Patriots

Postcard from Patriots minicamp: Stephon Gilmore picks up from where he left off

Postcard from Patriots minicamp: Stephon Gilmore picks up from where he left off

FOXBORO — The Patriots had a gorgeous day weather-wise for Day 2 of minicamp, and the pace seemed to be elevated a touch, with coaches Josh McDaniels, Dante Scarnecchia, Jerod Mayo and Joe Judge among those audibly encouraging (or admonishing) their players. Here’s what we saw . . . 

WHO WAS THERE

None of the big-name players who were present for Tuesday’s practice were absent Wednesday. That meant Tom Brady, Julian Edelman, Dont’a Hightower, Devin McCourty and Kyle Van Noy were back at it for another day. Van Noy spent some time on a lower field but later came back to participate in the session with his teammates. 

Isaiah Wynn was present and participating in drills, but he did not take part in team work. That Wynn was able to push off the Achilles he tore last summer is a positive development as he gets ready for his sophomore season. If he can be on the field for training camp, there’s a good chance he’ll be the front-runner for a starting role opposite Marcus Cannon. With Wynn not taking part in team work, Joe Thuney played left tackle in those periods.

WHO WASN’T 

Sony Michel continues to miss time. He wasn’t available for the second day of minicamp. He finished last season healthy enough to take critical late-game handoffs in the Super Bowl, but he has had long-standing knee issues and could be buying as much time as possible for his knee to rest until camp begins. 

Nate Ebner was not participating, as was the case Tuesday. He watched from the sidelines in a red hoodie. Rookie offensive lineman Yodny Cajuste was also unavailable for practice. 

VISITOR CHECK-IN

Robert Kraft arrived to the workout late into the session. On Thursday night he’ll host last year’s team at his home for their championship ring ceremony, which is expected to include players from last year’s club who are no longer playing for the Patriots. 

Coaches from the Iowa football program, including head coach Kirk Ferentz, were back at Patriots practice for the second straight day. 

FAKE FOOTBALL, REAL NOTES

Early in the practice, the Patriots offense went through some half-speed two-minute work. Lining up alongside Tom Brady were tight end Matt LaCosse, receivers Julian Edelman, Maurice Harris and Phillip Dorsett, and running back James White. N’Keal Harry took snaps with Brian Hoyer, as did receiver Braxton Berrios.  

Harris continued to have an impressive minicamp, catching both of Tom Brady’s first two passes in a late-practice period where the Patriots played 11-on-11 and had to deal with music blaring over a public address system to simulate crowd noise. Brady also hit Ben Watson and Phillip Dorsett for completions while dealing with the noise. Stephon Gilmore had a near pick of Brady in the same period. 

The play of the simulated-noise session was a leaping grab in the end zone by N'Keal Harry from Brian Hoyer. Harry deflected the ball to himself while draped in coverage and secured the football before hitting the ground. Hoyer was so fired up he ran to Harry to celebrate with him. He was stopped by Van Noy on his way to the rookie who had a tough Day 1 of minicamp, but Hoyer got there eventually and several offensive teammates congratulated the first-round pick on the grab.

Berrios was among the receivers who had drops Wednesday. Undrafted rookie slot receiver Ryan Davis also had a drop in a contested-catch drill. 

Stephon Gilmore had a nice pass-breakup on a Tom Brady attempt to Phillip Dorsett late in the practice. Jamie Collins had a breakup (that should’ve been a pick) of Brian Hoyer early in the practice. Jonathan Jones also had a breakup of a Hoyer throw. Duke Dawson had a near breakup during one drill that had defensive players (and coaches, Mayo specifically) ready to go crazy. 

Julian Edelman, Berrios and Dorsett worked as punt-returners, as did Harris and Gunner Olszewski. Gunners in punt drills were Matthew Slater, Jonathan Jones, Ryan Davis and Damoun Patterson. Quarterback Danny Etling worked in as a member of the punt coverage team at one point. 

During one special teams period, Brady and McDaniels worked closely with Harry on some red-zone work. They specifically seemed to be hammering away at back end-line attempts floated high and out of reach of imaginary defenders. 

Just a reminder that minicamp isn’t real football: During one 11-on-11 drill, rookie Ken Webster broke up a Brian Hoyer pass. Webster was promptly reprimanded for breaking up the pass in a drill that was less than full speed. Not all drills — even 11-on-11 drills — are created equal. 

The Patriots worked on a ball-security drill late in practice. Matt LaCosse, Ben Watson, Derek Rivers and Jakob Johnson were among those who fumbled. 

As was the case on Tuesday, Jarrett Stidham worked closely with Mick Lombardi in the same way that young quarterbacks used to work with former assistant quarterbacks coach Jerry Schuplinski. 

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Marquis Flowers, Sterling Moore, Sealver Siliga among ex-Patriots taken in XFL draft

Marquis Flowers, Sterling Moore, Sealver Siliga among ex-Patriots taken in XFL draft

Former Patriots linebacker Marquis Flowers, ex-Pats Sterling Moore, a cornerback, and Sealver Siliga, a defensive tackle, were among the players with New England ties selected in the XFL draft.

The spring football league that played one season in 2001 is being rebooted and will begin play in February with eight teams. Its two-day draft concluded Wednesday.

Players were picked in five phases of the draft in the following order: skill position, offensive line, defensive front seven and defensive backs. An open portion concluded the draft.

Flowers, 27, who played for the Patriots in 2017, was selected with the Dallas Renegades' second pick of the open portion.

Siliga, 29, a Patriot from 2012-15, also went to Dallas with their second pick of the front seven phase.

Moore, 29, known for stripping the ball from Baltimore Ravens receiver Lee Evans in the end zone and denying what would've been a winning touchdown catch in the Pats' 2011 AFC Championship Game victory, was picked by the Seattle Dragons in the defensive back phase.

Other notable ex-Patriots, defensive end Kony Ealy, acquired in a trade by New England in 2017 but cut that summer in training camp, was the first pick of the Houston Roughnecks in the open phase. Running back Ralph Webb, an undrafted free agent who had a strong preseason opener in 2018 before being cut, was the first pick of the Tampa Bay Vipers in the open phase and linebacker Scooby Wright, who played for the Patriots this past preseason and was cut from their practice squad Oct. 1, was chosen by the DC Defenders in the front-seven phase. 

Former Boston College running back Andre Williams was selected by Houston in the skill position phase.

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Ex-Patriot Trent Brown denies domestic violence allegations in statement

Ex-Patriot Trent Brown denies domestic violence allegations in statement

Former Patriot and current Raiders offensive lineman Trent Brown was sued by his ex-girlfriend for domestic violence, and he responded to the allegations with a statement via Twitter on Wednesday.

“I am aware that my ex-girlfriend has filed a civil suit against me,” Brown tweeted. “I deny the claims. They are false. I believe in the court system where I will clear my name. I will not be making any further comment at this time.”

The disturbing acts Brown is being accused of allegedly took place over the spring and summer of this year. After helping the Patriots to their sixth Super Bowl title, the 26-year-old signed a four-year, $66 million deal with the Raiders in March.

The NFL is expected to investigate the civil allegations just as it investigated Antonio Brown's, according to Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.

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