The New England Patriots finally kicked off 2023 training camp in Foxboro on Wednesday morning. Here are 10 players (and a coach) who stood out to us in practice, for one reason or another…
WR JuJu Smith-Schuster
Finally, we got to see Smith-Schuster in uniform and in action on the field. But we admit that we’re stretching for standouts after what was a light start to training camp. That said, Smith-Schuster caught a pass that he carried into the end zone for a “touchdown” during an 11-on-11 red zone drill.
It was a simple, short catch over the middle, but if the Patriots are to have a productive offense in 2023, they’re going to need Smith-Schuster to move the ball with those simple plays on a consistent basis. His catch also came after two straight incompletions by Mac Jones to start 11-on-11, one of which was a throwaway due to pressure.
So, we can give Smith-Schuster credit for settling things down and being a safety valve for Jones. He also brought the positive energy between plays, pumping up the crowd and by extension his teammates. Mac Jones was certainly happy to have him out there.
“JuJu loves football and you can see the juice that he brings,” Jones said after practice. “He’s definitely really embraced everything. He’s working really hard, always doing the right thing. So we just got to be consistent and I know that he can bring that veteran leadership.”