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Blogservations: Patriots run-heavy scrimmage lacks luster

New England holds another practice scrimmage, but this time it’s not nearly as crisp.

Bill Belichick's Patriots headed into Saturday's off day from training camp practice on the high of a competitive, exciting intra-squad scrimmage that saw Tom Brady's perfect passing set the tone.

Sunday afternoon on the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium New England returned to action with another scrimmage, but this time the results weren't nearly as impressive.

View a collection of the best images from Patriots Training Camp in Foxborough on Sunday, August 7, 2016.

This version of the blue vs. white battle saw far fewer pass completions, a lot more running plays despite the fact that it wasn't truly a full-contact battle, far more mistakes and an overall lackluster product.

Sure the scrimmage ended on a competitive note with the Brady-led blue team going for a two-point conversion play for the potential comeback win. But even that concluded in relative controversy as tight end AJ Derby's reception may or may not have crossed the goal line.

Belichick – the final on-field arbiter in such situations – didn't make an official call, even with blue offensive coordinator Brian Daboll seemingly intent on finding out whether his team won 11-10 or came up short 10-9.

Overall both Brady – who threw a bad interception when he overthrew Derby down the numbers and instead hit Cedric Thompson in the chest for the easy pick – and backup Jimmy Garoppolo were less than impressive. Brady's perfect pass day from a couple days earlier was a distant memory.

And despite an improved arsenal on his white squad – Garoppolo had both Rob Gronkowksi and Martellus Bennett at tight end as well as receiver Chris Hogan – things didn't look markedly easier for the backup.

In fact, the real star of the action was probably third-year, oft-injured running back Tyler Gaffney. The former Stanford star showed impressive burst and fluid cuts in his many carries. He found room to run and moved the chains with as much regularity as any other player on the field, on either squad.

Beyond the quarterbacks' lackluster performances and Gaffney's impressive running, here are one man's blogservations from the sunny, warm practice fields of Foxborough:

--Julian Edelman returned to the practice field in full pads and helmet, coming off PUP to join the practice fun. The slot receiver, who missed the opening of camp while returning from foot surgery, did not take part in the actual scrimmage. He did group drills with the rest of the receivers early on, spent some time on the Revs practice field and then did some work alone with Brady on the side field when the quarterback was not taking part in the scrimmage. Edelman looked very quick in his breaks in his route running and looks anything but a guy who's limited by a foot issue. Edelman spoke with reporters after practice and admitted getting on the field and off PUP was a "good sign."

--Edelman wasn't the only one to come off PUP, as tight end Clay Harbor also passed his physical and was on the field in full pads and helmet. Harbor didn't take part in the scrimmage and spent most of his time working out on the Revs field.

--Those players still on PUP include Dion Lewis (knee), Danny Amendola (knee/ankle), Tre' Jackson (knee), Sebastian Vollmer.

--Players not taking part in the practice included D.J. Foster, Bryce Williams, Jonathan Cooper (foot), Bryan Stork (head), Keshawn Martin, Donald Brown (hamstring), Jonathan Freeny and Nate Washington (illness). Brown, Martin, Freeny and Washington did some work on the Revs field. Stork ran on the far end of the practice field and did some bag work under the watchful eye of trainer Jim Whalen.

--Duron Harmon, Logan Ryan and Chris Hogan wore red, non-contact jerseys.

--The children of special teams coach Joe Judge, including one wearing a No. 1 "Judge" jersey, did their usual work returning balls to the kickers and punters early in the practice during punt and field goal work.

--Both Robert and Jonathan Kraft were on the field to watch the practice and scrimmage action.

--Cyrus Jones, Chris Harper and V'Angelo Bentley took reps practicing punt returns at various points prior to the scrimmage.

--Jones has really struggled to find any consistency on his punt returns, despite his impressive resume in that area coming out of Alabama. Jones muffed a punt in the end zone during the scrimmage that ended up being batted/kicked out the side of the end zone and all the way into the other practice field. Jones worked after practice taking extra punts from the JUGS machine, but muffed one of those as well. Jones has seemingly muffed at least one ball in every practice this summer.

Interestingly, Belichick was asked earlier in the day in his press conference about how he monitors players moving on from adversity or bad plays. His response wasn't about Jones, but it seemingly could have been given the young punt returner's struggles on the practice field that could be snowballing in regards to his confidence.

"It's definitely something we talk about and you see that sometimes, a player might have a bad play and then it ends up being four bad plays. Obviously, you try to turn the page, move on to the next play. You can have a bad play but you can't have a bad day," Belichick said. "We all make mistakes, we all have bad plays, but you can't let it affect you, so we talk about that. Some players, obviously the more experienced ones, probably have a better chance to handle some of that but we've all got to work through it. That's a part of it sometimes. You see guys that catch the ball really well and they go out and drop the first one and then its six out of 10 instead of nine out of 10. Look, we all have to do that. We all make mistakes, we all have bad plays and we've got to find a way to work through it, get back on track, don't live in the past and move forward."

--Matthew Slater did his usual 1-on-1 work with assistant special teams coach Ray Ventrone in early practice action.

--Ryan Allen worked on some pretty sharp angled punts in pre-practice work that challenged his returners. Stephen Gostkowski was watching from the side and tried a couple of punts of his own. The kicker's punt put some weird English, knuckling effect on the boots. Bentley actually had a much on one of Allen's sharply angled punts and another during post-practice work with the JUGS machine.

--Prior to the scrimmage both the offense and the defense worked on their respective fields against scout looks for a decent period of time.

--When the scrimmage began, it was played under the distraction of blaring music.

--Brady had an unfamiliar arsenal of skill players to work with that included DeAndre Carter, Harper, Derby and Joey Iosefa for the blue squad.

