The Patriots went back to work Sunday afternoon following the preseason opening loss to Houston Thursday night. But before the players could work up a sweat, they were forced back into the locker room following a brief thunderstorm that hit the Foxborough area.
After a 45-minute delay, the players returned in shorts and shells and went through a walkthrough-like workout that lasted about an hour. The pace was a tad crisper than a typical walkthrough, particularly for Mac Jones and Mike Gesicki, who connected on a number of occasions during various down-and-distance, red zone and two-minute periods.
Malik Cunningham, the undrafted rookie who offered some late-game excitement in the loss to the Texans, took a handful of snaps from David Andrews and ran a few plays as well. Otherwise, Jones and Bailey Zappe took turns operating the attack. As has been the case throughout much of camp, there seemed to be an emphasis on tempo with plays being run quickly.
"It's a great way to put stress on the defense," Andrews said of tempo. "We want to get in and out of the huddle quickly and allow the quarterback to have plenty of time at the line to check out the defense and make adjustments. We want to be able to do a lot of motions and shifting and getting out of the huddle with as much time as we can allows us to do those things."
At times that has involved some no-huddle work as well but throughout the summer it's been more about getting plays called quickly and getting to the line. That was a problem at times in 2022 as the dwindling play clock led to timeouts and delay of game penalties too often.
On Sunday, and throughout the summer, those issues haven't been prevalent.
Although it was a short practice coming off the preseason game, here are one man's observations from Day 13 of training camp.
*The first game action appears to have led to at least one injury as second-year offensive lineman Kody Russey was not spotted. Russey went down in the second half of the Texans game with an undisclosed injury and did not return. Second-year running back Pierre Strong also was not among those in uniform on Sunday. Otherwise, Ty Montgomery missed his 11th straight practice while Jonathan Jones missed his fifth straight and Bill Murray his third. Cody Davis (knee, PUP), Mike Onwenu (ankle, PUP) and Calvin Anderson (NFI) all remain out of uniform.
*Trey Flowers was on the field and did a variety of individual work as he tries to work his way off the PUP list after being signed late last week. Also, Cole Strange was in uniform but didn't take any reps in team drills.
*The Patriots made a series of transactions following Thursday night's preseason opener, signing USFL veterans C.J. Marabel and Micah Vanterpool. Marabel is a 26-year-old running back out of Coastal Carolina who originally signed with Chicago as an undrafted free agent in 2021. The 5-10, 200-pounder was released by the Bears and spent the last two seasons in the USFL for Birmingham and helped lead the Stallions to back-to-back championships. Last season, Marable had 1,079 all-purpose yards – 525 rushing, 235 receiving and 319 return yards. He also had three rushing touchdowns and two receiving touchdowns. Vanterpool, 24, played guard and tackle during his college career at Hawaii (2017-22). The 6-6, 315-pounder signed with the USFL's New Jersey Generals late in the spring season and was inactive for the final two games. The team released linebackers Jordan Heilig and Olakunle Fatukasi to make room for the newcomers.
*Trave McSorley, who didn't receive any reps during the various teams periods, spent time throwing to Marable and Matt Sokol at the end of practice.
*The Patriots worked on kickoff and kickoff returns for the special teams periods. Kyle Dugger, Marcus Jones, Isaiah Bolden and Kayshon Boutte returned kickoffs from Nick Folk and Corliss Waitman. Waitman typically sends his kicks deep into the corner of the end zone, offering little to no chance for returns. Folk also handled the field goal work and hit all three of his attempts.
*One lineup that figures to generate some excitement this season: rookie Keion White next to Christian Barmore as interior rushers in subpackages. White enjoyed a solid debut Thursday and showcased his versatility against the Texans by working as a standup linebacker, on the edge and the inside as well.
*David Andrews, Lawrence Guy, Adrian Phillips, Kendrick Bourne and Kayshon Boutte all spent time chatting with the media after practice.
*The Patriots will practice again on Monday before travelling to Green Bay on Tuesday in preparation for a pair of joint practices ahead of the preseason tilt with the Packers August 19. Monday's workout is closed to the public.