Postcard From Camp, Day 7: Pats have some fun in the sun
FOXBORO -- The Patriots took the fields behind Gillette Stadium for what might've been the most uncomfortable practice of the summer in terms of the heat. But the session had its fair share of lively moments. It was likely the most entertaining and emotional practice of Patriots training camp to this point.
Here's everything you need to know about Day 7 . . .
Both players who left Wednesday's practice with injury -- Sony Michel (pictured) and Marcus Cannon -- were not spotted. Cannon left Wednesday's practice early on with an undisclosed injury. Michel dealt with a lower-body issue that landed him on the stationary bike, then into the medical tent, before he left Wednesdsay.
Mike Gillislee returned to practice Thursday after spending his time on a lower field Wednesday. Gillislee wore a red non-contact jersey. John Atkins also returned to practice after a day on the lower field.
Matthew Slater wore his pads and jersey, but he hit the lower fields with other rehabbing players soon after warmups. He later came up top and worked with special teams coaches Joe Judge and Cam Achord.
Keion Crossen was decked out in pads and jersey, but he was also a lower-field participant.
Kenny Britt, Jonathan Jones and Cyrus Jones remain on the physically unable to perform list.
-- This practice focused much more heavily on the passing game than any since pads were introduced last weekend. They worked middle-of-the-field pass plays in 11-on-11, and focused certain periods on the red-zone as well. Tom Brady went 3-for-3 from the middle of the field and 6-for-10 from the red zone. Kyle Van Noy broke up one pass for Jacob Hollister, continuing his impressive performance in coverage this camp. In all, in 11-on-11 work, Brady went 9-for-13.
-- Riley McCarron (pictured) had a hard time getting on the same page with Brady in team drills. Yesterday's "Long Shot" looked unsure of how to handle a motion before one snap, leading Brady to call timeout. McCarron was promptly subbed out for Julian Edelman. Later, McCarron was open over the middle but faded his route toward the sideline. Not what Brady was looking for. The throw went behind the receiver and fell incomplete. Brady could be heard shouting instruction to McCarron immediately after the ball hit the turf.
11-ON-11 PERFORMANCES (con'd)
-- Brian Hoyer (pictured) went 5-for-8 from the middle of the field in 11-on-11, with one long completion to Cordarrelle Patterson for a touchdown. Jordan Richards was in coverage, and when Patterson crossed the goal line, he pumped his fists furiously. One Hoyer pass that was intended for Rob Gronkowski was broken up by Demarius Travis. Hoyer also had trouble avoiding rookie corner JC Jackson. He had one throw that should've been picked near the sideline that Jackson dropped, and then moments later near the goal line, Hoyer was picked by the Maryland product. Hoyer went 1-for-3 in the red zone, with the pick, and one throw to Edelman in the back of the end zone that never really had a chance. In all, in 11-on-11 work, Hoyer went 6-for-11.
-- Brady (pictured) looked dialed in during 7-on-7 work before the full team sessions began. He went 4-for-5 in his reps, including one contested completion to Phillip Dorsett, who continues to have a rock solid camp. Dorsett looked a little slow to get up after one incompletion earlier in the practice -- Jomal Wiltz collided with Dorsett at the end of the play -- but Dorsett said after that he was no worse for the wear. Should Dorsett or Hogan go down with any type of ailment in camp, the Patriots would be in a real bind at wideout.
-- Hoyer went 2-for-3 in 7-on-7 action. His one incompletion highlighted an instance of miscommunication between quarterback and receiver. Chris Hogan wanted to beat his man deep, but Hoyer sent a back-shoulder throw in Hogan's direction that ended up well out of reach.
-- Gronkowski seemed to let one throw, that might've been a hair behind from Hoyer, drop. Patrick Chung (pictured) continues to see Gronkowski in the majority of one-on-one matchups.
-- Duke Dawson continues to see time with defensive regulars as a slot corner, but he had some trouble mirroring both Edelman and Braxton Berrios in the one-on-one period.
-- The rep of the day defensively during 1-on-1s may have come from second-year corner Ryan Lewis. He jammed Dorsett off the line so well that Dorsett never truly got into his route, and the quarterback never threw the ball. Lewis ruined the rep with his strength. It was such a good rep that it actually earned him a high-five from receivers coach Chad O'Shea.
ONE-ON-ONE PERFORMANCES (con'd)
-- Patterson (pictured) and Brady continue to develop their chemistry on back-shoulder balls. Patterson made the play of the day, with Jason McCourty all over him, reeling in Brady's throw one handed as if it simply stuck to his mitt, which he threw at the ball at the last possible second. It elicited "Ohhs!" from the crowd in attendance. That kind of play will only help Patterson earn Brady's trust moving forward.
-- How many times can we say it? Trent Brown looks borderline unbeatable in the one-on-one periods. He got the best of Adrian Clayborn twice Thursday. Fellow tackle Isaiah Wynn also had some nice moments, beating Trey Flowers with a strong initial punch on one rep. James Ferentz also held his ground against Flowers' interior rush.
ONE-ON-ONE PERFORMANCES (con'd)
-- Defensively, one of the best reps of the day was Derek Rivers (pictured) powering LaAdrian Waddle back with ease on a bull rush. He's thought of as a bender, but the second-year edge defender has some pop to his game. Waddle later beat Rivers when Rivers tried to use his speed to get around Waddle, and Waddle guided Rivers right by without incident.
-- Some under-the-radar battles: Brian Schwenke dropped Keionta Davis; Frank Herron got the better of Jason King; Ulrick John held firm against Deatrich Wise; Cole Croston also swallowed up Wise's rush; Van Noy got the better of Croston later on; David Andrews made quick work of Davis.
OTHER NOTEWORTHY MOMENTS
-- At the end of the practice, the Patriots defense and offense went at it. But in an unusual fashion. The offense played defense. And the defense played offense. The offense, led by safety Tom Brady, stood its ground on two goal-line pass attempts. Duron Harmon (pictured), on a halfback toss, had a pass broken up by Hogan. Then quarterback Patrick Chung missed his throw to the flat to receiver Eric Rowe. At stake? A night off. Because the offense won, they'll have a curfew free night. We'll have more on this lighter-side moment later on NBCSportsBoston.com.
-- Agent Drew Rosenhaus, who represents four Patriots at the moment, was present for the session. Among his clients are Gronkowski, Berriors, Trent Brown and Dwayne Allen.
OTHER NOTEWORTHY MOMENTS (con'd)
-- There was an interesting moment early in practice when Jackson was the second corner to step up in a bump-and-run one-on-one drill. There were no passes and corners worked on their jams while receivers worked on their releases. On the second rep, after Stephon Gilmore (pictured) took on Hogan, Jackson stepped in to align across from Edelman. The veteran receiver shook the undrafted rookie easily, but it was impressive that Jackson wanted to work on his craft against probably the best receiver, in terms of releases especially, on the team.
-- The Patriots ran a running-game period about an hour into practice, which is standard stuff. What was noteworthy about it? The Patriots staff propped a ladder up about 20 yards behind the line of scrimmage. Atop the ladder was a camera operator, using the added height to get a better angle of the proceedings.
OTHER NOTEWORTHY MOMENTS (con'd)
-- The Patriots ran a hurry-up period toward the end of the session with the first-team offense going against a defensive unit that had Wise (pictured), Danny Shelton, Flowers and Clayborn on the line. Dawson served as the slot nickel back, or the "star" in the Patriots system.
-- King made his way to the medical tent late in the practice and did not return to play.