The New England Patriots are off and running at 2018 training camp. The full pads don't go on until Saturday, but Friday marks the second day of practice for the team as they get ready for the coming campaign.
If Thursday's launch was any indication, Friday may not be nearly as intense as it will be when the players get more physical on Saturday. But there were things to take away from the first practice, mainly which players got first team reps at positions and roles that are up for grabs this summer. Friday will be interesting to see if those same players are continuing to play in those same spots.
Here are some quick things to think about - and, for the fans in attendance, to watch for as practice unfolds - as the Patriots hit the fields for day 2:
-- The Brady & Gronk connection. It's alive and well, based on Thursday's results. Every time Gronk reeled in a pass from Brady (three of them total, per Jeff Howe), the crowd understandably erupted. It's paramount that this duo remains in sync for the majority of training camp to mitigate any concerns, fair or not, that might be harbored for the potential of the offense.
-- Does Isaiah Wynn move up the depth chart? The rookie offensive lineman played a lot of left guard during Patriots minicamp, but it appears he has a shot at left tackle as well. However, he played LT with the second team behind Trent Brown on Thursday while incumbent Joe Thuney took over at LG. New England's top 2018 draft pick could be competing with Brown to be the starting LT, and he should certainly have a chance to unseat Thuney as well.
-- The starting cornerback battle. Eric Rowe was back in a first-team corner spot opposite Stephon Gilmore on Thursday, but was mostly supplanted by rookie J.C. Jackson during minicamp. Bill Belichick's next move at that spot is anyone's guess at this point, and Rowe may remain the top candidate as the No. 2 corner. But Jackson and fellow rookie Duke Dawson, who mostly plays the slot, have already made enough noise to have the potential for more on Friday.
-- How does Sony Michel look - on offense? Michel will almost certainly make more appearances as a blocker in kickoff drills. But interestingly enough, the rookie got some first-team reps with the Brady-led offense as well. He has yet to really make a "wow" play in a practice open to media, but appears to be inching toward making that leap eventually. Saturday might really be his day, but he's become more of a player to watch than he was early on.
-- More progress for Phillip Dorsett? The receiver worked closely with Brady and Julian Edelman on one particular drill. It looks like the Patriots are at least attempting to use Dorsett in some of Edelman's usual roles. He also caught a touchdown and made a few other nice catches during team red zone drills. He looks to be first in line after Edelman and Chris Hogan at receiver, one of the top spots up for competition entering camp.
-- By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
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 [email protected].