Patriots

Postcard from Patriots training camp: Isaiah Wynn makes another step toward return with smooth performance in full contact work

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Postcard from Patriots training camp: Isaiah Wynn makes another step toward return with smooth performance in full contact work

FOXBORO — The Patriots had three days off following Thursday’s preseason game with the Lions. When they got back on the fields behind Gillette Stadium, they were in full pads and it didn’t take long before they were engaging in competitive one-on-one work. Here’s what we saw... 

ROLL CALL

The Patriots had a handful of players back on the field Monday. Veteran safety Nate Ebner and rookie corner Ken Webster were activated off of the physically unable to perform list. Lance Kendricks also returned to practice after missing over a week with an undisclosed injury. He wore a red non-contact jersey, as did Patrick Chung. (Chung has worn a red jersey throughout camp.) Rex Burkhead was also back in the mix after not participating in practices against the Lions last week. 

Tight end Matt LaCosse was not present after he suffered an injury in Detroit. N’Keal Harry, who also suffered an injury against the Lions, was also missing. Newly-acquired tight end Eric Saubert was not present. 

A couple of VIPs were in attendance: Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy was around as was Jon Bon Jovi. Patriots chairman and CEO Robert Kraft was in attendance late in the session. 

WYNN…IS IN

Isaiah Wynn did more in this fully-padded session than we’d seen previously. He took his first one-on-one rep of camp as well as his first two-on-two rep, pairing with Ted Karras to stone Chase Winovich and Byron Cowart. Wynn got time with the first team in 11-on-11 run-game work, moving well throughout the period. He executed a handful of kick-out blocks on edge defenders, he pulled and tagged linebacker Terez Hall and reach-blocked Trent Harris on one rep that required some pretty impressive mobility. He told me after practice things went “smooth.” That’s how I’d describe his mobility on Monday, about a year after tearing his Achilles.

Wynn didn’t necessarily get every first-team snap. He split reps with Dan Skipper, who has received all the first-team left tackle work in camp prior to Monday. Wynn did, however, seem to get additional snaps (with the second and third teams) during a run-game period. The Patriots may be trying to get him to work on his conditioning a bit when they can since he has ground to make up after not participating in team drills for weeks.

We’ll have more on Wynn later today, but given the amount of work he put in Monday, and given the contact he absorbed, it seems reasonable to expect that he’ll be good to go for Week 1 barring any setbacks.

QUARTERBACKS IN FOCUS

In competitive 11-on-11 work, Tom Brady went 16-for-21. He was reportedly picked twice in 7-on-7 work. (I didn’t see it because I was locked on Isaiah Wynn practice reps in offensive line-versus-defensive line drills that were happening at the same time. Locked.) Brady had one easy throw dropped by Maurice Harris so his numbers could have even been a bit better. His best throw of the day, though, was also to Harris. It was a shade out of reach of Stephon Gilmore, and Harris climbed the ladder to go get it. 

Brian Hoyer had a handful of throws in 11-on-11 work, but he was subject to a particularly rough two-play stretch midway through the practice when he was “sacked” by Michael Bennett. One play later he was picked off by Jamie Collins, apparently never seeing the linebacker.

In competitive 11-on-11 work, I had Jarrett Stidham down for a 2-for-5 day. Not exactly sparkling after putting together a nice night against the Lions in Thursday’s preseason opener. Not all his fault, either. He had two passes, back-to-back, dropped by Andrew Beck and Danny Etling. The ball that went through Etling’s hands was picked off by Stephon Gilmore. Stidham was also picked by Joejuan Williams during the practice on an under-thrown ball that didn’t look tremendously competitive on the offense’s part.

OBSERVATIONS OF NOTE

Both JC Jackson and Williams came down with interceptions in the 1-on-1 period early in practice. Williams also had a pass breakup while in coverage on Maurice Harris late in the session. 

Webster notched a pass breakup while in coverage on Etling in the one-on-one period. The seventh-round rookie is a big-time athlete so it’ll be interesting to see him compete against other wideouts over the course of the next few practices now that he’s off of PUP. 

Braxton Berrios seemed to continuously be fighting through cornerback leverage in the one-on-one sessions, at one point getting knocked over by Jonathan Jones. Those might have been pass-interference calls with officials around. He also made one of the best catches of the day, tracking a Brady pass over his shoulder and reeling it in as he fell to the ground with Duke Dawson in close coverage. 

Dawson was the closest defensive back to Jakobi Meyers when the undrafted rookie hauled in a score from Brady to finish off a hurry-up period.

Marcus Cannon had to run a lap at one point during the 11-on-11 period, but he flattened Michael Bennett and Deatrich Wise in one-on-one work earlier in the day. 

Bennett and Silique Calhoun also had to run laps for infractions during the one-on-one period.

Rex Burkhead made an impressive diving catch in the back of the end zone during 7-on-7 work with Brady. In his first work back after about a week off, he looked healthy. 

POPPED

Jakobi Meyers: Another day, another set of impressive catches from the undrafted rookie. In one-on-ones, he gave a subtle head-fake at the top of his route to create a significant amount of separation when working against Jonathan Jones. He also made a diving grab from the slot that was one of the better receptions of the day. That play came out of 10-personnel, which the Patriots could make use of early in the season until Ben Watson gets back. (That grouping consists of one running back, no tight ends and four receivers.)

