Postcard from camp, Day 8: Team Brady vs. Team Garoppolo
Postcard from camp, Day 8: Team Brady vs. Team Garoppolo
FOXBORO -- The Patriots took the field for Day 8 of training camp practice with a little bit of a different look. As opposed to defensive players wearing blue and offensive players wearing white, there were players on both sides of the ball wearing both colors, indicating Friday's session would feature some fully-padded scrimmaging and a 25-for-25 performance by Tom Brady leading his team to a 23-9 victory over Team Jimmy Garoppolo.
* The Patriots had a handful of receiver return to practice on Friday, including receiver Chris Hogan, who was injured during a practice last weekend. He sported a red non-contact jersey. Receivers Keshawn Martin and Malcolm Mitchell, both of whom missed Thursday's work, were also back on the field. Martin did not participate fully. Receiver Nate Washington, who was in pads on Thursday but did not participate in practice, was present Friday but went to a lower field for conditioning soon after the practice began.
* Running back DJ Foster, who did not finish Thursday's practice, was on the field and in pads to start Friday's workout. Like Washington, he also went to a lower field soon after the practice began.
* All six players who began the week on the physically unable to perform list -- Sebastian Vollmer, Tre' Jackson, Clay Harbor, Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola and Dion Lewis -- continue to be unavailable to practice.
* Nate Solder, Joe Thuney, David Andrews, Josh Kline and Marcus Cannon made up the "white team" offensive line. LaAdrian Waddle, Chris Barker, Ted Karras, Shaq Mason and Cameron Fleming were the offensive line unit playing for the "blue team."
* Tom Brady, the "blue team" quarterback, could be heard screaming on the sidelines during the white team's opening drive and then later after throwing a touchdown to Brandon Bolden.
* Jamie Collins, Jabaal Sheard, Malcom Brown, Malcolm Butler, Devin McCourty, Cyrus Jones, Rob Ninkovich and Vincent Valentine saw plenty of work with the blue team defense. Defensively, the blue team had what appeared to be the majority of the first-team defense. Dont'a Hightower, Logan Ryan, Patrick Chung and Duron Harmon were the 2015 significant contributors playing for the white team.
* Bill Belichick served as the scrimmage referee. Matt Patricia, Dante Scarnecchia and Brian Daboll ran the sideline for the blue team. Josh McDaniels was the white team boss.
* Brady was as accurate as could be, completing all 25 of his attempts, including eight to Hogan. The newly-acquired receiver said after the session that he has been working to communicate with Patriots quarterbacks as effectively as possible. It looked like his work with Brady has paid off as they were on the same page all day.
* Brady's second-favorite receiver in the practice was running back Brandon Bolden, who reeled in seven passes, including a highlight-reel grab where he reached up and over Kevin Snyder to make a touchdown reception.
* Brady also showed some chemistry with Martellus Bennett, who caught passes on four consecutive snaps and five passes in all.
* Brady's intensity was palpable throughout the session. He raced down the field to celebrate a long touchdown pass to Matthew Slater. He gave Bolden a bear hug after the running back's receiving touchdown. He screamed on the sidelines before he even stepped on the field for his first series of the scrimmage. His intensity, players noted, trickled down to his teammates and led to practice that was likely the most competitive of what has been an extremely competitive camp.
* Garoppolo had a more difficult day than his counterpart throwing the football. Working behind the first-team offensive line, and with Rob Gronkowski at his disposal, Garoppolo went 20-for-34 with an interception. The third-year quarterback's final throw of the day was batted at the line of scrimmage and was picked off by Jamie Collins.
* Garoppolo narrowly missed throwing an interception earlier in the practice when his pass down the seam to tight end AJ Derby was batted into the air by safety Jordan Richards. After the deflection, the ball landed safely in Derby's arms for a long gain.
* Team Brady was called for a false start that appeared to be due to Karras not knowing the snap count. Brady and right tackle Cameron Fleming were the only two who reacted after Brady's first cadence. Once the penalty was enforced, Brady spoke to Karras in the huddle, and the two continued the discussion as they walked to the sidelines after the series was over.
* Mitchell was called for an offensive pass interference penalty by Belichick at one point. "He made his call. I listened to it," Mitchell said after. It was the only throw by Brady that did not go down as a completion.
* Brady called a pair of timeouts over the course of the practice, showing that he was not content to roll with whatever was called in the huddle when he saw a defensive look he didn't like. The purpose of the scrimmage was to incorporate some game situations, and Brady certainly treated it like a meaningful game.
* Second-year defensive end Trey Flowers, playing for Team Brady, showed up on a few different occasions during the scrimmage. On Garoppolo's second drop-back of the day, Flowers flushed him from the pocket and the play was blown dead. Flowers later pressured Garoppolo into a quick throw, which was complete to Gaffney. He also swallowed up a James White run in the scrimmage. It will be interesting to see how Flowers develops after having last season almost entirely wiped away due to injury.
* Other players who appeared to have good days rushing the passer included Collins (pressure, shared sack), linebacker Ramon Humber (sack), Sheard (pressure, shared sack with Collins), Shea McClellin (sack, shared sack), Rufus Johnson (shared sack with McClellin), Vincent Valentine (sack) and Chris Long (pressure).
* Team Brady corner Malcolm Butler had a pair of pass breakups to lead all defenders. Corners EJ Biggers and Justin Coleman each had one pass-breakup apiece.
SPECIAL TEAMS OBSERVATIONS
* Cyrus Jones (Team Brady) and V'Angelo Bentley (Team Garoppolo) served as the primary returners -- both on kickoffs and punts -- for their respective teams. Neither had trouble handling any of the kicks sent their way.
* Geneo Grissom showed up with a pair of thuds early in the scrimmage -- including one particularly loud thud on Bentley -- as a kick coverage player. Now in his second year, Grissom figures to factor in as a key special teamer once again in 2016.
* Stephen Gostkowski was 4-for-5 on his field goal attempts. The signal for whether or not the kicks were good often came from scrimmage referee Bill Belichick.