Postcard from camp, Day 11: Final prep for preseason opener
Final, wet prep for preseason opener
FOXBORO -- When the Patriots took the field on Wednesday, the sun was beating down on them and the humidity enveloped them. When Bill Belichick ended it, the team hustled back inside chased by torrential rain.
It was an unusual practice in some ways, aside from the shifting weather and the almost unplayable conditions that struck late in the session. The reason? Players were in full pads. Yet the workout resembled something closer to a walkthrough.
Passes were, aside from a handful of snaps, not contested during 11-on-11 work. There were no high-intensity offensive-versus-defensive line periods. It was a light day to prepare the team for its preseason opener Thursday night.
If the snaps taken on Wednesday were any indication, Tom Brady will get a light workload against Washington, with Brian Hoyer and Danny Etling essentially splitting things up the rest of the way.
Here's what we saw, in slightly more detail...
Sony Michel, Marcus Cannon, Harvey Langi and Brian Schwenke were all missing from the session. Schwenke had to leave Tuesday's practice with what looked like a heat-related ailment.
Rex Burkhead was spotted heading for the lower fields at one point during the session. Trey Flowers, Matthew Slater, Jason King, Nate Ebner, Jonathan Jones and Kenny Britt also spent time on the rehab field.
One of the more impressive completions of the day was a long pass down the left sideline from Tom Brady to Phillip Dorsett. After dropping a long completion on Tuesday, Dorsett got back on the right track with that rep -- even though the defense wasn't going all out to stop him.
Eric Decker, who had six drops last season, dropped a couple of catchable passes during the practice. One, over the middle from Brady, was egregious. The second came off the hand of Danny Etling and was thrown a bit wide but still catchable. Moments after the second, Etling went to Decker on the same play, which he caught in the back corner of the end zone. Later in the workout, Decker caught passes on the sideline from chaplain Jack Easterby.
Mike Gillislee, not known for his abilities as a receiver, dropped a red-zone pass over the middle from Brian Hoyer. And when the rains came, the drops continued. Braxton Berrios dropped an Etling pass very late in the practice, and the pair of rookies stayed out, in the rain, after things ended, to get in some extra work.
Jeremy Hill was sent on a lap for fumbling. Will Tye also fumbled later in the practice when Keion Crossen punched out the football following Tye's reception near the right sideline. Crossen then dove on the football for the recovery.
Later in the workout, a handful of Etling throws were well enough off the mark that the defense couldn't help but to make plays on them. One was picked by safety Damarius Travis. Another was broken up by JC Jackson deep down the field on a throw to Riley McCarron.
Etling did have a couple of pinpoint throws. The first went down the sideline to Berrios. The next was a slant deep in the red zone that was just out of reach of defenders and reeled in by Cordarrelle Patterson.
Dwayne Allen appeared to come away from one red-zone play a little gimpy late in the practice. He didn't leave the field, but we'll keep an eye on his availability moving forward.