Postcard from Camp: Brady, Gronkowski get a rest
POSTCARD FROM CAMP
FOXBORO -- The Patriots took the field for their sixth training camp practice of the summer on Wednesday night. The practice was a ticketed event held inside Gillette Stadium for season-ticket holders. Things got started at 7 p.m.
Near-perfect weather for the workout. Partly-cloudy skies with temperatures hovering around 80 degrees.
WHAT THEY WORE
The Patriots practiced in full pads for three consecutive sessions, but the contact was dialed back on Wednesday. Players wore helmets, light shoulder pads (shells) and shorts. Quarterbacks Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo and linebacker Dont'a Hightower all wore red non-contact jerseys.
Julian Edelman was not present for the session. He took part in the team's warmup on Tuesday and then left in the direction of the Dana-Farber Field House soon after the practice began. On Wednesday, he was not seen from the start. Edelman appeared to tweak his ankle during Sunday's practice.
Brian Tyms (injured and carted off the field Tuesday), Marcus Cannon, Joe Vellano, Darius Fleming and Dion Lewis were not seen at practice. Tyler Gaffney was missing for the third consecutive session. Brandon LaFell was not spotted. Two other players on the physically unable to perform list, like LaFell -- Matthew Slater, Ryan Wendell -- were seen but did not participate. Two players on the non-football injury list -- Alan Branch and Matt Flynn -- did not participate.
WHAT THEY DID
Some light special teams drills -- with Danny Amendola, James White and undrafted rookie Chris Harper catching punts -- were followed by a dynamic warmup and stretching periods. Players later broke off into groups to work on some position-specific drills: Defensive linemen worked on shedding blocks; tight ends concentrated on catching passes with pads waved in the football's flight path; defensive backs worked on tracking footballs and high-pointing them; offensive linemen worked on double-team blocks and how to execute at the second level; quarterbacks and running backs honed their exchanges from the shotgun and from under center.
A special teams period, focused on kickoff, followed with James White and Josh Boyce returning kicks. Chris Harper and Jonathan Krause also returned kicks. The offense and defense then squared off in a brief 11-on-11 period.
After a second special-teams period, the offense and defense squared off again to work on third-and-long scenarios.
WHAT WE SAW
* Tom Brady, Rob Gronknowski, Scott Chandler and Danny Amendola were among those who did not get many reps on Wednesday. You can see below, it was a heavy day for Jimmy Garoppolo.
* In the first 11-on-11 period, the offense spread things out, working out of the shotgun early. Garoppolo made a nice completion to Josh Boyce when he felt pressure, saw that there was no deep safety, and floated a pass to Boyce with Daxton Swanson trailing in coverage. On Brady's only snap of that period, Brandon Bolden showed good concentration by reeling in a long pass despite Jamie Collins being in good position.
* During special teams work, the team appeared to work on kicking/returning squib kicks as well as free kicks. Offensive lineman Josh Kline and rookie defensive lineman Trey Flowers got some reps as the wedge players leading the way for returners. Danny Amendola and Travaris Cadet appeared to be the two returners used most often.
* Some offensive line notes: Josh Kline, who has played primarily guard over the last two seasons, got some work at center during 11-on-11 sessions; undrafted center David Andrews took some work at guard; during field-goal repetitions, center Bryan Stork got reps as an interior lineman; Tre' Jackson and Shaq Mason continued to get the bulk of the reps at the right and left guard spots; and Cameron Fleming got plenty of reps at right tackle with Cannon out.
* During a period that focused on punt and punt return, Robert McClain and Travaris Cadet worked in as gunners. Darryl Roberts, Jimmy Jean, Logan Ryan and Bradley Fletcher also saw time as gunners. Nate Ebner continued to serve in his role as punt protector.
* Wendell spent a good amount of time chatting with new offensive lineman Harland Gunn, perhaps helping to teach the recently-signed guard some of the ins and outs of the Patriots system.
* The entire defense, coaches included, were asked to run a lap near the end of the session. It appeared as though there had been a substitution error of some kind that coach Bill Belichick did not appreciate. He watched them run with one hand on his hip.
* Stephen Gostkowski was on the mark for most of the session but missed his final two kicks. Both came from about 52 yards away and missed to the right.
* Brandon Bolden's catch, where he needed to leap up and over the outstretched arm of Jamie Collins, was one of the best of the night.
* Robert McClain continues to show up in various areas. Perhaps the team's top slot corner, he looked good as a gunner on the punt team. On one kick, he found the ball, tracked it in the air and caught it inside the 10-yard line. The play drew an excited reaction from special teams coach Ray Ventrone.
