Patriots

Postcard from Patriots Training Camp: With Tom Brady out, Brian Hoyer & Jarrett Stidham share the load

Postcard from Patriots Training Camp: With Tom Brady out, Brian Hoyer & Jarrett Stidham share the load

FOXBORO — The Patriots were back on the field for Day 2 of training camp practice, but there was one very prominent member of the roster who sat out the proceedings. Here’s what we saw . . . 

WHAT THEY WORE

Players were in shells and shorts yet again, but Tom Brady was not. He stretched with the team and got loose but did not participate. He wasn’t in uniform and his helmet was not around. “Just a day off,” is what our Tom Curran was told so nothing to worry about as far as the soon-to-be 42-year-old’s health is concerned. 

Patrick Chung remained in a red non-contact jersey. as did participating passers Brian Hoyer and Jarrett Stidham. Danny Etling remained in a white jersey and worked with the receivers. 

ROLL CALL

Deatrich Wise was back in uniform Friday and hanging with the defensive linemen, a good sign that one of the team’s experienced defensive linemen is moving in the right direction. He started camp on the physically unable to perform list, but that appears to have changed. 

Michael Bennett and David Andrews were once again not participating. Julian Edelman, Nate Ebner, Sony Michel, Yodny Cajuste and Demaryius Thomas also remained out.  Byron Cowart left the session early, and Isaiah Wynn was once again not a full participant. Joe Thuney saw reps at left tackle again with Ted Karras and James Ferentz sharing left guard and center duties.

QUARTERBACKS NOT NAMED BRADY

Big day for Hoyer and Stidham, as you might expect. Here’s how they fared in 11-on-11 work.

Hoyer went 11-for-13 and looked sharp at times, particularly after getting into a rhythm. His flag route toss to Phillip Dorsett deep down the field was probably his prettiest of the day. He also hit big tight end Matt LaCosse on a seam with Elandon Roberts draped all over him. Even the shorter stuff was impressive at times as he found James White on what looked like an option route over the middle with Terrence Brooks close in coverage. 

Stidham, meanwhile, went 9-for-12 with a pick in competitive 11-on-11 work. His best work came at the end of the practice when he hit all five of his throws in the final offensive period of the day. He rolled out to his right, away from a Brandon King blitz, and found Jakobi Meyers on a diving touchdown grab. He also hit a beautiful wheel route throw to White down the sideline for another score that was dropped in the bucket. Stidham also had an impressive roll to his left, finding Maurice Harris on a throw that traveled about 30 yards and was caught in the back of the end zone.

As scouts have told us, he throws a nice ball, even when off-platform, meaning even when he’s on the move, if his feet aren’t set perfectly, he can be accurate and put some velocity on the thing. Stidham certainly had reps that made him look like a rookie as well. The Harris throw was held onto for quite a while. He had other reps where he tucked and ran because he couldn’t find anyone. Midway through the practice, he had to throw one away after searching (unsuccessfully) for an open target. His pick came on a throw into traffic that was secured by Brooks. 

Where the indecision really hurt Stidham was in the 3-on-2 and 7-on-7 work he did.  Working in the red zone in 7-on-7 he was picked by Duke Dawson on one play that stretched too long. Soon thereafter he had one back-shoulder pass broken up by Jason McCourty and Devin McCourty picked Stidham off moments later. Three picks in all between 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills isn’t ideal, but Stidham certainly showed enough promise at the end of the session to give him something positive to build on moving forward. Not just his accuracy, but his understanding of where pressure was coming from seemed to be advanced. We’ll see how he fares when the pads come on this weekend — if he’s given many reps once Brady is back in the mix. 

In 7-on-7 stuff, Hoyer made nice touchdown throws to Stephen Anderson and N’Keal Harry. He had another pass that Dorsett had to climb the ladder for that was completed along the back end line of the end zone. 

OBSERVATIONS WORTH NOTING

Late in the practice, Harry wasn’t sure where to line up. Brian Hoyer had to call timeout. When they aligned again, Harry was in the wrong spot. Bill Belichick sent the entire offense for a lap and then brought the entire team together on the middle of the field for a quick chat. Warm and fuzzy, I’m sure. 

One pass disruption other than those noted above by Brooks, Dawson and the McCourtys: Obi Melifonwu had a pass-breakup in 7-on-7 when he got his hands on a Hoyer throw. His size makes him an intriguing red-zone coverage option where space is hard to come by.

LaCosse (on a dangerous pass over the middle by Hoyer), Braxton Berrios (on a pass thrown behind him by Stidham) and Ryan Davis (in an individual drill) all had drops. Anderson dropped one as well in a drill when linebacker Jamie Collins punched it loose soon after it was caught. 

Jake Bailey hit a few monster punts early in the practice, but it seemed as though every time the rookie fifth-rounder blasted one . . . the next was shanked. Consistency an issue for him Friday. Ryan Allen was steady, as he typically is. 

Returning punts Friday — and there’s still no definitive top choice for that role — were Harry, Berrios, Patrick Chung, Gunner Olszewski and Maurice Harris. 

Harris had a great day. He was on the receiving end of Stidham’s nice roll-out pass, but he was also one of Hoyer’s favorite targets in 11-on-11 work, catching all four passes sent his way in those periods. 

New tight end Lance Kendricks is working with other new faces primarily, but he caught my eye early in the session when he made a diving grab in a tight area on a short Stidham throw. 

Patriots who switched positions under Belichick>>>>>

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Patriots promote FB Jakob Johnson off practice squad to replace injured Pat Develin vs Jets

Patriots promote FB Jakob Johnson off practice squad to replace injured Pat Develin vs Jets

The Patriots promoted fullback Jakob Johnson off their practice squad Saturday to replace the injured James Develin in Week 3 against the Jets. 

Develin missed all three of the Patriots' practices this week with a neck injury and was listed out on Friday. 

Johnson, an undrafted rookie out of the University of Tennessee and former German Football league player, will dress for his first game in the NFL. 

Johnson was originally recruited as a linebacker out of high school, but he made the transition to tight end while with the Volunteers. The Patriots turned him into a fullback, so the 24-year-old has shown a fair share of versatility over the course of his career. 

The Patriots usually find creative ways to utilize Develin in the passing game while sometimes giving him opportunities to punch in touchdowns on the goal line. There's a small chance Johnson gets that chance on Sunday, but who knows since the game will most likely be over by halftime. 

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Tom E. Curran's Patriots vs Jets Preview

Tom E. Curran's Patriots vs Jets Preview

TGIF. Thank God it’s football. The Patriots and their fanbase spent 11 days holding their collective nose, hoping the on-field magnificence of Antonio Brown would offset his toxicity off of it. Didn’t work. As O.J. Simpson so eloquently said on Twitter, “In any event, I don’t have to worry about that anymore. He’s gone.” 

So the Patriots are back where they were on the Friday before their season opener. Incredibly deep and talented on defense. Shallow at wideout and tight end. The wrinkle injected this weekend as they take on the Jets? The offensive line is banged up and they are missing their fullback. Will it matter to the bottom line? Doubtful. But the product may not look as omnipotent offensively as it did. Defensively? The Patriots can be the first team in the modern era to stop opponents from scoring a touchdown in the first three games.

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