Postcard from Camp: Brady gets raucous welcome from fans
Postcard from Camp
FOXBORO -- The Patriots took the field for their first training camp practice on Thursday morning. Players, and Tom Brady in particular, were met by an energized crowd of more than 10,000 fans. When Brady took the field, he was given a standing ovation and the crowd chanted "Brady! Brady!" for the first of many times during the session.
Here are the rest of the details from Day 2 of camp, which began on Wednesday with veterans reporting to Gillette Stadium.
Temperatures approached 90 degrees and sun blanketed the field for the majority of the session that lasted from 9:15 a.m. until 11:45 a.m.
Toward the end of the practice, clouds rolled in and gusts of wind picked up, but things stayed dry.
WHAT THEY WORE
As was the case during OTAs and minicamp, players wore helmets, shorts and t-shirts with no numbers.
Quarterbacks were the only ones who spent the day in shoulder pads. They also wore red no-contact jerseys.
Once the practice was adjourned, some players donned pads as they did extra work.
WHO WAS THERE
A handful of Patriots who dealt with offseason injuries were participants in Thursday's work. Jerod Mayo, Dont'a Hightower, Chandler Jones and Sealver Siliga -- all of whom missed OTAs and minicamp as they rehabbed -- were present and account for. Sebastian Vollmer also practiced, but he, as well as Hightower and Jones, appeared to be limited.
Patriots chairman and CEO Robert Kraft was also present during the session, stopping by a fan area to chat and sign autographs. Once the crowd realized he was in attendance, he was given a loud ovation. At one point, in between periods, Kraft and Brady spoke for a few minutes.
WHO WASN'T THERE
The Patriots opened training camp with eight players on the physically unable to perform list and four on the non-football injury list.
Several of those players were in attendance but did not participate in practice, including LeGarrette Blount, Alan Branch, Dominique Easley, Dane Fletcher, Matthew Slater, Vince Taylor, Ryan Wendell and Matt Flynn. Brandon LaFell, Chris White and Chris Jones, all on PUP, did not appear to be present.
WHAT THEY DID
After the warmup period and positional drills, the offensive and defensive units split up and worked on red zone situations. Corners, watched closely by position coach Josh Boyer and Bill Belichick's son Brian, honed in on checking receivers near the goal line.
Receivers caught passes from Jonathan Kraft's son Harry, also near the goal line.
During a special teams period, where the focus was kickoff and kick returns, Brady worked in a side session with Rob Gronkowski, Scott Chandler, Julian Edelman and Aaron Dobson.
In another period, Jimmy Garoppolo stood alongside coaching assistant Jerry Schuplinski as the two talked about plays and mentally went through them with director of player personnel Nick Caserio and others serving as defensive backs.
Eventually, after some ball-security work, the two units began working together in 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 periods. The team focused its work on the red-zone. It also spent time on hurry-up situations.
* Brady did not appear to be affected by anything happening off the field. He completed 27 of 30 pass attempts, including all eight of his attempts in the hurry-up period and all nine of his attempts in the 7-on-7 session. His one-handed grab on a pass from Edelman also drew a huge roar from the crowd.
* Gronkowski put together a handful of highlight-reel catches, including one from Garoppolo in the back of the end zone with safety Tavon Wilson in good position.
* Rookie safety Jordan Richards picked off one of Garoppolo's first throws of the day. The second-round pick is one of the first-year players who will draw plenty of attention in camp, and he started things off by capitalizing when given the opportunity to make a play.
* Despite Garoppolo's interception -- after which he had an extended conversation with Belichick -- he was extremely accurate for the remainder of the morning, going 27-for-35.
* Rookie offensive lineman Tre' Jackson had to run a lap at one point, though it was unclear as to why.
* One of Brady's three incompletions appeared to be a drop by tight end Michael Hoomanawanui.
WHAT WE SAW
* Early in the practice, a plane flew overhead and circled the practice fields dragging a banner that said "CHEATERS LOOK UP." The banner appeared to be paid for by something called Jets Fan Media.
* Jackson and fellow rookie offensive lineman Shaq Mason saw plenty of snaps alongside second-year center Bryan Stork. Also working in that group was Nate Solder at left tackle and Marcus Cannon and Vollmer at right tackle. With Wendell out of action, both players should have plenty of opportunities to take snaps next to some of their most experienced teammates.
* During special teams periods focused on kickoff and kick return, Danny Amendola, Travaris Cadet and Josh Boyce served as the team's returners.
* Aaron Dobson looked smooth during a touchdown grab in 7-on-7 work.
With LaFell out, the 2013 second-round pick could see a good number of reps with Brady between team periods and side sessions.
* Undrafted rookie wideout Zach D'Orazio, who has already been released and re-signed once this offseason, made a pair of nice catches in 7-on-7 early in the day's work.
WHAT THEY SAID
"I am looking forward to it, got to put the work in first, you got to earn your spot and earn the coaches’ trust and your teammates’ trust, so that’s what I got to do to get to that point." -- Malcolm Butler on his opportunity to take on a bigger role in his second season.