunter Henry left practice and headed to Locker Room.
  • Marcus Jones had a PBU and Mills nearly had an INT of Mayfield intended for Anderson
  • DJ Moore was limited and didn’t participate in 11 on 11.
  • Visitors to camp included Tedy Bruschi, Rob Ninkovich, Nate Ebner, Patrick Chung, and former Raiders GM Mike Mayock. Chung was actually on the field helping with DB drills.  He looked like he could still play.  At yesterday’s practice former Lions assistant to Matt Patricia, Kevin Anderson attended.  Speculation is that Patricia is spread too thin with all his duties and that Anderson may be brought onboard to handle those duties that Ernie Adams performed.
  • Mac Jones and J. Smith had a miscommunication on a pass. Jones threw it long and Smith pulled up his route.  Jones was very demonstrative in his explanation of what Smith was supposed to do.
  • Tyquan Thornton made the catch of the day on a long pass down the sideline where he dived and caught it in the endzone. He beat his Baylor teammate Kalon Barnes on the play.  Barnes runs a 4.28 40.
  • No Panther can cover Agholor today.
  • Mills and Jack Jones are locking people up today.
  • Pats DBs are hosing the Panthers’ receivers (Bryant, Marcus Jones, and Jon Jones) per Tom Curran.
  • Trent Brown was 3-3 in pass-blocking drills. Cole Strange was holding his own too.
  • Panthers starting Center Bradley Bozemen left the field only to be carted off the field.
  • Justin Bethel has a “sack” forced a throwaway by Darnold
  • Stevenson has been playing the James White role. BB was very complimentary about Stevenson’s pass blocking and improved receiving skills
  • Asiasi fumbled and had a drop the other day. The Panthers were very physical, overly so.  I think this factored into the fracas.
  • Wilkerson was tackled out of bounds near the Panthers bench and a Panthers coach shoved him. He looked back and said something.  The next thing you know the whole sideline erupted as they jumped Wilkerson.  Bourne interceded in support of his teammate until the cavalry came over from the other side of the field.  Wilkerson and Bourne were thrown out as was a Panthers player.  The Panthers were trash-talking all practice and giving the Pats players an extra shove at the end of plays when there wasn’t supposed to be any tackling.
  • Jonnu Smith fumbled after being popped by a safety.
  • Anfernee Jennings blew up a screen pass followed by a Barmore sack
  • According to Ryan Spagnoli, Marcus Jones has been the best DB on the field.
  • Dugger had an INT. Marcus Jones won all three of his reps in 1-on-1s
  • Wade had an INT off a tipped ball at the LOS at the end of practice.
  • Hoyer threw a TD to Asiasi at the back of the end zone with 1 second left on the clock.
  • Jones at the end of practice: 1:30 on the clock; Complete for 20 to Montgomery; Compete to Smith for 10; complete to Montgomery for 5; Throwaway/pressure; Complete to Montgomery for 5; Spike the ball to stop the clock; INT while under pressure Bad decision intended for Smith

According to Phil Perry:

  • The 1st play was a stretch run for 4 yards for D. Harris
  • The next one was a play action off the same stretch play to the opposite side for 15 yards to a wide-open Jakobi Meyers in the middle of the field. This is what the zone blocking scheme can do.
  • Parker had two contested catches on deep passes. When interviewed after practice Parker had this to say “If the balls are in the area, it’s mine”.  We are no longer calling them 50/50 balls, it’s more like 80/20!
  • Patriots threw the ball downfield consistently, something they have not been doing
  • The defense was lights out
  • Tom Curran floated the idea that Matt Patricia is being groomed as a possible replacement for Belichick. In turn,  Joe Judge is being force-fed play-calling duties to be the eventual play caller.

Greg Bedard was on the Felger and Maz show on 98.5 Sports Hub.  This was his weekly spot on Tuesday.  Bedard was grilled by Felger on what he saw at the joint practice:

  • Good Day overall, Offense was better but still just average. Room to get better.
  • The defense was lights out … curious that two reporters would say the same thing
  • The Panthers were extra physical, and the Patriots were not taking anyone to the ground.
  • This led to the two fights. Lots of trash talking by Pathers D.

Bedard did a 3 up and 3 down as he usually does in this segment.  His assessment was over the last 6 days:

3 Up

  1. Jalen Mills – he has been playing like a #1 CB
  2. Anfernee Jennings – Gives the Patriots the other bookend opposite Judon who can hold the edge
  3. Carl Davis – when he is playing the gaps and occupying two blockers it opens up everything for the defense.

3 Down

  1. Cam McGrone – is invisible on the field and may not make the team
  2. Ronnie Perkins – are you seeing a trend here? Perkins looks like Hercules but plays like Jane.
  3. Isaiah Wynn – misses all off-season programs and shows up for camp and gets hurt, again!

Mike Giardi from NFL Network had this to say:

Dominating Defense. He counted 9 sacks/serious pressures in the 1st team vs 1st team period.  Deatrich Wise was unblockable.    He tortured rookie 1st round pick (#5 overall) Ickey Ekwonu for three sacks.

Butler and Williams to IR, Julien waived  

Tough luck for Malcolm Butler and his comeback to the NFL.  The team didn’t elaborate when they announced late on Tuesday they were putting Butler and Joejuan Williams on IR.  It was reported earlier in the day that Williams had a shoulder issue that would knock him out for the season.  Neither player was going to make the team.  The Patriots exceed the cut-down limit of 85 by waiving UDFA Punter Jake Julien.   They currently have 84 players on the roster.  Don’t be surprised if they claim someone off waivers.

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