"We'll take a few days here to try to finish up our installation, get through some situational things, work on things we need to work on and then get ready for Philly at the end of the week," Belichick said.
Operating without three of the top four receiving options,
But other periods featured less-than-desired results that featured more than a few dropped passes. The coverage also seemed to give the receivers trouble at times, particularly on one play where
Overall Belichick was able to work his troops in a variety of situations in both 7-on-7 and in team periods. There was plenty of red area work and in between the punting unit got some reps as well.
He appears to be a solid route runner and showed good hands on most of the balls thrown in his direction. He's also working punt returns into his repertoire, which is something he hasn't had much experience at. He bobbled one on Monday
"I try to learn as much as I can from Julian in the film room and just taking notes mentally watching him practice," Ebert said. "I'm trying to see the good things he does and take that and learn from it. I'm just trying to get better each day."
As Ebert was speaking to reporters, Branch walked by behind his teammate, motioning to a pile of equipment laying on the ground as he left a quick message.
"Jeremy, don't forget the pads, bro."
"It's just part of being a rookie I guess," Ebert said after ensuring Branch he had it covered before finishing his thoughts on trying to win a job. "Everything's bigger, faster, stronger. It's the best of the best. It's not Northwestern anymore. It's the Patriots so it's going to be tougher."
In & Out
Third-year defensive end
"He had a good start with the offseason program [and] did a good job in the spring. He's working hard. He's out there every day, working hard, getting better," Belichick said. "The big thing is he's been out on the field every day – that's the most important thing, is to be able to work and improve and get better. His durability has been good. He's worked on a lot of little things – different reads, techniques in the running game, passing game, gained some experience. I think the whole lead-up to it has been good. He really hasn't had that the last two years. This is the first year he's really had an offseason program in the National Football League – offseason to spring camps and all that."
But despite Belichick's words, Cunningham's development still seems a bit stunted. He's consistently been with reserve groups at defensive end and recently has worked on the inside in some sub packages. On Monday he had a difficult time in 1-on-1 drills against the offensive line and wasn't able to gain much penetration as a pass rusher.
Perhaps the switch inside may allow him to use his speed to his advantage and potentially carve out a role for himself.
"We'll see how it goes," Belichick added. "I don't know that there's enough evidence to know how that's going to turn out. We've worked a couple of our ends in there. We'll see how it goes."
Fighting for five
McDonald played both tackle spots during the second half of the preseason opener against New Orleans and during practice has added both guard positions to his resume as well. On Monday he took several reps at right guard with the first group, replacing
It's something the third-year pro doesn't seemed fazed by in the least.
"It's not really that different," he said. "Scheme-wise you have to know different assignments, but playing center you know guard is doing and playing guard you know what the tackle is doing. So, it kind of all works together. You just have to know everything."
Few offensive linemen have the versatility to play all five spots and Belichick has been impressed with McDonald's ability to do so thus far.
"He played tackle in college but has primarily played inside in the NFL," Belichick said. "We don't have a lot of depth at tackle, so he was probably the most experienced guy with also the athleticism to be able to play the position.
"I thought really, he did a pretty good job out there [in the preseason opener], for not much practice. He hadn't done it in a couple years, and went back out there and did a pretty credible job. So it was great to see. There are not many offensive linemen in the league that can play all five spots. If he could do that, that would be very valuable to our football team."
While Belichick was impressed with McDonald's ability to step in, he did add he was "sure sure [Logan] Mankins could play anywhere on the line."
Buy: Deion Branch – Reports of the veteran's demise have been greatly exaggerated. After receiving little action in team periods over the past week, Branch was back at it on Monday, repeatedly getting open and grabbing passes from Tom Brady. Writing this classy wideout off would be a mistake.
Play of the day – In a true feel-good camp moment, converted tight end
In addition to Gronkowski, Hernandez and Lloyd, the Patriots were without 18 others. That list included the four players still on PUP –
According to ESPNBoston.com, the Patriots waived Davis after reaching an injury settlement with the wideout. Davis sustained a shoulder injury during the 7-6 preseason win over the Saints Aug. 9. If Davis goes unclaimed, the Patriots could re-sign him after Week 6, per NFL rules.
Kettani, Dennard, Ihedigbo, Larsen, Zusevics, Hix, Vollmer, Hernandez, Lloyd, Fells, Gronkowski and Pryor were all seen rehabbing their injuries on the fields. …