FOXBORO -- Day 2 of New England Patriots training camp is complete. Here's everything you need to know about Thursday's practice on the fields outside Gillette Stadium.
What they wore
The fellas were once again in shorts, practice jerseys and helmets for the team’s second “ramp-up” workout. It was partly cloudy, 80 degrees and windy for the bulk of the two-hour practice. (Many players did individual work after, stretching their time on the field to two hours.)
It wasn’t until noon that the sun poked out with intensity and made it a little stifling. Bill Belichick wore a red hoodie with cutoff sleeves, which was a tough fashion choice for anyone with SB42 PTSD.
Who was there?
The same guys who were absent Day 1 remained so: OT Calvin Anderson (non-football injury list), OG Mike Onwenu (physically unable to perform list) and special teamer Cody Davis (PUP).
Add Rhamondre Stevenson to the list of limited participants along with Matthew Judon and rookie edge rusher DaMarcus Mitchell. Rookie safety/LB Marte Mapu was in a red jersey as he is still recovering from a pec injury.
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Send up an alert for flex player Ty Montgomery (I’m going with flex today … just trying it out), who left practice a few minutes after coming up gimpy during a goal-line passing rep. Montgomery tried to reach back for a pass thrown behind him by the less-than-pinpoint Trace McSorley and wound up losing some balance and colliding with linebacker Terez Hall.
What they did
Practice began at about 9:30 a.m. with about an hour of individual, position drills and special teams which developed a nice shellack of sweat.
After that, red zone work began with the team in 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 non-contact drills. As with Wednesday's workout, it was almost exclusively passing game work.
Before the team got into high red zone work scrimmaging closer to the 20-yard line, there was a little adversity period for quarterbacks and wideouts. A ball was dunked in a bucket of water and snapped back to the QB, who had to sidestep and take a whack from a pad then throw to a checkdown receiver who was bopped with a pad just after the ball arrived.
There was more red zone work in both 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 before field goals, sprints and a post-practice stretching session. All three quarterbacks and seemingly all the wideouts then adjourned to the end zone opposite the fans and media and continued to work.
Mack Wilson, Lawrence Guy, Hunter Henry, Jonathan Jones and JuJu Smith-Schuster were among the players meeting with the media.
Of particular note
- Owner Robert Kraft was on the field for the early portion of practice.
- The injury to Montgomery coupled with the limited status of Stevenson on Wednesday could be a prompt for the Patriots to become more aggressive in their reported pursuit of Dalvin Cook. Director of Player Personnel Matt Groh spoke Tuesday about the relative bargain Cook represents.
- Defensive tackle Lawrence Guy discussed missing the team’s mandatory minicamp and his reported dissatisfaction with his contract. "Me and my agent have been in discussions with this organization and we’re gonna keep that private between us," Guy said, adding, "I’m here, I got a big smile on my face. I’m gonna do whatever I can for the organization and work as hard as I can. … We play this game to be on the field and be a brotherhood." Asked if he considered holding out, Guy answered, "I’m here. This is what I chose to do. I’m here for training camp."
- There’s no indication currently that Matt Judon’s limited participation has anything to do with contract agitation. And his comments to WBZ’s Dan Roche recently didn’t carry even a hint of threatening to leave. Still, in the age of the training camp "hold in," the fact Judon hasn’t yet practiced AND is underpaid relative to other high-level performers at his position (he is 20th in average annual value among edge rushers) has prompted musing that maybe he’s irked. We will attempt to ferret out the facts on that tout de suite.
- Josh Uche continues to be a menace to Riley Reiff. The edge rusher’s initial burst should be accompanied by a "meep-meep" sound effect in the stadium if the people in charge are doing anything right!
- Early kick return fellas: Marcus Jones, Kyle Dugger and Isaiah Bolden. Bolden, a seventh-rounder, friggin' flies.
- Smith-Schuster was targeted often throughout practice and first impressions so far are good. He said he feels “amazing” coming back from offseason surgery that limited his work. Cornerback Jonathan Jones was asked what most impressed him so far about Smith-Schuster’s skillset. He said “physicality.”
- Mac Jones’ completion numbers haven’t been great the first few days. I think that’s less on Jones and more a reflection of the fact the team is working in the close quarters of the red zone and that there’s no threat of the run to keep the defense honest. I’m gonna wait until the pads come on to make a more critical evaluation of the results.
- The notion of a true competition for the starting quarterback job should be long-dead. As nice as Bailey Zappe played in a pinch last year, he’s just not physically gifted enough to challenge Jones. If he were taller, faster, able to throw on the move and “off-platform” then maybe there would be a conversation. He’s not. And it really shows up in the red zone because his passes get punched all over the place.
What's in store
The Patriots will be back at it again Friday morning with the same schedule as Thursday – Bill Belichick at 9 a.m. and practice at 9:30 a.m. Higher temperatures are expected. Hawt.