The New England Patriots held their 13th open practice of the summer on Sunday, as they get ready for preseason action against the Green Bay Packers. A shorter, walkthrough-heavy day on the lower fields, practice was closed to the public but open to the media.
Here are seven players who stood out for the Patriots during Sunday’s practice, for various reasons…
TE Mike Gesicki
Gesicki gets a nod for Sunday because he made two great catches down the seam from Mac Jones during 11-on-11. He had to leap and twist a bit to snag the passes, but not excessively. The balls were well-placed by Jones in spots where only Gesicki could get it.
Jones and Gesicki are rebuilding momentum together. After a quiet start to camp, Gesicki has made some of the most impressive catches of the summer in recent weeks. No one else on the roster has Gesicki’s combination of size (6-foot-6, 34-inch arms) and skills in the passing game.
Hunter Henry repped some with the 2’s during Sunday’s practice, with Gesicki taking on more of a lead role at tight end. We wouldn’t read into that at all. But it’s a promising sign that Gesicki is getting meaningful reps with Jones and that the pair are hooking up for dynamic plays down the field.
Gesicki and Jones couldn’t connect on a third deep pass during the same 11-on-11 session, as safety Adrian Phillips disrupted the route enough to extinguish the play. But Phillips acknowledged after practice that the tight ends’ success in camp has been a welcome challenge.
“You can never have too many threats,” Phillips said. “You got a guy like [Gesicki], he’s a seasoned route-runner, just able to get open, able to add a little savvy to his routes. It makes it that much harder when you’re game-planning.
“It’s tough to go against him and Hunter [Henry] at the same time, but I think that’s making us a whole lot better.”