FOXBOROUGH — The pads were on! I wouldn’t say this was the most physical or competitive training camp practice we’ve ever seen, but the intensity did take another step on a very cool day.
And away we go, with a huge assist from Chris Price…
THREE THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
Harmon suffers knee injury: During a goal-line drill, Duron Harmon landed awkwardly on his right foot and immediately grabbed his knee. The good news is that he left under his own power and did not leave the field. He stood and watched the duration of practice.
Brady was blazing: Tom Brady took the field with a determined look on his face, and applied that on the field as he largely ripped through his reps, which were again limited. Jimmy Garoppolo got most of the first-team work again. (Guessing it’s largely a maintenance thing. Long ways to go, and he will be 40 next week.) Brady was 20-of-23 overall in team drills with an interception that was picked off by safety Jordan Richards. Specifically, he was 4-of-5 in 11-on-11 drills, including a completion on a trick play that involved Julian Edelman. At one point, if you combined his 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 work, Brady had a double-digit streak of consecutive completions, a run that was broken up by the Richards’ interception.
Gillislee shows physicality: RB Mike Gillislee had a few goal-line carries and on two of them, he met force at the line and still made it into the end zone. For a team without a prototypical big, physical back, this was a good sign.
Reserve/injured list: DL Corey Vereen.
Physically unable to perform list: LB Dont’a Hightower, DT Alan Branch.
Red non-contact jerseys: Just the quarterbacks, as usual.
Returned to field: LS Joe Cardona.
Returned, but worked on the side: WR Danny Amendola, WR Malcolm Mitchell.
Not seen on the field: LB Rob Ninkovich, WR Cody Hollister (upper body injury).
New injuries: S Duron Harmon (right leg), RB Brandon Bolden (unknown).
Visitor: Celtics coach Brad Stevens, pictured below with Josh McDaniels and Nick Caserio.
- Edelman made a great snag of a sharp Brady pass that was just over the top of great coverage from LB Kyle Van Noy.
- Gronkowski had a touchdown from Brady on a lofted pass into the end zone, but Richards knocked it away before Gronkowski could bring the ball into his chest.
- Mike Gillislee took the type of hit you could hear on another field, but didn’t flinch and scored a goal-line touchdown.
- Brady had two — he and Brandin Cooks hooked up on a bomb over CB Justin Coleman, and executed a trick play that resulted in a big completion to Julian Edelman.
OL Ted Karras: Was outstanding in one-on-ones and team drills. Right now he’s playing backup center to David Andrews, but if Karras keeps this up, don’t think it’s out of the question that he could make center a competitive position. He’s a lot bigger than Andrews, and that may be worth looking at for the coaches.
RT Marcus Cannon: Looked very sharp in one-on-ones, and has been steady on the outside in team drills.
WR Brandin Cooks. Cooks has next-level speed he flashed on the touchdown grab from Brady over Coleman, one that went roughly 30 yards and drew a big cheer from the crowd. It was the sweetest connection of the first three days for Brady, and capped off a stretch where the quarterback went 10-for-12 on 7-on-7s.
OT Cam Fleming: Did not show well in one-on-ones. He was beaten by speed and power.
DE Kony Ealy: Was admonished by coaches for doing the wrong thing on one play, and was beaten twice by Marcus Cannon in one-on-ones.
TE Rob Gronkowski: Nothing to be alarmed about, but usually when the pads go on, Gronk takes it to another level. Really, it was just an average day for him. On the first snaps of the first two blocking drills, Gronkowski ended up on the ground, which is highly unusual. And after Richards knocked a touchdown away from him, the tight end jogged back to the sidelines a little gingerly.
Offensive line (win-loss-draw)
Marcus Cannon, 2-0-0
Cole Croston, 2-0-0
Joe Thuney, 1-0-1
Nate Solder, 1-0-1
Ted Karras, 1-0-1
Jason King, 0-0-2
Tony Garcia, 0-0-2
Shaq Mason, 1-1
LaAdrian Waddle, 1-1
James Ferentz, 1-1
Conor McDermott, 0-1-1
Jamil Douglas, 0-2
Max Rich, 0-2
David Andrews, 0-2 (2 decisive losses)
Cameron Fleming, 0-2 (2 decisive losses)
Defensive line (win-loss-draw)
Darius Kilgo, 2-0
Malcolm Brown, 1-0-1
Derek Rivers, 1-0-1
Josh Augusta, 0-0-2
Caleb Kidder, 0-0-2
Lawrence Guy, 2-1-0
Deatrich Wise, 2-2 (decisive win)
Vincent Valentine, 1-1 (decisive win)
Geneo Grissom, 1-1
Adam Butler, 1-1
Trey Flowers, 0-1-1
Woodrow Hamilton, 0-1-1
Kony Ealy, 1-2 (decisive win)
- Andrews had a tough time with the bull rushes from Valentine, and then Brown.
- Fleming put up little resistance to both Wise and Ealy.
- King and Augusta had one really good battle where neither could move the other.
- Cannon’s technique was terrific.
- Solder did well to counter the spin moves by Flowers. Those were a big problem for Solder in the Super Bowl against Dwight Freeney.
- Overall, nobody really popped among the edge rushers.
In addition to Brady’s 20-for-23 line, Garoppolo went 13-of-18 with an interception — he was 4-of-6 in 11-on-11s. (Garoppolo was the first quarterback on what appeared to be red zone drills, getting the call ahead of Brady.) Jacoby Brissett was 13-of-16 overall and 3-of-4 in 11-on-11s. In 7-on-7 work, Brissett had one of his passes dropped by Devin Lucien. Brissett has shown a nice chemistry with Austin Carr — that’ll be a combination to look for in the second half of preseason games this summer.
- With Hightower’s continued absence, David Harris is rapidly getting himself acclimated and getting a lot of time with the starters.
- Defensive line rotation, from left to right: Geneo Grissom, Lawrence Guy, Malcolm Brown, Trey Flowers; Derek Rivers, Darius Kilgo, Vincent Valentine, Kony Ealy; Deatrich Wise, Adam Butler, Josh Augusta, Caleb Kidder.
- Offensive line, beyond the starters: Fleming, Cole Croston, Karras, Jamil Douglas, LaAdrian Waddle; Antonio Garcia, James Ferentz, Jason King, Max Rich, Conor McDermott.
- Patriots didn’t use much regular nickel today. Mostly big nickel, with a safety for a linebacker. So we didn’t get a good look at who might have the edge at third corner. Jonathan Jones has been there so far, but Eric Rowe has been charging hard.
- RG Shaq Mason stood out for his technique in team drills. He seems to have made some improvements in the offseason.
- Wise had a great inside move to pressure the QB in red-zone work.
- Would think that, given Fleming’s continued struggles, that his spot could be in jeopardy with the arrival of third-round pick Antonio Garcia. However, Garcia looks very light and might not be strong enough for NFL play. But he certainly looks the part athletically.
- Karras put Ealy on the ground during a pass play. But Ealy recovered to team with Van Noy to stop Rex Burkhead on the goal line.
Sunday: Practice, 9:15-11:30 a.m.
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