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PFW's Patriots OTA Blogservations
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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England’s first week of OTA workouts at Gillette Stadium came to an end Friday morning as the media got its first chance to observe the action in shorts/sweats, helmets and – making many observations difficult – no jerseys.
The lack of jerseys with numbers made some observations and an accurate attendance difficult, but there was plenty to take from the morning session that took place under sunny skies and pretty warm conditions given the recent cool weather.
--Second-round quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and undrafted free agent tight end Asa Watson were not on the field as they were in Los Angeles taking part in the NFLPA’s Rookie Premiere. The annual event gives select young players the chance to see the business of football and includes marketing opportunities with top NFLPA business partners including Panini America, Topps, Nike, EA SPORTS, Pepsi, USA TODAY Sports, Bose, élevée, Uber, Original Retro Brand, and Fandeavor. The more than 35 players in attendance will also don their Nike NFL jerseys for the first time as they take part in a football card photo shoot at the LA Coliseum.
--A very unofficial count during pre-practice stretching saw 79-ish players on the field in Foxborough. Some players not seen at any point during the workout from this vantage point included Logan Mankins, Alfonzo Dennard, Aaron Dobson (foot), Brandon Lafell and Dominique Easley (ACL).
--A group of rehab players took part in the pre-practice stretching before heading to the Dana-Farber Field House with the team’s medical and strength and conditioning staff. That group included Rob Gronkowski (knee), Tommy Kelly (knee), Armond Armstead (infection), Nate Solder, Brandon Bolden, Vince Wilfork (Achilles), Jeremy Gallon and Will Smith (knee).
--Jerod Mayo, returning from a torn pectoral that landed him on IR last fall, seemed to take part fully in the OTA session, remaining with his linebackers/defense throughout the morning.
--Darrelle Revis took his expected spot at left cornerback throughout the workout with a group of defensive backs that often included Devin McCourty, Duron Harmon and Logan Ryan, with Brandon Browner and Kyle Arrington getting plenty of reps too.
--Patriots owner Robert Kraft watched the session from between the two practice fields.
--Bill Belichick spent a good deal of time before and early on in practice talking to Mike Lombardi, his longtime friend and now assistant to the Patriots coaching staff.
--Brian Daboll continues to be listed as an offensive assistant on the Patriots roster, but clearly spent the morning working primarily with the tight ends. That work with that position group drew praise from Josh McDaniels after the practice.
--Joe Andruzzi isn’t officially listed on the roster as part of the strength or medical staff, but he was working with the rehabbing players as he’s done so often in recent years.
--Wilfork seemed to be quite healthy and active in his pre-practice work, moving with seemingly no limitations or limp. At least that how it looked from afar.
--Danny Amendola was a full go for the workout, showing no limitations or signs of the groin injury that slowed him most of last season.
--During 7-on-7 and team action a lot of passes seemed to hit the ground, while others were bobbled or double caught. Given the early point in the process it’s not surprising, but simply worth noting.
--Brady was very vocal in working with his receivers in some group work early in practice. The quarterback was throwing back shoulder fades and chiding receivers who broke stride too early or didn’t sell the Go route well enough. He also tutored guys on not pushing off, or at least not making it obvious they were pushing off.
--Sebastian Vollmer was seemingly a full participant in offensive line drills and action despite finishing last year on IR with a broken leg.
--Punter Ryan Allen – he of Burgertyme fame – got off plenty of impressive, booming kicks working off to the side as well as in team special teams action.
--PFW’s Paul Perillo made an Andy Hart-like immediate reactionary observation early in practice saying that second-year receiver Josh Boyce “looks a lot more confident.” Boyce did have a pretty impressive practice from this vantage point, although he did have at least one bad drop. The undersized speedster also seemed to be getting plenty of reps on the outside.
--A lot of young players took reps at returner on punts, including undrafted rookie Roy Finch and second-year receiver Kenbrell Thompkins. The former looked pretty impressive in the role while the latter struggled a bit. Finch is an intriguing, undersized (make that tiny) athlete to keep an eye on out of Oklahoma.
--The coordinators – McDaniels and Matt Patricia – used headsets to call in the plays during team drills late in practice. This is the earliest I can remember seeing the headsets being put to use in the offseason process.
--Everyone aside from the specialists/returners ran conditioning sprints on a hill beyond the far side of the practice fields late in the session. The man-made, turf hill was added to the practice field area behind Gillette Stadium last year and includes yard markers and is often used by the offensive line. The entire team got to fight the uphill battle that is conditioning on this day.
--Not surprising given the multiple ACL tears he’s suffered to open his NFL career, free agent linebacker Darius Fleming wears a large brace on his left knee.
--Michigan undrafted rookie linebacker Cameron Gordon caught my eye in some drills and team work. He looks to have some decent length and athleticism at a position that will have open competition for backup spots.
--All of the coordinators and position coaches met with the media after practice along with a group of players that included the likes of Darrelle Revis, Brandon Browner, Danny Amendola and Kenbrell Thompkins.
--The Patriots will hold OTA workouts again next week on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, although only the Thursday session will be open to the media. All the workouts are closed to the public.
Revis 5/30: This is a new adventure for me
Browner 5/30: Great group of guys on this team
Boyer 5/30: We're trying to build on each day
Amendola 5/30: It's fun practicing against Revis
Thompkins 5/30: I'm focusing on my job
McDaniels 5/30: I can still see Brady improving
Patricia 5/30: We're working on communication
Roster Report 5/30: Recapping week one of OTAs Read