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Blogservations: Patriots light up in-stadium practice

New England puts on a nighttime show in front of a large Gillette crowd.

View a collection of the best images from a special in-stadium Patriots Training Camp practice for Season Ticket Members inside Gillette Stadium on Monday, August 1, 2016.

Following up Kevin Faulk's induction into the Hall at Patriot Place, Patriots fans moved inside Gillette Stadium Monday night for the team's annual season ticket member practice on the game field.

Bill Belichick made the swift change from a dress shirt and pants to his cutoff crew sweatshirt and coaching attire. Tom Brady, who made crowd-pleasing surprise appearance at Faulk's induction wearing the running back's No. 33 jersey, also jumped right back to work a few hundred feet away on a beautiful summer night.

After two days of heavy, full-pads hitting over the weekend this practice took place in helmets, shorts and shells.

The practice lasted less than two hours, made up of lots of team drills broken up into separate groups on opposite ends of the field with some of the more experienced, high-level players battling on one end and the rest of the offensive and defensive squads going at the lighthouse end of the stadium.

The workout also included work in all phases of the kicking game.


Here are one man's blogservations from the red level of the press box inside Gillette Stadium:

--Julian Edelman (foot), Danny Amendola (knee/ankle), Deion Lewis (knee), Tre' Jackson (knee), Sebastian Vollmer (ankle) and Clay Harbor remain on PUP. None of the players was seen on the field during the practice.

--Alan Branch remains on NFI, but was seen on the field watching.

--Those active players missing the workout included newcomers Jonathan Freeny and Chris Hogan, the wide receiver appeared to suffer a shoulder injury on Sunday. The rest of list was Keshawn Martin, Jonathan Cooper and Bryan Stork. None of the five was on the field.

--Veteran receiver Nate Washington remains out of action, though on the field watching. He vomited on the field on the first day of practice – due to something he ate – and has not practiced since.


--Logan Ryan and Duron Harmon remain in red, non-contact jerseys, although they seem to take part fully in practice.

--Patriots marketing employees threw t-shirts into the crowd during pre-practice stretching.

--Willie McGinest quickly changed out of his Hall of Famer red Patriots blazer and into an NFL Network polo to get on the field to cover the practice for the league's network.

--Hall of Famer Tedy Bruschi watched the early part of the practice from the sideline after taking part in the Faulk ceremony. Later during 11-on-11 action, Bruschi stood on the sideline right next to defensive coordinator Matt Patricia as the coach called into the defensive signals over his headset. Bruschi was a coach on the field when he played and some thought he might be an option as a real coach in his retirement.

--Robert Kraft took in the practice from Gillette sideline.

--Rob Gronkowski spent a lot of time talking to former New England special teamer Niko Koutouvides on the sidelines during one special teams segment. Gronkowski also celebrated a nice sideline catch by running down the field another 20 yards to tap Koutouvides with the ball. Belichick also came over to chat with his former player for a few minutes midway through the workout.

--NFL Network urged on a group of fans for some loud cheering for a shot at one point.

--The practice took place on the beautiful new artificial surface that was installed this offseason at Gillette Stadium, freshly freed after being covered for the recent Coldplay concert. The surface looked very good from the press box view, but the rubber pellets between the faux blades may need to settle a bit before it's in prime playing condition.

--The first special teams segment of the night was kickoff. For the scout team, rookie Cyrus Jones was back deep with James White next to him as the up returner. The second rep saw Ryan Allen handle a post-safety free kick, with Jones back deep flanked by V'Angelo Bentley and Chris Harper, though they did not have a full return unit in front of them. Bentley and Donald Brown were then back deep for another traditional kickoff.

--The first team rep on offense saw an offensive line, from left to right of Nate Solder, Joe Thuney, David Andrews, Josh Kline and Marcus Cannon. Kline slid into a spot that's been held the last couple days by Ted Karras. Interestingly, with two offensive units working on separate ends of the field, Shaq Mason was with the aforementioned group on the end of the field with Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo.


--In the drill, Brady threw left for White on the sideline but Jamie Collins had tight coverage and just missed the interception, knocking the ball away.

--A couple snaps later Garoppolo made a pretty timing throw down the left sideline, dropping it easily into the waiting hands of DeAndre Carter for the decent gain.

