The second day of 2014 Patriots training camp was a beauty: comfortably warm temps, sparkling sunshine, not a cloud in the sky. On the field, the action was even a little livelier than yesterday, with the defense getting the upper hand on the offense for the better part of the morning.
Of note from Friday:
…For the second straight day, the eight players on either PUP or NFI did not practice, although they were nearly all on the field rehabbing at one point or another: rookie DL Dominique Easley (ACL/NFI), DT Tommy Kelly (ACL/PUP), WR/spec Matthew Slater (PUP), CB Alfonzo Dennard (knee, PUP), WR Aaron Dobson (foot, PUP), LB Deontae Skinner (NFI), rookie WR Jeremy Gallon (PUP), and rookie Christ Martin (NFI). Added to the did-not-practice list was rookie DB Jemea Thomas (unknown). He was not spotted out there at all.
…Players continued to wear just helmets, shells, and shorts, as required by the collective bargaining agreement. Full pads will be allowed beginning tomorrow.
Check out photos from day two of Patriots Training Camp at Gillette Stadium on Friday, July 25, 2014.
…The punt units got the bulk of the special teams work on Friday. Early on, the gunners did a drill using an oversized hula hoop. The idea was to mimic the confined space at the line of scrimmage where coaches want the players to remain when fighting the vice guy at the snap (and to avoid going out of bounds). They also had kicker Stephen Gostkowski bounce a small basketball off the ground to simulate a punt bouncing in the red zone. The gunner would then try to catch it before it hit the ground, as if "downing" a punt inside the 10.
…Owner Robert Kraft made another on-field appearance at the start of Friday's session.
…Left guard and co-captain Logan Mankins was forced to take a penalty lap around the field after making some sort of mistake during the period when the offense was working exclusively with itself (the scout defense was made up of other offensive players). Running back Brandon Bolden and rookie QB Jimmy Garoppolo took one together a short time later after mishandling a handoff exchange.
…During the ball-security drill, where two defenders try to strip the ball away from an offensive player as he runs about 20 yards, safety Nate Ebner popped the ball loose from WR Julian Edelman. The ball squirted straight up in the air, but Edelman was able to secure it again without losing possession. That was one of the rare occasions in which a defender has knocked a ball out in that drill.
…QB Tom Brady worked for a second day on goal-line pass patterns with a handful of receivers. Today, Brandon LaFell replaced Danny Amendola in the foursome of pass catchers that included TE Rob Gronkowski, WR Kenbrell Thompkins, and Edelman. Amendola, however, was busy taking reps as a punt returner for the scout punt return team on the next field while that was going on. It seemed a bit curious that Amendola would have been sacrificed for that role in lieu of extra snaps with Brady.
…Rookie RB Roy Finch, who took kickoff return reps on opening day Thursday, was with Amendola in the punt return rotation on that scout team.
…CB Kyle Arrington made a nice pass breakup against Amendola during 7-on-7. Brady floated a pass down the right sideline, and Amendola looked to have made the leaping catch, but Arrington karate-chopped at the ball and knocked it loose before Amendola could get his feet on the ground.
…In goal line 7-on-7, TE Michael Hoomanawanui made a sweet, diving touchdown catch from Brady on the right side of the end zone, near the fan grandstands. The sellout crowd then erupted in cheers. Brady found Thompkins on a similar route two plays later. It's been a good start to camp for the second-year wideout.
…WR Greg Orton was carted off the field after landing awkwardly at the very end of 7-on-7. Several teammates came over to encourage him as he was lifted into the front seat of the cart. Looked like it could have been a serious injury, but it happened on the very far, right corner of the practice fields and obscured from view by many of the other players.
…Edelman and Arrington nearly got into a scuffle during team period red zone. After an incompletion to the opposite side of the field, the two jawed at one another, then shoved each other hard. Another teammate quickly stepped in and diffused the matter before it escalated. …Starting LT Nate Solder took a penalty lap after false-starting on the next play.
…One of the nicest plays of the day came during team 11-on-11 period. Backup QB Ryan Mallett hit RB Shane Vereen down the left sideline with a great wheel-route pass. Vereen was forced to make a leaping catch over LB James Anderson, but came down with both feet inbounds in the end zone for score. Perfect throw and solid individual effort by Vereen, who struggled in 2013 holding on to similar throws.
…Third-year LB Darius Fleming got some 1-on-1 coaching advice from BB at one point during a drill period between team sessions.
…Rookie QB Jimmy Garoppolo had a rough day. He first threw a really bad pick to LB Chris White, who was standing on the goal line right in the middle of the field, with no offensive players anywhere near him. White simply sat back and waited for the ball to arrive right in his waiting hands. Unclear why Garoppolo chose to throw to that spot. The rook then threw another INT a short time later, on the opposite end of the field. This time, the coverage on his receiver was tight, and the defender, first-year DB Daxton Swanson, outpositioned the intended receiver for the ball in the back of the end zone.
…Gostkowski has had a good start to camp. On team field goal attempts at the very end of practice, he has hit all seven of his tries, from various ranges, on both days of camp.