Brady – who celebrated his 36th birthday -- took the first series of the day and drove his team to a touchdown. He then retreated to the sideline for the rest of practice as
The format allowed for a lot of extra reps for many players, and a few who seemed to take advantage on offense included Tebow,
Here are one man’s observations from the cloudy, cool practice fields behind Gillette Stadium:
--The list of players not practicing continued to grow on Saturday as
Ebner limped off the practice field on Thursday. He was on the field in uniform on Friday, but went to the bikes after stretching and did not take part in the practice. He was not seen on Saturday.
The rest of the 12-man list of practice absentees included previously injured players
Harrison and Gronkowski were both on the field in shorts.
--A pair of key young players did not seem to take part in the scrimmage despite being on the field in uniform. For the second straight day
-Josh McDaniels served as the “head coach” of the white squad that was built around his first-unit offense. Matt Patricia led the blue team and his top defensive players.
--With Connolly, Cannon and Green all out of action, second-year Iowa player
--With the teams going both directions during the scrimmage, a temporary digital play clock was set up on the far end of the practice field nearest the fan bleachers.
--Just to paint the picture, the hash marks on both practice fields were freshly painted.
--The separate Patriots “teams” took the scrimmage seriously as they warmed up and stretched on separate fields as two distinct groups.
--Pepper Johnson wore a “Happy 40th Birthday Tom” shirt on the field to celebrate what was actually No. 12’s 36th birthday. Johnson joked with reporters afterwards that he was the only “fool” to wear it as apparently every member of the team had one. Sounds like that was an inside prank by one of Brady’s teammates. Any guesses on the mastermind?
--Not only does Brian Daboll (who seems to be limping pretty badly with a left knee injury) work with Tebow nearly all the time on the field, the two actually walked step for step onto the practice field together on Saturday.
--Tebow once again worked as a personal protector in pre-practice punt work.
--Prior to getting the scrimmage underway it seemed that
--The first drive for the white side seemed to stall and the unit attempted a short field goal that Steven Gostkowski hit. But Bill Belichick threw his visor in the air on the kick to call a penalty on the blue team. With the drive extended Brady went on to score a touchdown.
--While the divide between the teams and the first and second units on both sides of the ball was clear for the most part, there were a few players who didn’t fall exactly as the depth chart might expect.
Amendola, Edelman and
--During one punt return rep, both Edelman and
--Sudfeld made the most of his time working with the top two quarterbacks. He caught a nice play down the left side on one of Brady’s first throws of the day. Later he seemed to connect almost endlessly with Mallett, including a number of would-be touchdowns. It was easily the rookie free agent’s best practice of the summer and looked reminiscent of the consistent positive performances he was putting forth during spring practice.
--Showing his always entertaining style and competitive nature,
--Tebow’s first drive for the blue team ended with a Gostkowski field goal, at least in part due to a badly underthrown ball intended for Dobson down the right side.
--Thompkins had a solid day catching the ball – and fighting for some other throws that ended up being broken up – in his work for the white team. Also a good sign that he wasn’t wearing the tape job on the back of his right leg that he had been sporting earlier in camp. If he can stay healthy, No. 85 certainly looks like he can very much compete physically. Both he and Dobson have not problem going after and fighting for the football.
--Not sure we’ve noted this yet, but Harrison has massive arms. He is one yoked-up receiver. Be good to see him get on the field and see what he has to offer as an oversized pass catcher. His arms almost rival those of Hulk’s – Adrian Wilson.
--The second offensive line, working for the blue team, from left to right, consisted of
--Connolly spent some time at the far end of the field in the usual offensive line area doing some technique work with a large hanging bag dummy.
--Tebow also had his best practice of the summer. He ran primarily more traditional Patriots plays, rather than the Pistol and option work he took part in on Friday, although he did run at least one designed QB draw that likely would never be called with either Brady or Mallett under center. Though he still had a few ugly throws mixed throughout, Tebow had a number of nice completions down the field. He particularly succeeded in that area connecting with Quentin Sims. Tebow has a nice knack for throwing the ball to a spot on deep fades. He also had a nice completion down the right side throwing to a spot for Boyce, who ran past
--Green really seemed to struggle throughout in coverage. He was on the wrong end of many of Tebow’s long completions.
--Though coverage remains a concern for Adrian Wilson, he did have a pass defense on the much younger Sudfeld at one point.
--Building on his extensive reps on Friday,
--The scrimmage even included a short halftime with the players staying with their respective groups, resting and going over a few things.
--Gostkowski came on to kick a field goal late for the white team. Based on the way Brady and his teammates celebrated it seemed it may have been the scrimmage-winning kick.
--In post-practice action Mallett ran a pass route with Tebow in coverage. Tebow fell badly for an inside move and Mallett easily caught the pass near the right sideline.
--Sudfeld, Tyronne Green, Spikes, McCourty, Arrington, Amendola,
--The Patriots will not have practice on Sunday. The team will return to the practice field at 10 a.m. on Monday for what will likely be a walk through before New England will get on a plane that afternoon to head to Philadelphia for a couple days of joint practice with the Eagles prior to Friday night’s preseason opener.
For more information about Patriots Training Camp including the latest practice schedule please visit www.patriots.com/trainingcamp