Tuesday’s action took place in front of a massive crowd that actually overflowed onto the ramps of Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, fans enjoying the show under partly cloudy skies with mild temperatures thanks to cool breeze.
The two-and-a-half-hour session was obviously in full pads and saw plenty of work on the passing games for both teams, with the first and second units of each squad seeing plenty of battle time against the opposition. There was also some “opportunity” time for the younger players to show their stuff and try to prove their mettle against a foe wearing a different color jersey.
In addition to the Eagles visiting, a crew of NFL officials was also in attendance for the workout. And as was the case last Thursday night for the preseason opener in Washington that meant plenty of flags were being thrown throughout the practice. It started in early 1-on-1 drills and continued right through group and team action. The crews of officials met with the media earlier in the day and forecast that something in the range of 20-plus penalties was likely to be the norm through the preseason schedule as players and officials get used to the new rules and points of emphasis, but that the flags would probably become fewer once the regular season starts.
Beyond the flying Eagles and flags, here are one man’s better-late-than-never blogservations from the emerald green hill beside the Patriots practice fields:
Wilson, both Davises and Anderson were on the field in shorts and holding their helmets. Stork spent time on the elliptical machine during practice on the far end of the field.
Two players who returned to action were
New England also reportedly sent a future draft pick to the Packers in exchange for former second-round defensive end Jerel Worthy. That deal is contingent on Worthy passing a physical, which is notable given that he’s dealing with a back injury and was on the non-football injury list to open camp in Green Bay after failing his physical. Worthy was the 51st overall pick out of Michigan State in 2012. He dealt with a torn ACL to close out his rookie year and played in just four games a year ago while recovering from the injury.
The two trades add depth to a defensive line that’s been hit by injuries of late to both Chris Jones and Siliga, having also lost Armond Armstead to retirement earlier this offseason. It also could be insurance for guys coming off injury like
Could be that Belichick was finalizing one of the deals when he was walking onto the field to get to work on his daily practice duties. As he always says of his players, the more you can do…
--The Patriots flip flopped their practice jersey colors, with defensive players now wearing white jerseys and the offensive guys wearing blue. Probably helps to differentiate in practice work against the Eagles, with the Philly offensive players wearing dark green and the defenders in white.
--A couple random notes from the Eagles side of the practice field early on: The ball boys wear stripped jerseys that make them look like officials…or Foot Locker employees. And the offensive linemen use bags in drills that have player’s numbers on them.
--With all the many bodies on the two regular practice fields, New England’s specialists warmed up down the hill on the Revs practice field.
--Easley took part in the 1-on-1s with the Philly offensive line, but it was hard to see his success from afar and with players blocking the view. Still, that action is a good sign for the rookie first-round pick as he works to full health from the torn ACL that he suffered early in his final season at Florida.
--Some of the first-year Patriots getting the call on the initial kickoff team during the special teams segment included
--McCuller had a nice pop on Eagles kick returner Damaris Johnson that sent the tiny player tumbling to the turf.
--The Patriots were in a 3-4 look for 7-on-7 action, meaning one of the two outside linebackers would feign a rush and not be part of the coverage on each snap. At one point in the drill
--During New England’s turn returning kicks the return men were pairings of
--Finch obviously had ball security issues on returns in his debut in Washington. He also seems to make too many stop cuts on returns, including on kickoffs when the main goal is generally to hit it up as fast as possible and change direction on the fly.
--With Mayo absent from practice, as well as Anderson, Dont’a Hightower slide inside next to
--Nickel situations saw a lot of Darius Fleming coming in at linebacker with Kyle Arrington as the fifth defensive back. Kelly and Vellano were the guys coming off the field.
--One of the more popular parts of practice with young fans at camp is when the kickers kick field goals into the crowd on the hill at the end of one of the fields. Youngsters, and the occasional fish-out-of-water adult, attempt to catch the balls to throw back to the field. Tuesday the same kid dropped a pair of balls and didn’t seem too happy with himself. To be fair, the balls were coming as a rapid pace with three different kickers getting their work in.
--Dennard continues to get limited reps in group/team work, but did show impressive hustle to chase down running back Henry Josey after a would-be long run.
--Butler took reps with the top defense, switching in at left corner for Revis.
--Based solely on a comparison of joint practice results, the Eagles certainly seem to have a much better defense than the Redskins. A week ago Brady and the Patriots aerial attack carved up Washington with ease. That was not the case for Tuesdays workouts as Brady found the coverage much tighter, the yards more difficult to earn and even had to pull the ball down without finding an open receiver on a couple occasions.
--Brady had one deep ball down the right sideline that fell incomplete with both LaFell and Amendola in the near vicinity. It certainly looked like one of the receivers was in the wrong spot as the play just didn’t appear to come off correctly.
--Brady hit Edelman on the right side by the goal line in the red zone. The receiver stopped and tried to cut back and actually tumbled into the end zone while an Eagles defender was being called for a horse collar foul.
--Brady and Vereen had a miscommunication on a crossing route in the end zone. Brady’s pass fell incomplete and he then went up to the passing back to show him what he was supposed to do on the play.
--Mallett ran the second unit without any seeming limitations after missing two days of practice.
--Eagles tight end Will Murphy had one of the worst drops/examples of stone hands that I’ve seen in a while from an NFL player. Wow.
--Nick Foles found Darren Sproles (yes, that rhymes) for a completion down the left side with Hightower trailing behind in coverage. The linebacker has said he hates chasing little backs in coverage and this was another example of him struggling in that role.
--After being challenged by Giants president and CEO John Mara, Belichick, Kraft and the entire Patriots team took the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge at the conclusion of Tuesday’s practice.
--Players speaking with the media after the session for the Patriots included Darrelle Revis, Logan Mankins, Aaron Dobson and many others.
--The Patriots and Eagles will return to the practice field Wednesday morning at 9 a.m. for another joint workout. Due to weather forecasts for poor conditions, the workout is not open to the public. The media will be in attendance. The team’s next public practice session will be next Monday with the time to be announced later.