Joejuan Williams: Three disruptions across multiple practice periods qualifies as a nice day for the second-round rookie. There will be times where he’s beaten off the line — as he was by Phillip Dorsett during one snap Monday — but he’s athletic enough to get into position where his unusual length allows him to get back into the passing lane to make life difficult for the intended target. Something similar happened on Thursday against the Lions when he was beaten deep but was close enough when the ball arrived that he stuck his arm out and seemed to disrupt the play. The Lions challenged the no-call for defensive pass interference, but the ruling on the field held up.

Isaiah Wynn: On seven pass-rushing snaps in 11-on-11 work late in the practice, Wynn wasn’t beaten. Not bad for a guy who saw his first live contact in a year. Among those he stopped? Adam Butler, Derek Rivers, Michael Bennett and Dont’a Hightower. 

DROPPED

Maurice Harris: Keion Crossen broke up one pass to Harris in the one-on-one period and Williams broke up another thrown in his direction during 11-on-11s. His drop on a long attempt from Brady was one of the worst we’ve seen in camp. The ball got to him late, but there wasn’t a defender close enough to make a play on the ball. He made an impressive grab up and over Stephon Gilmore at one point, but it was an up-and-down performance overall.

Danny Etling: Etling couldn’t shake free from Ken Webster in one-on-ones and he had a Stidham pass glance off his hands and into the arms of Stephon Gilmore. He seems like an interesting option for the practice squad based on his unique skill set, but it’s been a bumpy ride at receiver for the converted quarterback. Would the Patriots give him more time post cut-down day to figure things out on p-squad?

Dan Skipper: Fewer reps at left tackle means fewer opportunities to show that he deserves to stay. He had a relatively quiet night in Detroit — always a good thing for offensive linemen — but it’s unclear whether or not he’s shown enough to warrant a roster spot if Wynn is healthy. He’s had a hard time in one-on-one reps this summer. Is that the talent he’s seeing in camp, or is that an ability issue? 

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Terry Bradshaw doesn't think Tom Brady is the 'GOAT,' cites 3 better QBs

Terry Bradshaw doesn't think Tom Brady is the 'GOAT,' cites 3 better QBs

Well, we can't say we're surprised with Terry Bradshaw's latest comments regarding former New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

The Pittsburgh Steelers legend doesn't believe Brady is the greatest quarterback of all time, which is fine, but he cited three surprising QBs who he believes are better... and, well, see for yourself. 

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"I don't think he's the greatest quarterback of all-time," Bradshaw said during an interview with 93.7 The Fan, as transcribed by Bryan DeArdo of CBS Sports. "It's hard to say. He may be the best quarterback we've had in the last 30 years. Is he better than [Roger] Staubach? No. Is he better than Dan Fouts? No. Dan Marino? No. I'm talking talent-wise when you're putting all of it together. 

"Does he have more Super Bowls than anybody? Yes. Therefore, he's the best. I absolutely have no problem saying it. If you've got the most Super Bowls, you can be in there, but I don't put anybody as the greatest of all-time. Is he better than Montana? Not in my opinion. Is he better than Drew Brees? Yeah, maybe."

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The six-time Super Bowl champion has received plenty of media coverage and attention since leaving the Patriots after 20 years and Bradshaw continued to say that he's sick of it, according to DeArdo.

This isn't the first time Bradshaw has taken a shot at Brady either. The NFL on FOX analyst couldn't believe Brady left New England high and dry last month to go to the Buccaneers saying "I don’t know what the hell Tom’s doing."

Obviously the debate about who the "GOAT" is will never end, but when we're discussing the career that Brady has had, he's definitely up there with the likes of Marino, Staubach and Montana.

Patriots Talk Podcast: Stephen Gostkowski names best kick of his Patriots career

Patriots Talk Podcast: Stephen Gostkowski names best kick of his Patriots career

Between the regular season and playoffs, Stephen Gostkowski played in 232 games with the New England Patriots from 2006-19. He converted 418 field goal attempts over that span.

But which of those 418 kicks stands out to Gostkowski above the rest?

The ex-Pats kicker, who was released by the team last month after spending most of the 2019 season on injured reserve, answered that question in a recent episode of Tom E. Curran's Patriots Talk Podcast.

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Gostkowski didn't hesitate with his answer. The 36-year-old says his 41-yarder to seal the deal in Super Bowl 53 vs. the Los Angeles Rams is the most memorable of his Patriots career.

"Definitely the one to finish off the Rams," Gostkowski answered. "I mean, that was the most meaningful for me just because, you know, it wasn't the game-winner but it definitely sealed the game. Having missed a kick in a few Super Bowls, you kind of start to feel like 'aw man, am I ever going to get a chance?'

A great choice, especially since Gostkowski bounced back that game after missing his first field goal attempt.

Gostkowski explained how kicks at the beginning of games have been more difficult for him than attempts in the middle or at the end of games.

"The hardest part of kicking is trying to find that impactful kick in a season or a game, and it's so much out of your control. The more that you can focus on just trying to make every kick, the easier it is," Gostkowski said. "I always felt the most comfortable at the end of the games. Especially tight ones because you're in the game, you're in the flow of the game. Sometimes the hardest kicks for me were maybe the first kick of the game where I haven't played yet or I haven't been out there."

Gostkowski also discussed what he's been up to while quarantining, what his future holds, Tom Brady's departure from the Patriots, and much more. Check out the latest episode of the Patriots Talk Podcast on the NBC Sports Boston Podcast Network or on YouTube.