Patriots training camp notebook: Secondary still swarming on Day 4
Jul 29, 2022; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Nelson Agholor (15) and defensive back Terrance Mitchell (39) run a drill during training camp at Gillette Stadium. Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports
The Patriots wrapped up the first block of their 2022 training camp practices on Saturday. This was another unpadded session, same as the previous three days. While the team kept a situational focus, there was more full field work compared to the red-zone heavy schedule of the first three days.
Who made the most of the final practice of the week? Here’s a look at the standouts…
Jul 30, 2022; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots cornerback Joejuan Williams (33) covers wide receiver Lil’Jordan Humphrey (83) at the Patriots training camp at Gillette Stadium. Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports
This was another strong day for the Patriots’ secondary. After recording three interceptions on Friday, they came back with seven pass breakups during team drills on Saturday. Those breakups came from seven different players – Jalen Mills, Terrance Mitchell, Malcolm Butler, Justin Bethel, Joejuan Williams, and rookies Jack Jones and Marcus Jones. A number of those PBUs came against the Patriots’ top receivers.
Normally, non-padded practices give an advantage to the offense. That hasn’t been the case the last two days. It will be interesting to see if this trend continues when the pads come on next week.
Kyle Dugger bounces back
INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA – DECEMBER 06: Kyle Dugger #35 of the New England Patriots during warm up before the game against the Los Angeles Chargers at SoFi Stadium on December 06, 2020 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
On Friday, Kyle Dugger allowed three touchdowns to the Patriots tight ends, which ended up being the headline story of the day. However, the third-year safety bounced back in a big way on Saturday.
Dugger looked competitive in coverage through most of Saturday’s practice, then put the exclamation point on his day during the final period. In full-field 11-on-11s, Dugger diagnosed a short hitch concept run by DeVante Parker. Dugger perfectly timed his cut, stepped in front of Parker and caught the ball in stride. In a game, that play turns into a walk-in pick-six.
Prior to his performance on Saturday, there had been some questions about Dugger’s performance to start camp. Keep in mind though, his physicality is one of his best traits, so it wasn’t surprising to see him look a little out of sorts this week. Expect him to continue on this upswing when padded practices begin.
Jul 29, 2022; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Jakobi Meyers (16) catches the ball during training camp at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports
Through three days of camp three of the Patriots’ top four receiver all had catch-of-the-day candidates. Jakobi Meyers added himself to the list on Day 4.
During 11-on-11 red zone work, Mac Jones threw a fade to Meyers in the back corner of the end zone. Meyers climbed the ladder and beat both Shaun Wade and Terrance Mitchell to the ball.
The battle among the Patriots’ top wide receivers projected to be one of the best of camp this year. So far, all four – Meyers, Parker, Kendrick Bourne, and Nelson Agholor – have all made a strong case early on.
Jun 8, 2022; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Brian Hoyer (5) during the New England Patriots minicamp at Gillette Stadium. Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports
Saturday’s practice attendance was the same as Friday’s. Deatrich Wise missed his third day in a row, and Brian Hoyer his second.
Jonathan Jones, Jabrill Peppers, and James White remain on PUP. Myles Bryant, Chasen Hines, Quinn Nordin, and Andrew Stueber are still on NFI.
Gillette Stadium Practice Field (Jim Louth/98.5 The Sports Hub)
After four days of practice in a row to start training camp, the Patriots will be off on Sunday. They return to Gillette Monday morning for what will be the first padded practice of the year.
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 @RealAlexBarthor via email at abarth@985TheSportsHub.com.