Patriots

Postcard from Patriots training camp: N'Keal Harry shows off athleticism working with Tom Brady

Patriots

FOXBORO — The Patriots kicked off Day 1 of training camp practices with a workout that very closely resembled those we saw in the spring. Here's what we saw . . . . 

WHAT THEY WORE

Players took the fields behind Gillette Stadium in what was 75-degree heat. Picturesque start to the on-the-field work they'll put in this summer. Shells and shorts were the choice Thursday. Patrick Chung, who broke his arm in the Super Bowl, wore a red jersey. Ditto for quarterbacks Tom Brady, Brian Hoyer and Jarrett Stidham. Danny Etling, interestingly, wore white. He worked out with the receivers and on special teams. Last year's seventh-round pick, who spent the season as the practice-squad quarterback, looks like he'll have to make an impact in other areas if he wants a shot to make the roster. 

WHAT THEY DID

After the standard warm-up and individual drill period, the Patriots took part in 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 work, though it was not as competitive as it will be this weekend when full pads are introduced. Even in the 7-on-7 portion early in the practice, defenders allowed passes to be caught, then tried to pry them loose after the completion was made. 

The competitive drills came later. 

Corners and receivers ran a competitive two-on-two drill about midway through the practice. Brady's first throw was picked by Jonathan Jones, who made a leaping grab while in coverage of Braxton Berrios. Brady hit his next two passes to Maurice Harris and Gunner Olszewski. He held his fourth pass for a bit before finding Ryan Davis over the middle, and his fifth went to Berrios on time for a touchdown with Chung in coverage. D'Angelo Ross broke up Brady's next fade attempt to Dontrelle Inman, but Brady bounced back with scores to Damoun Patterson and Olszewski over the middle. Ryan Davis received a loud cheer when he reeled in Brady's fade to the corner on a diving catch. JoeJuan Williams was in coverage for that one. Troy Brown was fired up and high-fived Brady immediately after. One of the best plays of the period came when Brady hit undrafted rookie Jakobi Meyers on a pass that Meyers had to reach up for quickly. Meyers has good size, ran a good route to create separation, and then saved Brady on a high throw. 

 

* Final two-on-two goal-line tally for Brady: 11-for-14 with a pick and one rep that should've gone as a win to the defense as Brady held onto the ball longer than anticipated. 

During a three-on-three period immediately thereafter, Meyers made a leaping grab in the end zone, showing even more coordination and athleticism. He had himself a solid first day of rookie training camp. Brady had only one incompletion in the three-on-three session, but it was due to a Ben Watson drop. His final rep saw him hold onto the ball and scramble . . . not the drill's intention.

* Final three-on-three goal-line tally for Brady: 4-for-6

Later in 11-on-11 work, Jason McCourty would've been called for a pass interference penalty while checking Maurice Harris in the end zone.  Brady picked on McCourty on the very next snap, hitting Rex Burkhead over the middle. On his third throw, Jonathan Jones batted down Brady's attempt to Berrios — his second disruption in coverage of the day. Brady hit N'Keal Harry at the goal line for a score mid-way through the 11-on-11 period. On Brady's last snap of the period, Brady held onto the ball for a bit too long. Credit the defense.

Later in the practice, Brady hit Phillip Dorsett, Burkhead and Burkhead again on goal-line throws. James Develin got involved, and Dorsett caught another. Brady finished the period with a throw out of the back of the end zone. 

* Final 11-on-11 goal-line tally for Brady: 7-for-10 with a pass-interference penalty mixed in

Brian Hoyer had his first goal-line throw broken up by J.C. Jackson. Maurice Harris was the intended target. Hoyer's next throw was about two feet behind Brandon Bolden on a slant. Hoyer bounced back with a touchdown toss to Harris.

* Final 11-on-11 goal-line tally for Hoyer: 1-for-3

Jarrett Stidham found early success in his 11-on-11 work, hitting Stephen Anderson for a score. His next pass was broken up by Keion Crossen. It was intended for Lance Kendricks. Stidham's third drop-back was failed as the coverage forced him to hold onto the ball for an extended period of time. 

 

* Final 11-on-11 goal-line tally for Stidham: 1-for-3

Patriots quarterbacks later ran an intentional scramble-drill period in an 11-on-11 setting. 

ATTENDANCE CHECK

The Patriots didn't have Yodny Cajuste, Michael Bennett or David Andrews out on the field Thursday. Andrews and Bennett's absences are a surprise as neither are on any kind of injured list to start camp. With Andrews out, James Ferentz took snaps at center. Cajuste is on the non-football injury list as he recovers from offseason surgery. 

Julian Edelman, Nate Ebner, Ken Webster, Demaryius Thomas, Sony Michel and Deatrich Wise didn't participate in practice but were present for the proceedings. 

OBSERVATIONS WORTH SHARING

Tom Brady was in N'Keal Harry's ear, going over the nuances of a route just before a side session. Harry showed eye-popping athleticism (running on air, but still) in that side session, making several leaping, twisting grabs where he attacked the football and ripped it away from imaginary defenders. Josh McDaniels, who played the role of corner at the line, liked what he saw. Ben Watson also participated in the side sessions with Brady. 

Rookie punter/kicker Jake Bailey handled kickoff duties in practice. We suspected that might be the case back in the spring. Even if Stephen Gostkowski continues to kick off — he'd like to — saving him some work in camp might pay dividends down the line for the 35-year-old. Gunner Olszewski, Brandon Bolden and Braxton Berrios returned kicks during special teams periods.

Inside linebackers coach Jerod Mayo was spotted on the headset during team drills on Thursday. If anyone is going to take defensive play-calling duties when the games begin, Mayo appears to be the top candidate. 

The Patriots defense had to run a lap at one point early in the practice. No easing into things here. 

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