By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
On Wednesday morning I noted that while Braxton Berrios was the best Patriots receiver on the field in the first practice of minicamp, it could be someone else the next day. Well, Wednesday belonged to Maurice Harris.
The former Redskins receiver has actually had two good days early in minicamp for his new team. But on day two he stood out among the rest. Tom Brady looked to favor him during team drills, a possible sign that he's doing his job according to what the quarterback is looking for.
Overall, it felt like a lighter practice with less intensity than Tuesday. But there were still some notable items to scribble down a it went on. Here are some other takeaways from day two of minicamp.
-- Absences were the same as Tuesday: RB Nick Brossette, OL Yodny Cajuste, S Patrick Chung, S Nate Ebner, RB Sony Michel, WR Demaryius Thomas, and DE Deatrich Wise. It's unclear what's up with Brossette, Ebner, and Michel. The rest are confirmed or reported to be recovering from injuries or surgery.
-- The 11-on-11s with simulated crowd noise (in the form of a rockin' soundtrack) were the closest to competitive team drills. In those sessions, Brady completed passes to Harris (3), Rex Burkhead, White, and Dorsett.
-- Soundtrack during 11-on-11s: Pearl Jam, "Daughter" and "Alive"; Metallica, "Enter Sandman"; Guns 'n' Roses, "You Could Be Mine".
-- Brady worked to the side at one point with receivers N’Keal Harry, Phillip Dorsett, Dontrelle Inman, Damoun Patterson, and undrafted rookie Jakobi Meyers. Former Patriots receivers Troy Brown and Deion Branch helped Brady in the side work with the receivers. It basically looked like Tom Brady's Fantastic Football Camp™.
-- Brady did another side session with what could very well be his top-4 targets in Week 5: Julian Edelman, James White, Ben Watson, and Harry. Watson is serving a four-game suspension to start the season.
-- Harris stood out the most among the receivers. He made three catches from Brady in one single 11-on-11 session, the closest thing to competitive team drills as the team cranked the music. Harris is showing good hands so far and appears to be running his routes the way Brady and Josh McDaniels want. We’ll see how he looks in more competitive drills moving forward, but Harris is looking like a legitimate candidate for the 53-man roster.
-- There looks to be a pretty good competition brewing at tight end between Matt LaCosse and Stephen Anderson. Sophomore Ryan Izzo and undrafted rookie Andrew Beck are also in the mix. But as far as pass-catchers, LaCosse and Anderson have looked the most natural in those roles so far.
-- Once again, Isaiah Wynn was a spectator during team drills. It will be hard to tell what the plan could be at left tackle until he starts getting into the mix. It’s unclear why the Patriots aren't comfortable yet putting him in there.
-- Quarterback Jarrett Stidham fumbled a snap at one point during a team drill. He had to run a lap for his error. He looked decent throwing the ball, though, completing passes to Anderson, Watson, and Braxton Berrios in various 11-on-11 drills. He still appears to be holding on to the ball too long, but it certainly looks decent coming out of his hands.
-- Patriots owner Robert Kraft again made time to check out the practice. Wednesday marks his 78th birthday.
-- Harry made what might have been a spectacular leaping catch late in an 11-on-11 red zone drill. If it were a real game the stupid replay review could have overturned it because the ball looked to hit the ground. But Harry is flashing his contested catch ability at times.
-- Stephon Gilmore very nearly picked off Brady at one point during 11-on-11s when he targeted Dorsett. Safety Terrence Brooks had a pass breakup during 11-on-11s and in a late two-minute drill. Duron Harmon also broke up a pass intended for Anderson.
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].