Back in full pads on Monday, the Patriots focused heavily on team drills during their 11th training camp practice. Even though both quarterbacks recorded high completion percentages, they were tested throughout the afternoon.
There was no better example of this than Adrian Phillips, who has looked like the team’s best defensive player through two-plus weeks. Midway through practice, Phillips snagged the lone interception of the day. Working against Jonnu Smith, he jumped an underneath route thrown with plenty of zip by Cam Newton. Phillips reacted quickly and was able to get his body in position before Smith could, grabbing what likely would have been a pick-six in a game.
Towards the end of practice, Phillips showed up in a big way once again. A Cam Newton-led two minute drill was nearing the end zone, but Phillips once again out-fought Smith to the spot and broke up a pass along the end line. It was as good of a throw as you could ask for from Newton, and Smith didn’t necessarily do anything wrong, it was just a better play by the Patriots’ 29-year-old safety.
Last week, Phillips spoke about being more comfortable in the Patriots’ system with a year of experience under his belt. “Last year I was kind of – I wouldn’t say ‘training wheels’ program – but I was still trying to learn everything, probably like halfway during the season,” he said. “So now, with it being the new year, I’m a lot more comfortable, the calls are coming a lot more quicker, a lot more easier. And it’s just – I feel comfortable.” That comfort has shown through the start of camp.
Here’s more news and notes from Day 11 of Patriots training camp…
For more on Day 11 of Patriots training camp, check out today’s recap podcast featuring Zack Cox of NESN.
Alex Barth is a writer and 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. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at abarth@985TheSportsHub.com.