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Blogservations: Another feisty joint session with Bears

New England and Chicago went at it again in full-pads practice battle.

View a collection of the best images from Patriots Training Camp practice in Foxborough on Tuesday, August 16, 2016.

While things didn't get as crazy as they did a day earlier when a minor brawl broke out on the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium, the Patriots had another player kicked out during Tuesday's joint session with the Bears.

This time it was scrappy center Bryan Stork who was sent to the locker room a little more than midway through the session when he lunged and head butted Chicago's John Timu after the Bears linebacker gave the New England center a slight push at the end of an 11-on-11 play.

Not only do these teams have a recent history of plays crossing the line, Stork does as well given that the center was ejected from a spring OTA practice for punching defensive line teammate Woodrow Hamilton.

Stork's head butt wasn't the only extracurricular issue of the day. Bears defensive back Harold Jones-Quartey put a shoulder into a jumping, spinning Julian Edelman in one drill that sent the Patriots receiver to the turf and put things on edge momentarily. Later, Bill Belichick called out one of his defensive players for not adhering to the tempo of a drill and threatened to remove him if he couldn't follow the rules of practice engagement.

Overall it was another pretty physical, intense practice between the two teams. The Bears seemed to bring a bit more energy to the field, most notably on defense where guys like Akiem Hicks brought the thunder in the trenches and vocally celebrated a number of plays in 11-on-11 action.

Beyond the second-straight day of fine-line-between-competition-and-fighting events, here are one man's blogservations from a partly cloudy practice field in Foxborough:\

--The temperatures were much more comfortable for the workout, with clouds keeping things in the 80s. The morning session also allowed the teams to get the day of work in before some heavy afternoon rain fell at Gillette Stadium.

--The Patriots PUP list remains the same, with Dion Lewis (knee), Tre' Jackson (knee), Sebastian Vollmer and Danny Amendola (knee/ankle). Jackson was on the field in his jersey and still wears a brace on his left knee. Amendola also was on the field wearing his jersey and watching, occasionally playing catch with Brady.

--Those players not seen on the field included Brandon Bolden, Bryce Williams, Shea McClellin, Jonathan Cooper (foot), Rob Gronkowski and Jabaal Sheard. Bolden and Gronkowski were new additions to the absentee list, while McClellin and Sheard missed their second straight day.

--Those players on the field but not taking part in practice included Malcolm Mitchell (elbow), D.J. Foster, Donald Brown (hamstring), Keshawn Martin, Rob Ninkovich (triceps) and Nate Ebner. Ninkovich did some walking along the outer fence of the practice field during practice, which is at the top of a pretty steep hill. First time I've seen a player do this, which seems at little precarious.

--Jamie Collins had a quick chat with Bears offensive lineman and fellow Southern Miss alum Jason Weaver before practice got going.


--During pre-practice work the punt returners got some reps in with the JUGS machine. The group added the wrinkle of holding one football in their hand while catching the punt with their free hand. The group consisted of Edelman, Chris Harper, Cyrus Jones and V'Angelo Bentley. Edelman actually attempted to do it holding two balls in his hands, throwing one in the air while trying to catch the punt. It didn't go very well, ending with two of the three balls on the grass.

--The first group of linemen in pre-practice work, from left to right, were once again Nate Solder, Joe Thuney, David Andrews, Shaq Mason and Marcus Cannon.

--During pre-practice routes with the quarterbacks, Alshon Jeffery made a pretty impressive, one-handed, left-handed catch in which he had to jump and twist his body all the way around to the left. Quite a sight, even in a drill with no defenders.

--Continuing to note the unique equipment other teams bring to the practice field, the Bears use plastic tubing structures in a big arch that players must get low to run through in drills. It's a different version of the chutes that linemen use at all levels of football, these these were for skill position players.

--The Patriots 7-man sled that was used by the defense for conditioning at the end of Monday's practice made its way back to the far end of the field where Dante Scarnecchia's offensive linemen work out each day.

--The Bears also use the big inflatable workout/ab balls that are common in most gyms as a tool to kick into the legs of the quarterbacks as they work on their pocket footwork.

--Former Patriots special teams coach Scott O'Brien was on the field for the third straight day, against dressed in shorts, sneakers and a light tropical shirt. O'Brien seems to be taking on a somewhat hands-on role on the field and isn't simply just hanging around for a casual three-day visit.

--Tedy Bruschi, who was broadcasting from the side of the practice fields for ESPN, was on the sideline chatting with Tom Brady early in practice.

--The competitive portion of practice got rolling with 1-on-1 drills between the pass catchers and defenders. Maybe the most notable action in the work was Malcolm Butler getting beaten multiple times by Bears second-year receiver Kevin White. Butler struggled with the smaller, quicker Brandin Cooks last week against the Saints and this week has struggled with the bigger bodies of White (6-3) and Jeffery (6-3). Jeffery also beat Butler badly for a big gain in 1-on-1 work down the right sideline.

--A large group of Dean College football players was in the crowd watching the workout. The players were very vocal as they watched the 1-on-1 drills unfold, especially when Edelman left veteran Bears defensive back Tracy Porter in his dust.

--Robert Kraft walked on the field early in practice action, watching from between the fields for a while before retreating back down the stairs to Gillette.

--Overall the offensive players continued to get the better of the 1-on-1 drills for both teams.

--Jacoby Brissett continues to need work on his short accuracy. He badly missed Steven Scheu on an out cut in the 1-on-1 work, leaving the tight end unable to even reach for the off-target pass.

--During punt coverage work, Matthew Slater ran down and right over Bears returner Kieren Duncan after he hauled in Ryan Allen's punt. The play was legal as no fair catch was called for, though given the rest of the action the last couple days it was worth noting. Also worth noting that Slater and Duncan hugged each other and tapped each other's helmet to show no ill-will after the play.

