Postcard from Patriots camp, Day 10: Back at it in the heat
Back at it in the Foxboro heat
FOXBORO -- The Patriots were back at it on the fields behind Gillette Stadium after two days off from practice. It was another hot one, but Bill Belichick said before the session that he looked forward to a strong workout thanks to some added "strength in numbers."
Here's what we saw . . .
Strength in numbers? Nate Ebner (pictured), Jonathan Jones and Cyrus Jones were all back in uniform and full pads for the session. They began the summer on the physically unable to perform list. That had to be a welcome sight for special teams coach Joe Judge as all three project as potential key contributors in the kicking game.
The Patriots were without Sony Michel, Marcus Cannon, Harvey Langi and Jason King. Langi's absence is new.
Brian Schwenke needed to take a breather along the sidelines midway through the session, as it appeared as though the heat got to him. He eventually left the session. Isaiah Wynn also seemed to have an issue with the heat about an hour into practice.
Willie McGinest was present for the practice, spending time chatting with Steve Belichick and then watching offensive/defensive line drills, chatting at times with veteran end Adrian Clayborn.
LaAdrian Waddle (pictured), who continues to fill in for Marcus Cannon as the team's top right tackle, got the best of Derek Rivers on two separate reps. Joe Thuney also had a strong period, defeating Malcom Brown and Frank Herron. Shaq Mason also had a strong rep against Lawrence Guy, and Isaiah Wynn handled Deatrich Wise without issue.
Defensively, Adrian Clayborn had perhaps the most impressive rep of the practice, easily swiping his way past Trent Brown. Vincent Valentine had no issue getting around James Ferentz. Valentine has flashed good power and quickness in one-on-ones of late.
Tom Brady (pictured) was on point early in the practice, completing all three of his throws in seven-on-seven work. Two went to Julian Edelman and one went to Chris Hogan.
Brian Hoyer meanwhile was off the mark on throws to Rob Gronkowski and Hogan. He made his last throw to White. On the incompletion to Gronkowski, Damarius Travis came over Gronkowski's back and collided with the tight end mid-air. Gronkowski landed face-first on the turf, but popped up and participated regularly in the rest of practice. Ryan Lewis broke up Hoyer's throw to Hogan.
This was a run-game heavy practice, but Brady completed 4-of-7 competitive passes in the 11-on-11 periods. One of his incompletions came on a play when he would've been sacked by Lawrence Guy. Another was a drop from Phillip Dorsett deep down the left sideline. His third incompletion was a back-shoulder attempt to Rex Burkhead that was very slow-developing. Seemed like the quarterback and his target weren't on the same page there. Credit rookie linebacker Christian Sam with good coverage on the play. Brady's best-looking completion went to Riley McCarron down the seam, who beat rookie corner Duke Dawson.
Brian Hoyer hit on 12 of his 15 attempts to seven different receivers: Julian Edelman, two to Chris Hogan, two to Dorsett, Brandon Bolden, James White, Eric Decker and Burkhead. The three incompletions were intended for Decker, Hogan and Hogan, and broken up by Keion Crossen and JC Jackson and Damarius Travis.
Danny Etling (pictured) went 16-for-24 in his 11-on-11 periods. He had one pass deflected that was still reeled in by Braxton Berrios. Berrios had a pair of nice grabs from Etling later in the practice. Good day for him. Riley McCarron also had a pretty toe-tapping catch along the sideline that came off of an accurate throw from the rookie. On one of his final reps, Etling hit Devin Lucien for a sliding completion with Stephon Gilmore in coverage.
Etling's reps weren't without their hiccups, though. One pass was picked easily by Dont'a Hightower. Another was nearly picked by Stephon Gilmore. McCarron dropped Etling's third incompletion. Eric Rowe broke up a throw, and Ryan Izzo dropped one. Ralph Webb also dropped a pass that was thrown slightly behind. Etling also had a rep where he sat in the pocket and patted the ball until the whistle was blown. Not ideal.
In one Etling-focused period, the entire offense was forced to run a lap, including offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia, who turned 70 on Valentine’s Day.