New England Patriots

By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com

As a first-timer at live coverage of Patriots mandatory minicamp, my head was admittedly spinning at times. I also can’t speak as well as others to how different Tuesday’s practice looked compared to others, or how normal or abnormal certain things may have been. But I did my best to jot down some observations as I saw fit, and I’ll continue to do that as I attend more Patriots practices moving forward.

For veteran reporting, you can check out some comprehensive minicamp notes from Jeff Howe at The Athletic, Greg Bedard at the Boston Sports Journal, and Doug Kyed at NESN. But here’s what I got for you from Tuesday:

— Kenny Britt looked good before appearing to tweak his hamstring. His presence (or non-presence) at Wednesday’s practice will be something to watch for. But he made a few head-turning catches during his time on the field, including a pretty rainbow from Tom Brady for 50-plus yards. As long as he’s healthy, he has a chance to be the Patriots’ primary option as a big outside receiver.

— Brady got a ton of reps with the running backs in both handoffs and passing drills. Rex Burkhead and James White were first in line and looked the sharpest in their routes. Rookie Sony Michel looked fine at times, but also dropped a deep pass from Brady with a chance to make a big play.

Jun 5, 2018; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady walks onto the field before the start of practice at Gillette Stadium. (Photo Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports)

Jun 5, 2018; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady walks onto the field before the start of practice at Gillette Stadium. (Photo Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports)

— At one point during 11-on-11 drills, the offensive line committed a false start. This prompted Bill Belichick to loudly demand a lap from everyone on the field. Tony Dungy would not approve of the salty language Belichick used in that moment.

— There could be an interesting battle brewing at tight end behind Rob Gronkowski. The depth chart is crowded and murky after No. 87. Dwayne Allen could be in danger of losing a roster spot based on his contract alone (he’s due $5 million if he makes the 53-man roster, but would cost no dead money if cut before then), but he looked on-point on Tuesday. He caught every ball thrown his way. Troy Niklas also stood out with his size as he caught a couple of deep passes over the middle.

— Undrafted rookie J.C. Jackson continued to get starter’s reps at cornerback opposite Stephon Gilmore. He notably covered Britt well down the left sideline as Brady overthrew him in 11-on-11. Jackson looks to be the leader in the clubhouse as far as making the team out of the 2018 UDFA class.

— Without getting into details, it appears as if Cordarrelle Patterson will get a legitimate chance to get involved in the offense. He’ll almost certainly make the team as a kick returner, but don’t be surprised if Josh McDaniels finds ways to work him in as a receiver as well. He caught a couple of passes from Brady late in the practice, which drew some particularly positive reactions from the quarterback.

— At left tackle, Trent Brown (limited) started there prior to team drills. LaAdrian Waddle took over after that. It appears that Waddle will at least be the primary backup on the left side, while Brown will have an opportunity to seize the starting job. For the record, Isaiah Wynn also remains limited and started at left guard prior to team drills.

— Adrian Clayborn was disruptive during 11-on-11 drills. He blew up a sweep play intended for Chris Hogan off the right edge. Clayborn was also the first player to hit the field, followed by fellow free-agent acquisition Jordan Matthews.

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at matthew.dolloff@bbgi.com.


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