--The blue team was coached by Daboll, who called in the offensive plays on a hand-held walkie-talkie, and Matt Patricia. The white team was led by Josh McDaniels, who called the offensive plays, and Brian Flores, who called the plays for the unit's defense.

--Brady worked behind and offensive line, from left to right, of LaAdrian Waddle, Chris Barker, Josh Kline, Jon Halapio and Cameron Fleming.

--Unlike the precision the group showed on Friday, the blue squad had a quick three-and-out on its first possession.

--Jordan Richards worked as Allen's personal protector on the opening punt. For most of the scrimmage punts/free kicks from Allen were used instead of kickoffs.

--Garoppolo's first throw of day was thrown down the right sideline for Hogan, who got tied up with the coverage player and fell to the ground. Garoppolo then tried to find a crossing Bennett, but the ball actually flew past the tight end and hit Devin McCourty in what looked to be the knee on what easily could have been an interception.

--Allen's ensuing punt off his goal line was a shank to the right that wobbled short and out of bounds.

--On the next series Brady scrambled for a would-be first down and spiked the ball as he stumbled out of bounds past the sticks, but the coaches ruled he would have been tackled long before getting that far. It appeared that Joe Vellano had the chance and let up on the franchise QB.

--Allen's next punt was actually caught by Slater, the gunner in coverage, despite the fact that he was actually engaged by a blocker as the ball came down to him. It was an impressive play at the goal line by the Pro Bowl special teamer.

--Rookies Jones and Malcolm Mitchell seemed to go at each other a bit a couple different times on the day with the young coverage player going up against the young pass catcher.

--Even when the quarterbacks completed throws on this tough day they weren't actually complete. Garoppolo had a throw to Mitchell waved off because the young receiver was out of bounds.

--Using the running game, Garoppolo's team moved into place for what was about a 38-yard field goal for Gostkowski and the 3-0 lead.

--At one point Brady handed the ball off nine straight times, with varying degrees of the success.

--Jamie Collins popped into the air for a nice pass defense on a Garoppolo throw intended to get further down the field.

--Brady found some connection with Carter midway through the scrimmage, including a nice catch-and-run gain beating rookie cornerback Jonathan Jones.

--Brady also hit Derby crossing for a good gain, beating Patrick Chung who trailed badly.

--Belichick then indicated that a 40-ish-yard Gostkowski field goal missed wide left.

--Garoppolo had a completion in which Bennett showed impressive concentration to haul in a ball that looked like it was tipped at the line of scrimmage.

--Most of Garoppolo's sets with the white squad included two tight ends (Gronkowski/Bennett) and two receivers (Mitchell/Hogan) with one back in the backfield.

--Garoppolo closed out the drive with a touchdown to Bennett in the left side of the end zone, beating McCourty for the score and the 7-3 lead.

--Markus Kuhn was an active pass rusher for the white squad against Brady, forcing the quarterback to move off his spot and throw the ball away at different times.

--After Brady overthrew Derby for the interception he had a long chat with Daboll as he walked off the field.

--Even when they were completing passes, both Brady and Garoppolo had throws that were behind or off-target in terms of the eventual receiver.

--Vinnie Sunseri also got work as Allen's personal protector.

--Brady gave way for rookie passer Jacoby Brissett for a couple of series in which the young passer handed off often.

--Gaffney got knocked off his feet on a nice pop from Sunseri to conclude one of his productive runs. He took a second solid shoulder from the safety a couple plays later.

--Brissett had an ugly third down play down the right sideline when Carter seemed to fall as he came back for the ball and it was nearly intercepted.

--After a slow start on the ground, LeGarrette Blount had some productive carries later in the scrimmage, a number of which saw him follow the blocks of fullback James Develin. Develin did a good job iso-ing young linebacker Elandon Roberts.

--Develin was among those who had a false start/illegal motion penalty at one point.

--Kamu Grugier-Hill had a nice pass defense in coverage of Bennett.

--Gostkowski made the score 10-3 on a long field goal that may have been from 50-plus, though it was hard to tell exactly where the ball was put down for the impressive boot.

--Late in the scrimmage Brady tried on two different occasions to find Brandon Bolden down the right sideline and both times the running back dropped the ball.

--Despite the drops, Brady put a drive together in which he had to move the chains a couple times on his patented QB sneaks.

--Derby had a nice catch down the numbers when he fell to the ground and caught a tipped ball as he hit the turf, beating the decent coverage from Ramon Humber. It was more of a circus, lucky catch than a crisp completion. But the blue squad would take anything it could get on this day.

--At one point on the drive there was a close call on the first down. Belichick called for the measurement. The only problem is that during these practice sessions there is only one stick or first down marker in use, not a pair with a 10-yard chain. So the ball boy ran out with the single stick and Belichick signal a first down.

--Brady capped the comeback drive attempt with a touchdown to Carter in the end zone. The young receiver was wide open on the right side, seemingly between Harmon and Dont'a Hightower, though it was tough to tell exactly what happened with the coverage.

--It was at that point that Brady made the call to go for two points and connected with Derby on the controversial throw at the goal line.

--Hogan worked with the JUGS machine for extra work on his hands after practice. Edelman and Mitchell also got extra work with a ball boy throwing passes.

--Brady and the other quarterbacks signed autographs for the fans in attendance, which was audibly obvious given the loud cheers that erupted for No. 12 at signing time.

--After signing autographs Brady got his usual work in with resistance-band running. Today, Garoppolo also took part in the agility work, seemingly tagging along for the session with TB12 for the first time this summer.

--Players talking to the media after practice included Edelman, James White, Malcolm Butler, Jones, Nate Solder and others.

--The Patriots are scheduled to return to the practice field again Monday morning at 9:15 a.m. for another session that is open to the public. As always, be sure to check for any last-minute schedule changes.

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