Another training camp practice is in the books for the New England Patriots. This one came with some attrition and possible new injuries, but nothing major beyond the absence and subsequent release of wide receiver Jordan Matthews.
The practice had a low-intensity feel to it, which has been fairly consistent from what I’ve been able to see, but still a step up from non-padded practices. This could simply be a matter of the team gradually ramping things up as camp goes along. It could also explain how they’ve been able to avoid major injuries like torn ACLs, unlike some other teams – but Matthews’ hamstring injury was apparently a significant one.
Anyway, here are some other notes and takeaways from the day…
— OUT: Jordan Matthews (he was later released)
— LIMITED: RB Mike Gillislee, S Nate Ebner (PUP), WR Matthew Slater (PUP), WR Malcolm Mitchell, DL John Atkins, CB Keion Crossen, CB Jonathan Jones (PUP), CB Cyrus Jones (PUP), WR Kenny Britt (PUP)
— During one drill, Tom Brady worked closely with Rob Gronkowski, Chris Hogan, James White, and Phillip Dorsett. Could very well be his top-4 targets to start the season, with Dorsett making strides and the former three being roster locks. Dorsett appears to be in Brady’s circle of trust right now.
— Brady had a 1-on-1 talk with WR Cordarrelle Patterson at one point when they were between drills. He appeared to be coaching up the new Patriots wideout on route-running and getting to the right spot on certain plays. That’s arguably the most important quality for a Brady receiver to have. Patterson has stood out with his size and athleticism, at times making highlight-reel catches, but the knock on him has always been an inability to pick up offensive systems.
— RT Marcus Cannon and RB Sony Michel both had to leave practice early. No word yet on what’s ailing them, if anything.
— When Cannon was on the field, he was once again the starting right tackle. From left to right, the starters are still Trent Brown, Joe Thuney, David Andrews, Shaq Mason, and Cannon. LaAdrian Waddle continues to take over at RT when Cannon isn’t on the field.
— With Gillislee and Michel off the field, Jeremy Hill got plenty of reps with the starters. Brandon Bolden got some snaps as well, at one point getting some loud compliments from Brady for a solid run.
— RB Rex Burkhead continued to mix in as a punt returner. He and Braxton Berrios each had a drop during those drills. Riley McCarron also continues to get looks at that spot.
— DT Vincent Valentine had to run a lap at one point, but at times it slowed to a trot and even a hands-on-hips walk. Not the best look for the third-year defensive tackle, who could be on the bubble this fall.
— OL Isaiah Wynn once again played left tackle with the second team. From left to right, the backup O-line was Wynn, James Ferentz, Ted Karras, Ulrick John, and Cole Croston.
— The Patriots continue to rotate Malcom Brown, Danny Shelton, and Lawrence Guy on the defensive interior. Shelton is the only one who has truly stood out so far, but the depth of the defensive line continues to look like a real strength for the team overall. There’s no clear leader for the most snaps at that position.
— Deatrich Wise got most of the starters’ reps on the right edge, opposite Trey Flowers. He has consistently impressed and looks to be climbing the depth chart, with as good a chance as anyone to make a leap forward in year two.
— Perhaps the top highlight of 1-on-1 drills came from a nimble-looking spin move by FB James Develin (!) that beat LB Harvey Langi. He won’t have the ball in his hands too much this season, but Develin remains a favorite of the coaching staff and pretty much a lock to make the roster.
More notes and observations coming on Thursday.
— 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@example.com.