New England Patriots

New England Patriots

New England Patriots

Jun 12, 2024; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Drake Maye (10) and quarterback Jacob y Brissett (14) throw passes at minicamp at Gillette Stadium. Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY SportsJun 12, 2024; Foxborough, MA, USA;

The New England Patriots minicamp and offseason workout program came to a close on Wednesday with their final practice of the spring.

On Wednesday morning, the New England Patriots held their final minicamp practice of 2024. It was also the final day of their offseason training program, with players now off until training camp begins in late July (with the exception of the rookies, who will stay another two weeks).

The Patriots minicamp practice saw the team get right to work. There were fewer individual and position drills at the end of practice, with most of the time dedicated to team drills. Those team drills were mostly 11-on-11, and like the final period on Monday were often ran with a running clock and tracking down and distance.

One thing head coach Jerod Mayo stressed before practice was health. “I think first and foremost is to get out of here healthy,” Mayo told reporters when asked the goal for the final practice. “If we can get everyone out of here healthy, that would be a great thing. Today’s practice will be a little bit shorter, but also to go out here and compete in a safe way. We understand it’s a non-contact camp. We want these guys to compete, and we want these guys to continue to bond.”

Mayo was also asked about the few players who haven’t been able to get on the field this spring due to preexisting injuries. With the exception of Cole Strange, who will reportedly miss time into the regular season, Mayo said all of those players are on track to return to the field within “the first couple of weeks of training camp.”

With that health check out of the way, let’s get to what stood out on the field on Wednesday on the final day of Patriots minicamp…

  • Situational focus

    Jun 12, 2024; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Drake Maye (10) and quarterback Jacob y Brissett (14) throw passes at minicamp at Gillette Stadium. Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

    Jun 12, 2024; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Drake Maye (10) and quarterback Jacob y Brissett (14) throw passes at minicamp at Gillette Stadium. Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

    For most of practice, the Patriots’ 11-on-11 work involved a running clock and a referee crew from the league tracking down and distance and calling penalties. While there’s still the key caveat of these being unpadded, non-contact practices, this was as about high-intensity as a spring practice will get.

    As was the case on Monday, the defense dominated most of these reps. The front in particular had a strong day, highlighted by the impact of Keion White rushing off the edge. Mayo cited White as an early example of a player who was standing out to him in the spring, and White has continued to build as the offseason program has gone on.

    The defense did force one turnover during this period. Marte Mapu came on a blitz up the middle that the Patriots’ offensive line struggled to adjust to, creating pressure in the face of Drake Maye. Maye tried to rip the ball quickly over the middle, but cornerback Azizi Hearn – who was a standout on Monday – jumped in front and picked it off.

    In a trend that’s built throughout the summer, it was mostly Jacoby Brissett and Maye running the offense during these periods, in that order. Bailey Zappe only got one drive in 11-on-11s, as his workload continues to decrease.

  • A way to go on the offensive line

    FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - MAY 29: Caedan Wallace #70 of the New England Patriots walks to the field during the New England Patriots OTA Offseason Workout on May 29, 2024 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS – MAY 29: Caedan Wallace #70 of the New England Patriots walks to the field during the New England Patriots OTA Offseason Workout on May 29, 2024 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    A big reason the offense struggled to move the ball was the play of the offensive line. Again, these are non-padded practices so this comes with a key caveat, but for the most part both quarterbacks were getting moved off their spot relatively quickly, and their production in 11-on-11 contrasted with what we saw during 7-on-7 periods.

    Part of the issue may be the Patriots are still looking to find their best five-man combination up front (Mayo told reporters before practice not to look too much into the line combinations as reflections of a solidified depth chart). Rookie Caedan Wallace repped at both tackle spots on Wednesday, getting as much work on the left side as we’ve seen all spring. Calvin Anderson was also used as more of a swing tackle than what we’ve seen in the past. Chuks Okorafor remains planted on the left side, with Vederian Lowe working on that side as well.

    For the second day in a row, Mike Onwenu played both tackle and guard. Nick Leverett, who has been the most-involved guard after returning starter Sidy Sow, saw some work at center for the first time since the early days of the spring.

  • Standout receiver

    Jun 10, 2024; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Kayshon Boutte (80) makes a catch at minicamp at Gillette Stadium. Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

    Jun 10, 2024; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Kayshon Boutte (80) makes a catch at minicamp at Gillette Stadium. Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

    The most active receiver on the field on Wednesday was second-year wideout Kayshon Boutte. Boutte caught four passes including three touchdowns – two of which were back-corner toe-taps from Drake Maye on back-to-back plays over Alex Austin and Mikey Victor.

    This was the first big day of the spring for Boutte, who faces a bit of an uphill battle to make the roster given the number of receivers the Patriots added this offseason who figure to be ahead of him on the depth chart (Polk, Baker, Osborn). Consistency was also an issue for him as a rookie, so once training camp rolls around the big thing for him will be proving he can stack days like this together.

