Postcard from camp, Day 12: Edelman returns for rainy walkthrough


Postcard from camp, Day 12: Edelman returns for rainy walkthrough

FOXBORO -- The second joint practice between the Patriots and Saints was held on the outdoor fields behind Gillette Stadium despite rainy conditions Wednesday. Players wore shorts and shells, and the entirety of the session was played at a walkthrough pace. Here's what we saw...

* Patriots receiver Julian Edelman was back on the field, as was left tackle Nate Solder. The Patriots used LaAdrian Waddle at left tackle on Tuesday in Solder's absence. Solder appeared healthy and was participating fully during the walkthrough. 

* The Patriots continue to have four players on the physically unable to perform list: Sebastian Vollmer, Tre' Jackson, Dion Lewis and Danny Amendola. The lone player from that group who was spotted at Wednesday's session was Amendola. 

* DJ Foster, Keshawn Martin and Donald Brown all headed to the lower field for conditioning soon after practice began as they continue to work their way back from injuries.

* Logan Ryan, Chris Hogan and Jonathan Freeny -- as well as all quarterbacks -- wore red non-contact jerseys.

* Aaron Dobson and DeAndre Carter stood out as two of the Patriots receivers that appeared to have little issue make their breaks on the wet turf. Malcolm Mitchell and Martellus Bennett were among those on both clubs who had drops in the steady rain.

* During some down time, Tom Brady could be seen having long conversations with a pair of offensive assistants: tight ends coach Brian Daboll and offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia. 

* Alan Branch brought some levity to the practice by dancing onto the field before getting reps on a couple of different occasions.

* The Patriots had a decent crowd on hand despite the weather conditions. Though the practice was held at less than full speed, they cheered loudly at certain points. One Tom Brady Hail Mary completion to Bennett in the end zone drew considerable applause.

* Both the Patriots and the Saints worked on onside kicks and onside recoveries during the special teams portions of practice. There were also periods spent on end-of-game situations where the defensive team on the field would play what might be considered a "prevent" look to guard against a touchdown. In those periods, the offenses looked to make a completion before giving way to field-goal units.

* During one of the end-of-game periods, Saints defensive back Ken Crawley intercepted a Jimmy Garoppolo pass and was promptly reprimanded by his teammates. In those half-speed periods, turnovers aren't typically encouraged.

* At the end of the practice, Patriots rookie quarterback Jacoby Brissett got a chance to work with some of the reserve offensive linemen and skill position players in 11-on-11 reps.

* After the session, Garoppolo, Mitchell, Drew Brees, Rob Gronkowski, Trey Flowers and Shea McClellin were among the players after practice that drew big media crowds. 

* Before players departed the field, they heard from former Rutgers football player Eric LeGrand and Jami Goldman Marseilles, a double-amputee runner. Boston Marathon bombing survivor Celeste Corcoran also spoke, per ESPN Boston's Mike Reiss

Reports: Patriots among NFL teams taking a look at Manziel

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Reports: Patriots among NFL teams taking a look at Manziel

Johnny Manziel said 10 days ago, "I'd go to New England in a heartbeat," when asked about the Patriots as a potential landing spot.

That seemed like wishful thinking at the time, but they're taking a look at him...along with 12 other NFL teams, according to ESPN's Eric Williams. 

Tom Brady's current backup Brian Hoyer is, like Manziel, an ex-Cleveland Browns quarterback. Manziel would again be competing with Hoyer for the Pats' No. 2 job should New England take a chance on "Johnny Football", the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner from Texas A&M, who's been out of football the past two years because of substance abuse and emotional problems.

FOX Sports' Bruce Feldman had it at 12 teams watching Manziel work out at the University of San Diego and said the Patriots gave Manziel a weigh-in.


Patriots re-sign offensive tackle LaAdrian Waddle

Patriots re-sign offensive tackle LaAdrian Waddle

The Patriots have agreed to re-sign offensive lineman LaAdrian Waddle, his agent Scott Casterline confirmed on Twitter.  Waddle hit unrestricted free agency when the new league year began and made a visit to the Cowboys earlier this week. In the end, though, he chose to return to the team that claimed him off of waivers at the end of the 2015 season.

Waddle, who turns 27 in July, appeared in 12 games last season for the Patriots. He was the first right tackle the Patriots turned to when Marcus Cannon suffered an ankle injury mid-season against the Chargers. He ended up playing 51 snaps against the likes of Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram without allowing a sack. He then started the next three games against the Broncos, Raiders and Dolphins and held star rushers Von Miller, Khalil Mack and Cameron Wake -- all of whom rush primarily off of the offensive right -- without a sack. 

Injuries forced Waddle (380 snaps on the season) to split the right tackle position with Cameron Fleming (543 snaps), but he was the primary backup when healthy. Waddle started the Divisional Round playoff game against the Titans but suffered a knee injury and was removed for Fleming. 

Both Fleming and Waddle visited the Cowboys this week, and the fact that Waddle has re-signed with the Patriots may impact Fleming's decision moving forward. 

The Patriots went to great lengths to build tackle depth last season, and adding Waddle to the roster helps them retain some of that depth after losing their left tackle, Nate Solder, to the Giants via free agency. Waddle could be an option on the left side, but the vast majority of his work since entering the league as an undrafted rookie in 2013 has been on the right side. 

The Patriots now have Fleming, Marcus Cannon, Cole Croston, Tony Garcia and Andrew Jelks on their depth chart at tackle. Croston, Garcia and Jelks are all headed into their second years as pros. Croston remained on the 53-man roster all season -- an indication that the Patriots liked him enough not to expose him to the waiver system -- but did not see meaningful snaps. Garcia and Jelks both missed the entirety of the 2017 season on reserve lists. 

Once the Patriots lost Solder to the Giants, it seemed to be of paramount importance that the Patriots re-sign either Waddle or Fleming. Behind Cannon, there were simply too many question marks not to have one return. The Patriots could opt to draft a tackle, but this is considered an average year at that position in that there are few ready-made NFL players and several developmental types.

Before the Super Bowl last season, I asked offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia how the team was able to manage offensively with backups at right tackle for much of the season. 

"It's not like [Fleming and Waddle are] not good players," Scarnecchia said. "They are good players. Their skill set seemed to fit that position pretty well. They have the traits that we covet. And they're both really smart guys, very willing learners, and they're both driven to be good and they want to play good. And I think all those things have manifested themselves when they've been out there playing. And we've been very, very pleased with what they've done for us this year, essentially splitting that position."

Asked about the aspects of the game the Patriots worked on with both Waddle and Fleming last year, Scarnecchia said, "For us it transcends everything. Obviously run-blocking and pass-blocking. They're both good at those things. Are they great at those things? No. But they've been able to steadily improve over the last two years to the point where we put them out there and no one's worried. And it's been that way the whole season after Marcus got hurt. Yeah they've done a nice job for us."