By: Steve Balestrieri
The Patriots conducted their fifth practice of training camp under beautiful clear skies and temps climbing into the low 80s by the end of the session.
It was a physical and intense session, one could hear the pads popping all across the field and it was a very productive session for the coaches to evaluate. Bill Belichick even broke out the old “Oklahoma Drill”, something that hasn’t been seen in years. Uber-athletic Jamie Collins excelled in this tackling drill where both players lie on their backs and then the defensive player must tackle the ball carrier. Zach Moore also mad a nice play bringing down the tough Develin.
Among the missing were WR Aaron Dobson, ST Matthew Slater, LB Deontae Skinner DL Dominique Easley, WR Jeremy Gallon, CB Jemea Thomas, G Dan Connolly, TE Michael Hoomanawanui. Slater, Dobson, Easley and Gallon worked out on the far end of the field with the training staff.
Bryan Stork suffered a lower leg injury halfway thru the session and did not return. Ryan Wendell took the majority of the snaps after his injury. Alfonzo Dennard returned from the PUP List and worked in some individual drills while running conditioning drills with the training staff at other times.
Julian Edelman seemed to catch everything thrown at him all morning, easily the most impressive of the Patriots WRs; Edelman draws coverage from Darrelle Revis most of the time he’s on the field. He made a fantastic one handed grab diving to grab the pass with Kyle Arrington in tight coverage.
Play of the Day 1: WR Brandon LaFell who has had a so-so camp thus far, made a beauty of a catch on a perfectly thrown bomb by Tom Brady, beating both Malcolm Butler and Nate Ebner. The play drew thunderous cheers from the large crowd in attendance.
James Develin continues to have a good camp, besides in the running game (more to that later), he lined out wide a few times and took a few snaps at tight end as well. Develin is a big, physical guy and really packs a punch. In a goal line play at the far end of the field, he opened a hole for Stevan Ridley with a pop you could feel all the way across the field…that drew some oohs and ahhs from the crowd.
Rob Gronkowski continues to work on the side with Tom Brady and coach Brian Daboll. But today Revis joined in providing coverage, albeit very loose coverage but showing he’s a good soldier as well. A particularly poignant moment occurred later when Revis and Brady stood and compared notes and plenty of smiles to boot. It can’t be stressed enough how different the defense looks with Revis out there.
Revis and Logan Ryan were excellent today at the corners with Brandon Browner showing his noted physicality. It will be interesting to see if the NFL cracks down as they say they will on the jams on how that will affect Browner’s game.
Play of the Day 2: In 11-on-11 drills, Ryan Mallett threw a lateral to Julian Edelman. Edelman faked and then threw a strike to Danny Amendola in the end zone. While it was a cool bit of razzle-dazzle, it was probably a teaching point for the defense never to lose their focus. And for the former QB Edelman, a chance to showcase his arm…Slash Edelman? No….I don’t see that happening. Was fun to watch however.
Former Offensive Coordinator Charlie Weis, now the head coach at Kansas was on the field today. He spent some time before practice with Bill Belichick and after was talking animatedly with Julian Edelman and then Brady.
Wednesday’s practice is scheduled for 9:15 am…. Stay tuned.