By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
As expected, the Patriots took it very easy on a temporary grass field at Gillette Stadium on Monday night. But the playing surface wasn't going to stop them from holding their annual private practice for season ticket holders, even if it was just a walkthrough with no padding beyond helmets.
The practice encompassed mostly light team drills and a lighter walkthrough with Tom Brady manning the offense much of the time. Brady spread the ball around to targets old and new as he continues to work toward building a connection with some of the newcomers while staying fresh with more familiar faces.
-- Absent/PUP: WR Julian Edelman (thumb), WR Demaryius Thomas, WR Dontrelle Inman, CB Ken Webster, DL Byron Cowart, S Nate Ebner, OL Cole Croston
-- Edelman was present but did not participate in drills. He still needs a few weeks before he's able to return fully from a reported broken thumb.
-- Patrick Chung practiced in a regular jersey, but that might be meaningless. There was nothing even close to contact in this practice. We'll see if he's back to full-bore when they put the pads back on later this week.
-- Tom Brady ran two situational 11-on-11 drills down the field with the offense. He completed passes to Phillip Dorsett, James White, Rex Burkhead, Braxton Berrios, and Maurice Harris. He hit Dorsett and Berrios in the end zone. Not much to read from these largely noncompetitive drills, other than who's out there in the first place.
-- Brady threw Dorsett's way a lot in 11-on-11. Dorsett appears to grasp the Patriots offense and hold Brady's trust more than ever, which should all but assure him a roster spot considering the uncertainty elsewhere at receiver.
-- There was one drop in 11-on-11s, and it was rookie N'Keal Harry. He had his man beat down the left sideline and the ball dropped in nearly perfectly for him, but he couldn't complete the play.
-- Dan Skipper continued to get time with the starters at left tackle. Isaiah Wynn continued to be mostly a spectator. The rest of the line remained intact: Joe Thuney, David Andrews, Shaq Mason, and Marcus Cannon.
-- Andrews looks all the way back from whatever held him out for the start of camp. He participated in team drills for the first time.
-- The starting defense against the scout team offense looked to be in dime. Here's the full lineup: Derek Rivers, Adam Butler, Dont'a Hightower, Kyle Van Noy, Jamie Collins, Stephon Gilmore, Jason McCourty, Jonathan Jones, Devin McCourty, Terrence Brooks, and Obi Melifonwu. Brooks has been getting looks at safety over Duron Harmon, but it'll be hard to tell what their real plans are at that position before Chung is back in full.
-- Patriots Hall of Famers and other former Pats who were on hand for Rodney Harrison's induction ceremony were spotted on the field talking to various members of the organization. Former linebacker and current NFL Network analyst Willie McGinest held court with Michael Bennett, Deatrich Wise, rookie Chase Winovich, and others. Ty Law, Deion Branch, Kevin Faulk, and Rob Ninkovich were also among the former Patriots spotted chatting it up.
No media availability for the Patriots on Tuesday. Training camp coverage continues on Wednesday, with times to be announced.
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].