Sports Hub Patriots Podcast: Recapping Day 5 of training camp with Andrew Callahan of the Boston Herald
Jul 30, 2022; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots defensive end Christian Barmore (90) works with a training aid at the Patriots training camp at Gillette Stadium. Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports
The Patriots held their first padded practice of training camp on Monday, as the team begins the truly competitive part of the summer. Who got off to a hot start? Andrew Callahan of the Boston Herald joins Alex Barth to break down the action from Day 5.
(5:04) How big will Rhamondre Stevenson’s role be this year?
(8:48) A strong start to Year 2 for Christian Barmore
(12:50) Cole Strange’s first day in full pads
(13:40) Other standouts up front
(16:24) Cornerback battle update
(18:24) Tyquan Thornton’s performance so far in camp
(22:11) Looking ahead
More from 985TheSportsHub.com…
Patriots training camp notebook: Full pads on Day 5
Monday was like a second first day of Patriots training camp. Players wore full pads for the first time this summer, instead of the shells and shorts they were in last week.
With the padded practices comes more intensity – and more contact. This is really the first time players along the trenches – not just linemen but linebackers, running backs, and tight ends – can use their full skill sets during the process leading up to the season.
Who stood out on the first day these practices that more closely resembled real football? Here’s a look at Day 5 of Patriots training camp…
Second year jump underway?
Jul 30, 2022; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots defensive end Christian Barmore (90) after a drill at the Patriots training camp at Gillette Stadium. Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports
Monday saw most of the focus on the offensive and defensive linemen. No player from those groups stood out more than second-year defensive lineman Christian Barmore. Barmore won both of his one-on-one reps, and made some plays in 11-on-11 rushing drills as well.
There’s been plenty of buzz about Barmore taking a ‘Year 2 leap’ this season, with that potential progression being crucial to the Patriots’ defensive success. Nothing is ever conclusive after just one day, but he started on a very high level.
Jul 30, 2022; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots defensive back Marcus Jones (52), linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley (8) and linebackers coach Jerod Mayo Sr. (L to R) workout at the Patriots training camp at Gillette Stadium. Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports
While the focus was on the linemen, the biggest ‘contact football is back’ moment came from a running back and linebacker. During 11-on-11 drills, Rhamondre Stevenson burst through the line only to run right into Ja’Whaun Bentley’s waiting shoulder. Stevenson stumbled but stayed on his feet, although his helmet did pop off.
Stevenson and Bentley are two of the biggest hitters on their respective sides of the ball on the team. That sort of collision seemed to fire up the whole team.
Jul 30, 2022; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots nose tackle Davon Godchaux (92) works with a training aid at the Patriots training camp at Gillette Stadium. Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports
Overall, the defense gets the nod on the first day of full contact. The defensive line and linebackers were consistently getting a bigger push, and seemed to be playing with more purpose throughout the day. In addition to Barmore, Davon Godchaux had a couple of notable plays in that regard.
The defense usually has an advantage on the first day of full pads. It’s often a run-heavy day, so they know somewhat what to expect.
It’s not uncommon for these things to go back-and-forth as camp goes on. Tomorrow, one of the things to watch for will be if the offensive line punches back.
Malcolm Butler turns back the clock
Jun 8, 2022; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler (4) during the New England Patriots minicamp at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports
Monday was the first day Malcolm Butler really stood out during camp. Butler didn’t play poorly through the first week, but Jalen Mills and Terrance Mitchell appeared to be ahead of him through four practices.
On Monday, Butler was tasked with covering some of the Patriots’ top receivers including DeVante Parker and Nelson Agholor. Butler made multiple stops, including recording a pair of PBUs.
One of those pass breakups came in the back corner of the end zone covering Parker on a fade – a play that had been seemingly unstoppable to start training camp. When Butler was playing at a high level during his first stint with the Patriots, one of his best traits was being able to high-point throws – doing a good job timing his jump, beating receivers to the ball, and using strong hands to knock passes away. That’s what he did on the Parker play. Given he’s coming off a year away from the game, seeing Butler make a play like that – something he did regularly half a decade ago – is an encouraging sign.
Mac bounces back
Jul 29, 2022; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones (10) throws the ball during training camp at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports
Mac Jones was visibly frustrated after throwing an interception to end the Patriots’ last practice. He bounced back on Monday – but not right away.
Jones’ first pass of the day, coming in 11-on-11 drills, was picked off by Terrance Mitchell. Jones was trying to connect with with Tyquan Thornton over the middle, but Mitchell undercut the route.
After that, Jones seemed to lock in. He completed 10 of his next 14 passes in competitive drills. With the team stepping back from red zone reps and working more in the full field, Jones was able to spread the ball more, and threw deep a couple of times for the first time this camp.
For more on Jones’ day, Matt Dolloff has a full breakdown here.
Catch of the day
Wide receiver Tyquan Thornton during Patriots training camp on July 28, 2022. (Syndication: The Providence Journal)
There are a couple of candidates here, but let’s give today’s play of the day to rookie Tyquan Thornton. Early in practice, Thornton ran a go route against Joejuan Williams. Williams actually jammed Thornton good at the line, but Thornton recovered well enough to get into top gear. With that, he pulled away just enough for Jones to loft a rainbow throw over Williams, which Thornton reached out fully to grab.
This was one of the first time in camp we’ve gotten to see Thornton’s speed on display. It should give him a chance to be a difference-maker if he’s put in the right situations.
May 23, 2022; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots defensive back Jonathan Jones (31) walks to the practice field for the team’s OTA at Gillette Stadium. Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports
The Patriots’ secondary got a boost for Monday’s practice, getting three projected key players back. Cornerbacks Jonathan Jones and Myles Bryant and safety Jabrill Peppers all practiced for the first time this summer. Jones and Peppers had been on PUP after missing most of last year due to injuries. Bryant was placed on NFI the day before camp.
Meanwhile, Brian Hoyer and Deatrich Wise remain out. Both haven’t practiced since late last week.
The Patriots’ practice fields behind Gillette Stadium before Day 1 of Patriots training camp. (Alex Barth/98.5 The Sports Hub)
The Patriots will be back in pads again tomorrow. That practice begins at 9:30 a.m. ET with the gates opening for fans at 8:00. Bill Belichick is scheduled to speak before practice.
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.