* Undrafted rookie center David Andrews had a rookie moment on one particular play. Snapping to Jimmy Garoppolo, Andrews shot the football off of his own leg, resulting in a fumble that was scooped up by Dominique Easley. Andrews then had to take a long -- longer than usual inside Gillette Stadium -- lap in front of the crowded lower bowl of the stadium.
* Brandon Gibson had a strong day on Tuesday but had one obvious drop. Another potential catch came near the end of the session in the back corner of the end zone. It would have been an impressive grab -- leaping and reaching up with both hands -- but it bounced off his mitts and to the turf.
* Brady complete to Bolden down the sideline with Collins in tight coverage.
* Garoppolo incomplete to Aaron Dobson. Rookie corner Darryl Roberts appeared to interfere with Dobson on the snap.
* Garoppolo incomplete. He threw the ball away, looking for Krause who was blanketed by Robert McClain.
* Garoppolo incomplete to Jimmay Mundine. Bradley Fletcher was in tight coverage.
* Garoppolo complete to Boyce on a long pass down the middle. Boyce had a step on Daxton Swanson.
* Garoppolo complete to Chris Harper with Jimmy Jean in coverage.
* Brady complete to White short.
* Brady complete to Beqeutter on an extended play.
* Garoppolo incomplete to Boyce. Bradley Fletcher was in tight coverage and helped make sure the ball wasn't caught after Boyce tipped it.
* Garoppolo incomplete on a screen pass that was deflected by Trey Flowers almost as soon as it was released.
* Garoppolo hand-off to Cadet.
* Garoppolo hand-off to White.
* Garoppolo complete to Cadet on a screen.
* Garoppolo incomplete deep down the middle of the field. Was given plenty of time, but an open receiver could not be found.
* Brady hand-off to LeGarrette Blount.
* Brady complete to Hoomanawanui
* Garoppolo complete to Krause.
* Garoppolo complete to Gray.
* Garoppolo complete to Gray on a screen.
* Snap fumbled when Andrews snapped the ball off of his leg.
* Garoppolo hand-off to Cadet.
* Garoppolo incomplete to Gibson. Ball was dropped.
* Garoppolo incomplete to Dobson. Jimmy Jean broke it up.
* Garoppolo incomplete to Hoomanawanui. Throw was behind the target, but Jonathan Freeny was close by in coverage.
* Garoppolo incomplete to Bequette, who had Ebner beat for a potential long completion. Target was overthrown.
* Garoppolo complete short to Boyce.
* Garoppolo complete to Cadet on a screen.
* Garoppolo incomplete to Dobson on a play-action pass deep down the field. Dobson had to dive for the attempt. Tavon Wilson was close in coverage.
* Garoppolo hand-off to Gray.
* Garoppolo complete to Dobson.
* Garoppolo incomplete to White deep down the sideline. White caught the ball, but he was out of bounds when he did.
* Garoppolo complete to Boyce deep down the field for a long gain. Boyce made a finger-tip grab with Jean trailing in coverage.
* Garoppolo complete to Krause short. Trey Flowers was into the backfield quickly, forcing the throw.
* Garoppolo complete to Cadet on a screen. Flowers came up field one step too far before recognizing the play. That was enough to give Cadet room to run.
* Garoppolo incomplete to Krause with Jean in coverage.
11-ON-11 RED ZONE/GOAL LINE
* Brady complete to Dobson in the back of the end zone.
* Bolden run to the right stopped by Zach Moore, Jerod Mayo and Trey Flowers.
* Garoppolo complete to James White who ran a crisp option route in the middle of the field to shake free from Jonathan Freeny.
* Garoppolo incomplete to Gibson in the back corner of the end zone. Roberts was in tight coverage to help break up the play.
* Garoppolo hand-off to Blount up the middle for the one-yard touchdown.
* Garoppolo incomplete to White. Pass broken up on a nice play from Freeny.
* Garoppolo incomplete to Gibson with Swanson in coverage.
* Garoppolo incomplete to Bequette. Matthew Wells was in coverage to break up the play.
* Garoppolo incomplete to Boyce. Pass was thrown into traffic and broken up by Swanson.
* Garoppolo complete to Dobson in the end zone.
* Garoppolo complete to Bequette, who collided with linebacker Rufus Johnson, bounced off and dove head-first into the end zone. Johnson was slow to get up but appeared OK.