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Perry: Versatile Patriots veteran appears to be carving out a role

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Ty Montgomery

FOXBORO -- Wednesday's practice was a lighter day relative to the fully-padded sessions we saw on Monday and Tuesday. But that doesn't mean there wasn't anything to glean from the latest Patriots workout.

Here are our Stock Up and Stock Down notes from the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium...

Stock up: Ty Montgomery

With Rhamondre Stevenson seemingly getting a down day and with Pierre Strong still limited... this vet has had all the work he can handle. And he's made the most of it.

Though it was a slower-paced practice, Montgomery caught all four of his targets and took three handoffs as a running back. He can play multiple positions. He has seen time as a return man on kickoffs. He has sure hands. He feels like he's on track to earn a real role -- potentially as a "sub" back -- if he can keep this up.

Stock up: Terrance Mitchell

Mitchell continues to get opportunities with the top defensive group opposite Jalen Mills and continues to show that he's up to the task.

Mitchell was able to make good on a gift of an interception from Mac Jones when Jones and DeVante Parker got crossed up on a route. But it ain't Mitchell's fault the offensive communication was shoddy.

Neither Malcolm Butler nor Jack Jones have done much to assert themselves as sure-thing starters. So until further notice, it sure seems like Mitchell is in line to be one of the team's two top options at one of the most valuable positions in the sport.

 

Stock up: Mac Jones

Jones hasn't made this list in a few days, partly because we've come to expect consistent accuracy and sound quarterback play from him. But it's worth a reminder here: He's been fine.

On Wednesday, a light day, he hit 14 straight passes in team periods. That streak was only broken because of some miscommunication between him and DeVante Parker that led to a pick by Mitchell. Jones had one other pass he had to throw away because of pressure from Anfernee Jennings that flushed him from the pocket. He went 16-for-18 in all.

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There are moments of hesitation from behind center at times -- as there was once in a 7-on-7 period Wednesday -- but when that happens it appears to be because of A) pressure leading to a broken play or B) some disagreement between him and a receiver.

When Jones has an opportunity to throw quickly and time to do so, with weapons he trusts -- as he did with Hunter Henry and Kendrick Bourne on Day 7 -- the operation looks smooth. That just hasn't always been the case.

Stock up: DaMarcus Mitchell

We pointed it out when Brenden Schooler got some extra reps with Matthew Slater and Patriots special teams coaches earlier in camp. Well, time to point out another "extra credit" special-teamer.

Mitchell saw early work with Slater, Joe Cardona and others, working on the finer points of the kicking game early in Wednesday's practice. Should he be able to carve out a role there, perhaps he could be an under-the-radar roster add by camp's end.

Stock down: Michael Onwenu

For the second straight day, Arlington Hambright saw work with the first group of offensive linemen, replacing Onwenu at right guard.

There was an early wide-zone run play on Wednesday where it looked like Onwenu had trouble reaching his assignment. And while no one has had an easy time blocking Christian Barmore in 1-on-1s -- he went 2-1 against Barmore on Tuesday -- he had a particularly non-competitive rep at one point.

Worth keeping an eye on Shaq Mason's presumed replacement and how he's used as camp wears on.

Stock down: Justin Herron

Herron jumped for a false start at right tackle during an 11-on-11 period that featured some music blaring from the sidelines. This wasn't a day for linemen to physically try to overwhelm anyone, but it was a day to be on the details. Looked like Herron just had a brief lapse there.

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Herron looks like one of the team's top reserve tackles, there with Yodny Cajuste, who has been playing on the left side. But Herron went 2-2 in 1-on-1s on Tuesday, losing decisive reps to Matt Judon and Anfernee Jennings. He also stopped Jennings and DaMarcus Mitchell on other reps, so it hasn't all bad. But as someone who may need to see real playing time if one of the team's starters goes down, Herron has had better two-day stretches. 

 

Stock down: Interior offensive line

That's now three straight practices where this group has been on the wrong end of this Stock Up, Stock Down piece. The unit, even with things moving at a reduced rate of speed, still appeared to have some communication breakdowns. Mack Wilson waltzed right between Cole Strange and James Ferentz for a "sack" of Mac Jones. The interior also seemed to allow a pressure up the middle to Jennings, which forced one of Jones' two incompletions on the day.

Some of the running-game snaps looked cleaner. There were plenty of downhill runs mixed into the arsenal that appeared productive. But there are certainly still communication issues for Matt Patricia and assistant offensive line coach Billy Yates to iron out.