By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
If there’s anything that the first day of 2019 Patriots training camp may have taught us, it’s that as long as Tom Brady remains his usual self, the offense will eventually work itself out.
That may not necessarily be the case with the 2018 Patriots offense, but of course they won anyway, and Brady made big plays when he needed to. If No. 12 looked sloppy in Thursday’s practice, which was essentially a glorified extension of minicamp and a light day overall, we’d be sounding alarms. So it’s fair to point out that Brady was as sharp as he’s looked in any recent training camp.
Most of the team drills took place in the red zone and Brady hit his receivers with regularity. The drills weren’t totally non-competitive, as the defensive backs mixed in some pass breakups. But Brady spread the ball around healthily, completing passes in various team drills to Ben Watson, Braxton Berrios, Maurice Harris, Gunner Olszewski, Ryan Davis, Jakobi Meyers, Stephen Anderson, Rex Burkhead, Dontrelle Inman, N’Keal Harry, and James Develin.
At one point, it appeared that the entire defense needed to run a quick lap because Brady was picking them apart.
But all in all, there wasn’t much to glean from Thursday’s practice. Bill Belichick wasn’t kidding when he described it as a continuation of the lighter sessions we saw in May and June. Camp will truly ramp up on Saturday, which marks the first padded practice of the season.
Here’s what else we observed on day one…
— Absent: DE Michael Bennett, C David Andrews (undisclosed)
— PUP list: WR Demaryius Thomas, RB Sony Michel, OT Yodny Cajuste, DE Deatrich Wise Jr., S Nate Ebner, OT Cole Croston, CB Ken Webster
— Ebner participated in an early stretching period with the team. He appears closer than others to returning to full strength.
— S Patrick Chung (arm surgery) practiced in a red non-contact jersey.
— Thomas and Wise were spotted after practice. The former continues to work his way back from an Achilles injury, while Wise is recovering from an injury to his lower body.
— Brady worked to the side with N’Keal Harry and Ben Watson over two separate sessions. Josh McDaniels also worked with Harry and Brady for these drills. They seemed to be teaching Harry some of the smaller details that he’ll need to pick up to build a strong rapport with Brady as a rookie. That’s a tall order for the 32nd pick in the 2019 draft, but it’s clear that the Patriots are counting on him to become a reliable weapon as soon as possible.
— Danny Etling worked with the wide receivers. It looks like the now-former quarterback is trying to take the Julian Edelman route in order to earn a spot on the team. As a guy who’s never truly played receiver until now, he’s got quite a long way to go in that department.
— Isaiah Wynn did indeed take some snaps at left tackle with the starters on the offensive line. But there was also plenty of Joe Thuney in that spot once again. James Ferentz took David Andrews’ spot at center most of the time, with Ted Karras sliding in for Thuney at left guard. The Patriots appear to be easing Wynn in to what’s expected to be a major role for him as Brady’s blind side protector.
— Jonathan Jones recorded an interception during a red zone drill, jumping Berrios’ route to snag the ball over the middle. Jones also made a pass breakup on Berrios. J.C. Jackson and Keion Crossen also each made pass breakups, on Maurice Harris and newcomer Lance Kendricks respectively.
— Kendricks wore a Randy Moss 81 in his debut on the practice field for the Pats.
— Former Patriots receiver Troy Brown was on hand to help coach the receivers.
— Patriots owner Robert Kraft was in attendance. No helicopter arrival, though.
More training camp notes coming on Friday.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.