The first came, as is always expected, for quarterback
The second -- one that may have actually surpassed Brady’s ovation both in terms of length and intensity -- was for a guy who up until Wednesday wasn’t considered a lock to be working out to open training camp. But when
Now, while Brady went on to put in a full workout for the crowd’s viewing in a session that took place in helmets, jerseys (with numbers!) and shorts, Gronkowski was limited in his participation. The tight end did some positional work and worked with fellow receivers and the quarterbacks against air in some red zone situations, but he did not take reps in group or team action against defenders.
Still, having Gronkowski active and in attendance for the first day of camp, even on a somewhat limited basis, was a major boon for the Patriots.
While the tight end didn’t do a lot in group action, that was certainly not the case for second-year wide receiver
There will be plenty of focus on the development of the second-year receivers this summer, and on the first day of training camp work Thompkins took a very nice step in the right direction.
Beyond the Gronkowski and Thompkins highlights, here are one man’s other various blogservations from the first day of training camp practice:
Undrafted rookie running back
Easley’s work with the training staff included some pretty intense running while tethered to director of rehabilitation Joe Van Allen.
--Returning injured veterans who were hurt to close out last season who took part fully in the practice included
--The players sported new-look shorts for the workout. They have the look of the team’s game pants with red stripes down the sides. They also somewhat strangely have the word Patriots written on the back of the right leg.
--Gronkowski wore a black sleeve that included some brace-like support on his surgically-repaired right knee. He also wore the same large black apparatus on his surgically-repaired left arm that he donned during game action last season.
--There was a lot of time spent on kickoff return both in pre-practice work and during the session.
--Hawkins stood out a bit in practice not just for his reps as a kickoff returner, but the action he saw on defense against a Brady-led hurry-up offense late in practice. He was in a group that included many returning players and top candidates while the rest of the young/new players were doing the same drill on the opposite field. That immediately makes the undrafted rookie out of Delaware a guy to keep an eye on moving forward this summer. A year ago,
--The opening offensive line for most group and team action was the returning starting unit from last season with
--LaFell had a nice start to practice catching the ball and a decent day overall, up until he had a couple drops late in the session. He has a reputation for displaying inconsistent hands. After missing the bulk of the spring to an unknown injury it is a good sign that the veteran free agent addition was on the field and a full participant.
--The quarterbacks used a hula hoop for some drill work early. It looked like the toy hoop was used to focus on footwork.
--Speaking of drills and technique, Brady seems to have a slightly changed the end of his throwing motion. He appeared to be focusing on bringing his left arm across his body on his follow through, potentially something he’s worked on with his personal throwing coach, Tom House.
--Chad O’Shea broke out his tennis racquet to distract his receivers in position drills, swinging it in front of their face just before the catch.
--Gostkowski didn’t have the best of days. He missed four early attempts from inside of 40 yards, including two that hit the left upright. He was better later and as he backed up the distance. Gostkowski’s field goal attempts came on the new extended uprights that are five feet taller and will be used throughout the league under a rule change in 2014. A close inspection shows the rivets/bolts where the new sections were added on to the top of the structure.
--The team added fluorescent yellow beanies to the usual orange ones used to signify the scout team in special teams segments.
--PFW grand pooh bah Fred Kirsch observed that he believes that Vince Wilfork looks noticeably slimmer to open camp.
--Rookie second-round quarterback
--The running backs, particularly Vereen and White, were an active part of the offense throughout much of the session. There were plenty of screens and short routes for the backs.
--Brady was pretty vociferous in his praise of Amendola’s route running throughout the workout as the duo continues to build a rapport in year two together. The duo connected on a nice touchdown, beating
--Wendell had an off-target shotgun snap during the hurry-up action late in practice. That’s not ideal for a veteran who could be fighting to keep his job this summer with competition, including rookie fourth-round pick
--Having been in Foxborough all week and on the practice field earlier than the rest of the team a number of young or injured players donned pads at the end of practice for some extra work. That included running backs
--Those players meeting with the media after practice included Brady, Wilfork and Mayo as well as the team’s assistant coaches.
--New England will return to the practice field at 9:15 Friday morning for the second session of camp, which by CBA rules will once again be in shells and not shoulder pads. The session is open to the public.