NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas
Under a cloudless sky, subtle winds and 80-degree temperatures, the New England Patriots made their way back onto the practice fields Friday morning for the second day of training camp.
The first one out there was Ryan Allen, who started warming up just after 8:50 a.m. Soon he was joined by receiver Danny Amendola, who fielded his punts, and rookie Tyler Ott, who stretched before snapping them.
By 9:05, the rest of the team had filed on.
Most of the team, anyway. The No. 21 jersey of rookie sixth-round defensive Jemea Thomas was not spotted after being a full participant Thursday. And for the second consecutive day, the white No. 72 jersey of undrafted offensive tackle Chris Martin was also not located.
Wideouts Aaron Dobson, Matthew Slater and Jeremy Gallon, defensive tackles Tommy Kelly and first-rounder Dominique Easley, undrafted linebacker Deontae Skinner and cornerback Alfonzo Dennard were all seen wearing sweats and looking on. All of whom currently reside on either the physically unable to perform list or the non-football injury list.
Undrafted rookie running back Roy Finch, who was cleared from the non-football injury list Thursday, got his reps in early on Friday. He joined Amendola deep as the two took turns returning punts.
After punt returns gave way to a team jog from one sideline to the other, the Patriots split into position drills and ran the turf-soaked “pig drill” before running through a sequence of plays.
Those plays inevitably led to some miscues, as left guard Logan Mankins and left tackle Nate Solder were forced to run penalty laps for a false starts. Halfback Brandon Bolden and second-round quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo had to do the same for a fumbled handoff.
It was a difficult day for both Bolden and Garoppolo.
The third-year ball-carrier had ball security issues for the second practice in a row and also dropped a catchable pass.
The rookie signal-caller, meanwhile, showed some growing pains down in the red zone and on the goal line. He waited for windows to open as the light pass rush circled. He overthrew a few open windows, including one to wideout Brandon LaFell.
And he ultimately threw a pair of interceptions to special-teams linebacker Chris White and first-year cornerback Daxton Swanson.
One of his completions resulted in a fumble, as undrafted rookie receiver Derrick Johnson had his catch stripped lose and a scrum ensued. Quarterbacks Tom Brady and Ryan Mallett fared better in 7-on-7 and 11-on-11, and their performance was in correlation with their targets’.
Wideout Danny Amendola slipped between safety Tavon Wilson and Brandon Browner over the middle to snag a touchdown from Brady. Tight end Michael Hoomanawanui also showcased strong hands opposite safety Devin McCourty, notching an end-zone score.
In addition, second-year receiver Kenbrell Thompkins made an diving reception from Brady down at the boundary. He harnessed another noteworthy pass in the corner of the end zone versus corner Darrelle Devis, which earned him a pat on the helmet from his QB.
Receiving back Shane Vereen made some noise of his own when working with Mallett. He recorded catches on back-to-back plays during 11-on-11 work in the red zone. The second of which, he carved down the sideline on a wheel route before snaring a touchdown catch over the head of linebacker James Anderson.
There were plenty of matchups between running backs and linebackers; Jamie Collins took on Stevan Ridley out wide, as did Dont’a Hightower on rookie James White.
Along the line, the defensive front also went against interior lineman Dan Connolly at center and Josh Kline at right guard for some time.
As the Patriots operated through all the offensive and defensive matchups, though, the first significant injury of camp also transpired. 27-year-old receiver Greg Orton, who was re-signed Wednesday, fell to the turf towards the end of practice in what looked to be a non-contact situation. Several of his fellow pass-catchers walked over to check on him before the cart arrived to take him off the field.
Not long after, the Patriots dispersed to different ends of the field.
Brady and tight end Rob Gronkowski went through individual work alone on the far side, running routes and throwing passes much like they did during the final minutes of Thursday’s session. Gronkowski, who did not partake any of the team drills for the second straight practice, looked comfortable from the feet up Friday. But it’s clear but he’s easing his way back.
Dobson is along those same lines. The 2013 second-round draft choice spent time catching tennis balls as the July 25 practice drew to a close.
The Patriots will open things back up at 9:15 a.m. Saturday, for what will be the first full-pad, full-contact practice of the 2014 summer.
Tags: Patriots Training Camp