  • Under-the-radar running back

    Jun 10, 2024; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots running back JaMycal Hasty (39) runs the ball at minicamp at Gillette Stadium. Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

    Jun 10, 2024; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots running back JaMycal Hasty (39) runs the ball at minicamp at Gillette Stadium. Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

    It’s tough to fully evaluate running backs at this point on the calendar, especially with the lack of contact. That being said, JaMycal Hasty has done a lot to help himself out this spring. He’s looked effective as a receiving option out of the backfield with good burst, and has significant special teams experience as well.

    When it comes to the third running back spot behind Rhamondre Stevenson and Antonio Gibson, Hasty certainly has done the most of the players competing for that job. For bigger backs like Kevin Harris and Deshaun Fenwick, their time to shine will come when the contact increases. For now though, Hasty has had a strong spring.

  • The cornerback battle grows

    Jun 10, 2024; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots cornerback Azizi Hearn (42) stretches before the start of minicamp at Gillette Stadium. Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

    Jun 10, 2024; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots cornerback Azizi Hearn (42) stretches before the start of minicamp at Gillette Stadium. Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

    Each practice, it seems like another player is making his case in the battle for depth outside cornerback spots. Alex Austin, who had a pass breakup on Wednesday, seems to be leading the group but there may be another spot on the roster after him as well.

    Azizi Hearn, who intercepted Drake Maye on Wednesday, has made his case this week. But the best cornerback from that group on Wednesday was Marco Wilson, a former fourth-round pick who the Patriots claimed on waivers late last year. He had one pass breakup on Wednesday, climbing the ladder to knocked a 50/50 ball away from Kawaan Baker. There were other times in 11s where he simply had solid coverage on his assignment.

    Austin, Wilson, Hearn, Isaiah Bolden, Shaun Wade, and Mikey Victor. Those are the guy who will be competing for one or two spots come the summer (plus rookie Marcellas Dial if he’s healthy, he’s been limited this spring). Based on what we’ve seen this spring, that could be the most competitive battle of camp for the Patriots.

  • Special teams check-in

    Patriots kickers Chad Ryland (37) and Joey Sly (13) and punter Bryce Baringer (17) work on kickoffs during Patriots OTA practice. (Alex Barth/98.5 The Sports Hub)

    Patriots kickers Chad Ryland (37) and Joey Sly (13) and punter Bryce Baringer (17) work on kickoffs during Patriots OTA practice. (Alex Barth/98.5 The Sports Hub)

    For the second practice in a row, the Patriots split the live kicking reps between Chad Ryland and Joey Slye. They each kicked once from 32 yards, once from 42, and twice from 47.

    Both hit from 32, but Slye narrowly got his in as he clipped the flag at the top of the left goal post. From 42 both connected as well, but again Slye just tucked his in – this time on the right side.

    For the 47-yard kicks both hit their first attempt. On the second, Ryland missed wide right. Then Mayo iced Slye as he got ready for his kick, and he pushed it wide left as he was already in the motion when the timeout was called. He bounced back on the ‘live’ kick though, putting it right down the middle.

    Overall, neither kicker did much to distance themselves this spring. Ryland was 15-of-19 for the spring but had two kicks sail directly over an upright. Slye received limited live work, and was flirting with the goalposts on Wednesday.

    As for the punt unit, they did one team period on Wednesday. We don’t do hangtimes like we usually do, because they were punting from around the 50 yard line so they were purposely shorter kicks. That being said, all five of Bryce Baringer’s kicks were downed inside the 20.

  • Attendance

    Jun 10, 2024; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Tyquan Thornton (11) walks to the practice fields for minicamp at Gillette Stadium. Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

    Jun 10, 2024; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Tyquan Thornton (11) walks to the practice fields for minicamp at Gillette Stadium. Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

    There were a couple of new absences on Wednesday. Wide receiver Tyquan Thornton and offensive tackle Tyrone Wheatley missed practice after being on the field on Monday. Wide receiver Kendrick Bourne, offensive linemen Cole Strange and Jake Andrews, and linebackers Jahlani Tavai and Sione Takitaki remain out due to injuries. Linebacker Josh Uche returned after missing Monday’s practice.

  • What’s next?

    Jun 10, 2024; Foxborough, MA, USA; A general view of the New England Patriots practice fields at minicamp at Gillette Stadium. Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

    Jun 10, 2024; Foxborough, MA, USA; A general view of the New England Patriots practice fields at minicamp at Gillette Stadium. Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

    The Patriots might be done with practice for the spring, but most of the team will stick around – at least for a few more hours. Most of the roster is expected to attend Tom Brady’s Patriots Hall of Fame induction ceremony inside Gillette Stadium on Wednesday night.

  • 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 [email protected].

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