By: Steve Balestrieri
On just another perfect day for football with sunny skies and temps in the 70s the Patriots took the field for their sixth practice session in full pads on the practice fields at Foxboro. It was a day dominated by physical, intensive play and one dominated by the defense.
Joining the missing today were Josh Boyce and Bryan Stork. Still missing practice were Aaron Dobson, Dominique Easley, Michael Hoomanawanui, Jeremy Gallon, Deontae Skinner and Chris Martin. Some of the rehabbing players could be seen running on the lower practice fields during practice.
Browner Brings the Boom: Former Legion of Boom corner Brandon Browner came with a reputation as a player that plays to the limits of the rules and is a big, physical specimen. Today Browner brought plenty of physicality and he and Kenbrell Thompkins were frequently matched up and the fireworks were plenty.
Browner frequently rode roughshod over Thompkins within the five yard cushion and beyond. Thompkins was giving it all he had as well and the two commenced to jawing at one another. After one play against Brandon LaFell, Patriots coach Chad O’Shea threw his hat to the ground, signaling a penalty on Browner.
Browner was incensed and started jawing at O’Shea who then gave a tongue lashing to Browner that could be heard all over the practice field. Browner was dragged off by a teammate and cooler heads prevailed.
Browner brings the element of size and physicality that the Patriots haven’t had in the secondary in many a year. He and Darrelle Revis have really upgraded the position and with Logan Ryan having a good camp, makes the future appear bright at this early juncture.
Revis is amazing to watch, he blanketed Julian Edelman and later Thompkins on plays so tight that Tom Brady refused to even throw the ball during 1-on-1 drills. He’s been everything advertised thus far.
Wide Receivers/Offense Struggle: Not surprisingly, considering the way Revis and Browner have been playing, the offense specifically the wide receivers have struggled. Admittedly without Dobson and Boyce is a daunting task but overall, the wide receivers not named Julian Edelman haven’t made a big mark during camp thus far.
During 11-on11’s in this morning’s session by my count Tom Brady was only 9-19, he finished with a poor sequence and was then picked off by Browner, which gave the defense reason to cheer.
Perhaps having Revis and Browner is a signal of things to come for the defense, but other than the running game and Edelman, the offense hasn’t set the world on fire IMO. It is still early but this will bear watching as we go forward.
Play of the Day: Backup linebacker Ja’Gared Davis had a thunderous hit along the sideline that decleated RB Stevan Ridley. That drew the oohs and ahs from the crowd.
James White continues to impress, he also is getting some quality reps with the first unit and seems to be a shifty runner who can cut without losing much speed and is a good option out of the backfield. Today, he also was in the mix with returning kickoffs along with Roy Finch and Derrick Johnson.
Good to see Dan Connolly and Tommy Kelly return to full action today, Kelly in particular looked good at the far end of the field in 1-on-1 drills with the offensive linemen.
After practice Bill Belichick had the team running wind sprints on the hill behind the practice fields.