Patriots

Patriots

FOXBORO -- The Patriots finished their third and final day of minicamp practice on Thursday. Here are a few quick notes from the mandatory session. 

* Tight end Michael Williams was the lone new absence to practice. He reportedly will be placed on IR after he tore his left ACL. He suffered an injury Wednesday and was driven off the field after walking over to a cart under his own power. 

* There were 15 players missing from practice in total: Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, LeGarrette Blount, Dion Lewis, Rob Gronkowski, Nate Solder, Sebastian Vollmer, Josh Kline, Tre' Jackson, Shaq Mason, Logan Ryan, Duron Harmon, CJ Johnson and Nate Ebner. 

* Rookie receiver Malcolm Mitchell, running back Brandon Bolden and tight end Clay Harbor were back on the field for Thursday's work after missing from the field on Wednesday.

* Defensive end Jabaal Sheard spent some time early in the workout having his leg looked at while sitting down on the sideline. He eventually got back to his feet and seemed to participate normally in defensive drills.

* Sheard and Malcom Brown did a jersey swap for Thursday's session, with Sheard wearing No. 90 and Brown wearing No. 93.

* Bill Belichick the teacher went to work soon after the warm-up period ended, lecturing quarterbacks for a few minutes on the intricacies of the hand-off. That instructional session was followed by a hand-off drill where the quarterbacks and running backs worked to make their exchange at the proper depth in the backfield and from the proper angle. 

 

* Rookie running back DJ Foster spent some time working one-on-one with special teams coach Joe Judge early in the practice. Foster has seen plenty of reps as a punt returner, and Judge did his best to improve the Arizona State product's form. Rookie corner V'Angelo Bentley and receiver Keshawn Martin also saw some time as returners early in the practice. Rookie corner Cyrus Jones continued to see work as a returner on Thursday as well. 

* Foster sustained an apparent left hamstring injury mid-way through the practice and remained sidelined. 

* Former Patriots receiver Troy Brown was present at practice for the second time this week. He worked with both pass-catchers and punt returners. Brown could be seen sharing some tips with Jones after the rookie muffed a punt about an hour into the session. 

* Tom Brady lauded running back James White for a route that White ran in a passing drill early in the practice. The third-year running back has displayed good hands and crip route-running abilities this week. 

* Second-year tight end AJ Derby was spotted running a lap during a half-speed team offensive period. Offensive lineman Ted Karras was also sent for a lap in the first half of the session. 

* Jimmy Garoppolo spent time with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, tight end Martellus Bennett and receivers Aaron Dobson, Malcolm Mitchell and Nate Washington in a side session. Typically, it's Brady who is the quarterback involved in those off-to-the-side periods, but today Garoppolo was the signal-caller involved. 

* Mitchell had an opportunity to take some repetitions with Brady and tested Malcolm Butler deep down the sideline at one point. Butler found Brady's attempt and swatted it away before Mitchell could get his mitts on it. Mitchell later made the play of the day when he reeled in a leaping one-handed grab in the corner of the end zone on a well-placed throw from Jacoby Brissett. Several players on the Patriots sideline cheered audibly and tight ends coach Brian Daboll raised his arms over his head in celebration.

* It was a windy day at Gillette Stadium, making passes down the field and toward the sideline difficult to throw accurately. The wind seemed to play with Ryan Allen's punts as well and may have made the job of the punt returners a bit more difficult. 

* Dont'a Hightower picked off a pass from Garoppolo late in the practice. Soon thereafter, on the adjacent field, rookie linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill intercepted Jacoby Brissett. Both picks came during a hurry-up period near the end of practice. 

* Garoppolo threw another pick during a 2-on-2 portion of practice. Jones was the culprit this time around. The second-rounder out of Alabama has displayed good quickness and dependable hands (his muffed punt Thursday aside) throughout minicamp.