--Early in 7-on-7 action Jimmy Garoppolo hit a crossing Martellus Bennett for what would have been a big gain as the tight end turned up the field and turned on the burners. It was the type of potential catch-and-run that will make the Patriots offense very hard to defend when the entirety of the weapons are on the field together. It's what could keep opposing defensive coordinators up at night this regular season.

--Edelman upped his workload on Tuesday to include more 7-on-7 work and some reps in 11-on-11 action. He looked sharp in his cuts and caught the ball well.

--During the 7-on-7 work Bennett and Edelman combined on the lucky play of the day. Garoppolo tried to hit the tight end just over the left goal line, but the ball deflected off his hands and landed with the slot receiver who had been working across the back of the end zone. Sometimes being lucky leads to scores as well.

--Clay Harbor had a drop in the 7-on-7 work on the goal line. The veteran shows inconsistent hands on almost a daily basis in camp practice.

--It was hard to see too many of the 1-on-1 drills between the offensive and defensive linemen, but Bears offensive lineman Sam Acho easily got by Cameron Fleming in one rep.

--Jay Cutler certainly liked the matchup of White on Butler in 7-on-7 work, twice hitting his young receiver for a touchdown in a short span of plays.

--Tom Brady looked good hitting Edelman in the drills, the duo clearly quite familiar connecting through the air.

--Devin McCourty, who is sporting a new look this summer with a completely bald shaved head, had his helmet knocked off working as a vice guy in punt return action. Wonder if the lack of hair has changed the way his helmet fits?

--Tyler Gaffney and LeGarrette Blount both took runs both in red zone and coming off the goal line. Gaffney again seemed to find more room to run, more burst and more success in his attempts. This is a potential role/roster battle that is very much worth watching in the coming weeks.

--Worth noting that when Edelman took the hit from Jones-Quartey, who apologized after practice, that Aaron Dobson was the first to come to his fellow receiver's aid.

--Hicks was a force from his spot on the left side of the defensive front throughout much of the team action. On one play he blew up the block from Bennett and left the tight end on his butt. A couple plays later Hicks flashed in pass rush and batted down a Garoppolo throw. At this point the former Patriot was flexing, waving his arms to urge the crowd on like it was a home game and putting forth almost guttural screams.

--Belichick has talked about liking to be on the field and up close with his players in 11-on-11 action, a view not afforded to him during games. Today, at one point he actually went to the line of scrimmage alongside Garoppolo as the quarterback stepped up from the shotgun to make his calls/adjustments.

--Nate Solder was out of action for a few reps late in practice. Trainers attended to him and removed his left shoe for a while. Shortly thereafter the left tackle had his shoe back on and returned to practice reps.

--New England did a lot of rotating at the defensive tackle position throughout the practice. At times the front had Malcom Brown, Terrance Knighton and Alan Branch all on the field together. Other times the front included a lighter athletic look with Chris Long, Trey Flowers and Geneo Grissom. The defensive tackle bodies were jettisoning in and out on almost a play-by-play basis for a short time in team action.

--Cutler ran a nice naked boot, only to find tight coverage from the secondary and Long chasing him out of bounds for no gain/a potential sack.


--Jeffery beat both Butler and McCourty for touchdowns in 11-on-11 action.

--Marc Mariani beat Cyrus Jones for a score, the young cornerback struggling with the veteran slot receiver the last couple days.

--Though Garoppolo seemed to take a lot more of the early reps in drills throughout the day, Brady was very vocal in his support of teammates when he got his chances in drills.

--Harbor got up slow after taking a hit to the lower back on one play. He left the drill and walked around the field for a long time under the watchful eye of the training staff.

--In one red zone rep Brady's hard count got the Bears to jump offside. With the free play it looked like Brady wanted to throw a fade to Washington on the right side, only the veteran newcomer ran a route to the inside. The two clearly weren't on the same page and Brady had a discussion with his teammate as he returned to the huddle.

--Brian Hoyer hit Joshua Bellamy for a touchdown, easily beating Justin Coleman.

--Vincent Valentine doesn't get a ton of notable reps. The rookie third-round pick also doesn't seem to get much push when he's on the field in pass rush situations. The young defensive tackle was tended to by the training staff after practice while stretching with his positional teammates. Something to keep an eye on.

--Ted Karras took reps at center for Brissett during the "opportunity" portion of practice.

--Brady spent a lot of time 1-on-1 working with Bennett on the side field during special teams work. He was clearly working on the finer points of what he wants from the tight end in his routes and then throwing to him after the on-field discussion.

--Bears coach John Fox and Belichick chatted together at various points throughout the practice, seemingly more so than has been the case with other coaches in the joint settings.

--Darryl Roberts jumped offsides on one field goal block rep.

--The Patriots defense finished up with conditioning work by running sprints as a group on the side field. The rest of the players from both teams went to The Hill on the far corner of the field for post-practice conditioning work.

--By the time Branch was done with conditioning and stretching, the big defensive tackle walked off the field with no cleats on. Must have needed to air the barking dogs out a bit after a tough workout.

--Fox had a handshake, hug and chat with his former tight end Bennett after practice.

--The Saints players utilized cold tubs outside of Gillette under the of a storage building after practice.

--Those players talking to the media included Cre'Von LeBlanc, Chris Hogan, David Andrews and others.

--The teams will return to the practice field at 10 a.m. Wednesday morning for what it likely to be a lighter, situational practice that's open to the public prior to Thursday night's second preseason game. As always, check for any last-minute practice updates or schedule changes.

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