Braxton Berrios is on a mission: Notes and observations from the first day of 2019 Patriots minicamp
By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
It’s always hard to glean too much from on-field performance at a setting like mandatory minicamp. But there’s always a handful of players, maybe even just 1-2, who stand out. Tuesday’s winner was second-year wide receiver Braxton Berrios out of Miami.
Redshirted with an IR move at the start of his rookie season, Berrios now finds himself with perhaps an even bigger opportunity to carve out a legit role in the Patriots offense. He certainly played like it during Tuesday’s practice, the second of the 2019 season open to the media. Berrios made a number of nice catches in team drills, including the most explosive one of the day.
The sophomore receiver feels he will be able to put his one year of acclimation to good use as he looks to make the 53-man roster, but also focuses on keeping the Patriots’ typical one-day-at-a-time approach at the forefront.
“There’s a little bit of an experience factor just being around and learning all last year, but at the end of the day I’m kind of taking this like a day one mentality each day,” Berrios told reporters after practice. “I’ve learned a lot this last year.”
It felt like a relatively light practice for the Super Bowl champions, and it’s important to realize that just because you had a good day in June doesn’t mean you’ll be having big days on the actual field in the fall. But on that note, here’s some nonsense I jotted down during Tuesday’s session.
— Berrios made the play of the day with a diving catch down the right sideline, hauling in a deep ball from Brian Hoyer. He beat rookie Joejuan Williams to get open down the field. The catch drew massive cheers from the sidelines, easily the loudest of the day for any play.
— Maurice Harris also stood out at receiver. He caught a couple of deep balls from Tom Brady during 11-on-11s, one down the right sideline and another over the middle. He definitely has good size and hands. The biggest question for Harris has always been staying healthy. So as Bill Belichick would say, that guy’s got a long way to go.
— Oh yeah – Brady was in attendance. He completed passes to Berrios, Julian Edelman, Phillip Dorsett (2), Harris, and rookie N’Keal Harry in an early walkthrough. The pass to Harry was basically playing catch, but it was nice to see No. 12 in action and throwing to his new toy.
— Brady worked to the side with Harry, White, and Ben Watson while most everyone else participated in special teams drills. He’s getting reps with Harry so surely all the cynics will calm down now.
— Harry looked to make a nice play when he tipped a high Brian Hoyer throw into his hands for a catch, but it appeared that Josh McDaniels wasn’t happy because Harry waited a little too long to look back for the ball. A good example of how sometimes it’s hard to tell who’s responsible for what on a miscue. Harry appeared to have issues lining up in the wrong spot at times. Growing pains should be expected with any rookie, despite Harry’s apparent importance to the Patriots offense as a rookie.
— Left guard Joe Thuney continued to take reps at left tackle. Sophomore Isaiah Wynn looks like he’s being eased in. It’s unclear what’s causing his lack of reps on Brady’s blind side, despite being the apparent favorite for that spot. Cole Croston and Dan Skipper also took reps at left tackle. At least Wynn was present, though.
— I have a very creative and imaginative new nickname for rookie punter Jake Bailey – Jakey Moonshots. All the kid does is launch mortars. The ball looks like it’s going to just keep going up. Bailey did drop one snap, though. That wouldn’t be ideal in a real game.
— Brady completed passes to Rex Burkhead and tight end Stephen Anderson in an 11-on-11 red zone drills. The biggest play of that session, however, came on defense. Second-year linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley corralled a Hoyer throw that was tipped at the line of scrimmage for an interception.
— Cornerback J.C. Jackson had an eye-popping pass breakup against White on a short throw. Jackson jumped the route and leaped in to knock the ball away. There’s no doubting his athleticism and ball skills. He looks like he’s ready to compete hard in a very crowded cornerback depth chart.
— It appears that the main pass-catching tight end role will come down to Watson, Anderson, Matt LaCosse, and Ryan Izzo. Undrafted rookie tight end Andrew Beck worked with the fullbacks (James Develin and rookie Jakob Johnson) during run game work.
More notes and observations coming on Wednesday from Foxborough.
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.