--Malcolm Mitchell made a nice catch on a deep ball down the right sideline from Jacoby Brissett, drawing a cheer just after Chris Harper made a reception on a deep ball on the other end of the field.

--Following the team action there was a drill focused on the entire kickoff return team. Matthew Slater and Jones were back deep. But Stephen Gostkowski's mortar kick was caught on the return left side by versatile second-year defensive lineman Geneo Grissom.

--The kickoff return segment then included a number of onside kickoffs of a couple varieties and then a free kick rep from Allen that Jones hauled in without incident.

--Nearly 25,000 fans watched the practice.

--In a second team period, Karras took the first reps at the right guard spot with the Brady-led group while Kline went to the other end of the field with the Brissett-led unit. Mason continued to watch the unit work in the drill from behind, getting play-by-play updates and discussion from offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia. Karras and Kline continued to rotate right guard reps in various drills throughout the night.

--Terrance Knighton took the reps next to Malcom Brown at defensive tackle, a spot that's seen a lot of Markus Kuhn the first few days of practice. Kuhn rotated in with the next group alongside Joe Vellano.

--In the second 11-on-11 action Brady hit a nice deep out to Gronkowski for the strong-hands grab on the right sideline that drew a nice cheer from the crowd.

--Brady and Martellus Bennett were not on the same page on an 11-on-11 play, the throw behind the tight end who fell to the turf as he tried to reach back for the ball. A play later, Brady gave Bennett a low-five as the tight end entered the huddle, maybe an acknowledgment of a poor throw.

--Devin McCourty notched a tipped, pick-six interception on a Garoppolo pass intended Harper that deflected off the receiver and ended up in the big play for the excited defense in 7-on-7 action.

--It doesn't seem like the formation gets a ton of use in the regular season, but there were a few looks with split backs in the practice, including one with Brandon Bolden and White. We've seen that with some regularity in past preseason practice.

--Donald Brown was attended to by the medical staff after a play in team action. The veteran running back appeared to be grabbing at his left hamstring.

--Showing his athleticism, Brissett pulled the ball down for a decent gain on a run on the final rep of one team action. Of course running can be a good or a bad thing for a young quarterback, depending on the situation.

--Bruschi had two boys, presumably his sons, with him on the field, and they spent some time with dad, Brady and Gronkowski at one point. Not a bad trio to hang with.

--During one team segment in the red zone, LaAdrian Waddle took reps at left tackle while Solder watched from behind with Mason.

--Brady, after surveying the field for a long time, found Gronkowski for a potential score in the back right corner of the end zone in team action. The tight end may or may not have gotten his feet in – Ryan didn't think so for the defense – but Gronkowksi still held the ball to the sky as he jogged all over the field celebrating the score with energy as he's been doing often in recent days. A little while later, Garoppolo dropped one in to Gronk for a score in the left corner of the end zone. He celebrated with a hopping dance before Jamie Collins came over to seem to get up to cool down the antics as the tight end prepared to hip-bump with LeGarrette Blount. Gronk and the linebackers have had some good playful back-and-forths early in camp, the tight end winning more battles and seemingly having more fun.

--Mitchell caught a lot of balls on the far end of the field with the second set of drills throughout the night. The rookie receiver has made an uptick in his performance in recent days, potentially feeling a little more comfortable in the offense after missing one day of practice on Saturday for unknown reasons.

--With Malcolm Butler taking a snap off in 11-on-11 work, Justin Coleman and Jones worked on the outside with Ryan working in the slot.

--Harper made a nice jumping, toe-tapping catch in the left side of the end zone from Garoppolo, with the quarterback giving a good fist pump in reaction to the pretty play.

--Gostkowski took some field goal attempts that were actually shorter than the new-age PATs before closing things out with some longer kicks.

--The Gillette crowd had a loud "Brady" chant as the kicker did his work to close out the practice.

--Fans had a variety of Deflategate-related signs in the stands, including some that weren't to favorable toward NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

--Patriots players signed autographs for the fans surrounding the field after the practice.

--Watching Gronkowski approach the crowds is like seeing a rock star greet his fans.

--New England will have the day on Tuesday, the first day off since camp last week.

--The Patriots will practice again on Wednesday morning on the fields at 9:40 a.m. in a session that's open to the public. As always, check for any last minute schedule changes.

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