New England Patriots

By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com

Remember the fog that enveloped Gillette Stadium during the Patriots-Falcons game last season? That’s what the practice fields resembled on Monday, as the Pats took the field for one of the final public training camp sessions of the season.

Monday was a decisive victory for the defense in team drills, as Tom Brady had another big workload but didn’t look as sharp as he did on Sunday. The entire offense had its share of problems, while the defense also stepped up. Brady ultimately showed his frustration with the day by punting the ball into the bleachers. He didn’t have as great of form on the kick as he did when he punted in the 2011 AFC Divisional Playoff against the Denver Broncos.

One more public practice for New England before preseason game No. 2, and the last home game before the start of the regular season. Here’s what we saw down on the practice fields on Monday…

— Absent: RB Rex Burkhead, OT Marcus Cannon, LB Harvey Langi, RB Sony Michel, WR Matthew Slater

— Limited: CB Duke Dawson, DE Trey Flowers, CB Ryan Lewis, WR Cordarrelle Patterson

— Flowers, Lewis, and Patterson warmed up with the team before heading to the lower field. Dawson joined them not long afterward.

— The crowd on Monday may have been the loudest of all that attended public training camp practices. It wasn’t the biggest turnout in the so-so weather, but it certainly seemed to make the most noise. Every Brady completion drew a healthy roar.

— Brady and the receivers had some nice plays in 1-on-1 drills. Highlights included a deep ball to Phillip Dorsett, who got separation from Stephon Gilmore, and a Chris Hogan catch that he made while Gilmore was all over him in coverage.

— Brady was 16-of-29 in 11-on-11s in a down day overall for him and the receivers. Incompletions were a mixed bag of drops, miscommunication, and errant throws. But the secondary made some plays as well.

— At one point, Brady missed James White with a throw on the boundary. A frustrated No. 12 asked for the football back, then proceeded to punt it into the stands.

Eric Decker had a handful of drops, even in individual drills with Brady. Rob Gronkowski, Hogan, Devin Lucien, and Will Tye also had drops. Those were a consistent issue for the whole offense.

— Decker did have one nice moment in 11-on-11s, though. He caught a perfect throw from Brady over the shoulder of cornerback Jonathan Jones. Up-and-down day for the veteran receiver, and his experience alone could give him an edge toward making the team. But he needs to start holding on to the ball more consistently to set himself apart from others who are battling him for roster spots.

— Rookie cornerback J.C. Jackson stood out. He made an interception on Brady, out-working Phillip Dorsett for a jump-ball in the end zone. He also punched the ball out on Hogan after a catch in 1-on-1s, which may have been a forced fumble had it happened in a real game. Looked like Hogan took a couple of steps before Jackson knocked the ball loose. The rookie also had two pass breakups in 11-on-11.

Stephon Gilmore intercepted Brian Hoyer on a pass that appeared to be intended for Riley McCarron, who looked to run the wrong route. That’s not the first time McCarron has had a miscue with the playbook. McCarron also had a muffed punt during special teams drills.

— Undrafted rookie DT John Atkins had to run a lap for the second straight day. He took a lap along with Vincent Valentine after the pair had a miscue during 2-on-2 drills.

— Brady’s wheel route to James White continues to be a bright spot for the offense in team drills. Brady dropped it beautifully over rookie linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley, who impressively stuck with White in coverage. But there’s no defense for a perfect pass. Another good moment for Brady and White: After switching the protection on Kyle Van Noy, left tackle Trent Brown kept the linebacker at bay around the edge. Brady was able to get the dump-off to White in time. With a lack of depth at receiver and Julian Edelman suspended for four games, White has a chance to see a career-high in targets in 2018.

One more training camp practice will be open to the public on Tuesday, before the team gets ready for Thursday’s preseason showdown with the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles. You can expect one last camp report on Tuesday afternoon.

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.