The rain persisted, and so did the sluggish nature of the passing game.
After practicing in wet conditions on Sunday, the Patriots were back at it in soggy Foxborough and the conditions made life awfully tough on the receivers. Whether it was during individual positional drills, one-on-ones, full team work or anything in between, the ball consistently bounced off or through the hands of a host of pass catchers during the two-hour morning workout.
None of the receivers was immune as the drop total approached double figures with even Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman guilty. Eric Decker struggled badly in that department, as was the case on Sunday, although he did bounce back late with a couple of nice catches downfield.
Will Tye, James White, Devin Lucien and Paul Turner all had bad drops within a short span while Chris Hogan and Phillip Dorsett failed to come up with a couple of catchable passes as well.
Tom Brady did most of the throwing and the ball wound up on the turf more times than is normally the case when he runs the show. Interestingly, perhaps as a result of the sloppiness, Brady replaced Danny Etling and ran the scout team, although he didn’t seem to fare any better in that setting.
At one point late in practice, Brady called for the ball after another incomplete pass and punted it through the uprights into the crowd from about the 15-yard line. The quarterback isn’t scheduled to speak with the media until Tuesday, but it didn’t take Woodward and Bernstein to figure out what was on his mind at the time.
Aside from the sloppy play in the rain, here are some blogservations from the Patriots 13th practice (10th in full pads) of training camp.
-Matthew Slater was added to the group of players not practicing on Nonday. He joined Sony Michel (knee), Rex Burkhead, Marcus Cannon and Harvey Langi. Cannon hasn’t practiced since Aug. 1, and the past two days have seen rookie Isaiah Wynn take his first reps of the summer at right tackle behind LaAdrian Waddle. That could be an indication that Bill Belichick is trying to develop some depth on the right side in the event that Cannon will not be available to start the season, although various reports indicated that the right tackle’s injury is not serious.
-In addition to the five players not in uniform, several others worked out on the rehab field for most of practice. Ryan Lewis, Trey Flowers and Cordarrelle Patterson began on the lower field while Kenny Britt eventually joined them after the positional drills. Shortly thereafter, rookie Duke Dawson appeared to suffer a left leg injury before he, too, retreated to the rehab field. Also, Darren Andrews, a wide receiver out of UCLA who is on the non-football injury list, was on the fields working with the rehab group.
-Members of the Dean College football team were on hand for practice, along with their new running backs coach Sammy Morris. The large contingent was decked out in maroon jerseys and was quite vocal during workout.
-Gronkowski was late getting out to the field at the start of practice as the team had already begun its warmup/stretching routine before the tight end jogged across the field to join them.
-Adrian Clayborn, Stephen Gostkowski and Cyrus Jones all spent time riding the stationary bike in between fields during practice.
-The wide receivers and defensive backs worked with each other during a drill designed to execute/defeat press coverage. Jonathan Jones knocked Decker off stride during one rep, nearly causing the wideout to fall as he tried to get into his route. Eventually that worked transitioned to the quarterbacks throwing back shoulder routes to the receivers as the corners tried to defend them.
-Dorsett made a nice double move to get free from Stephon Gilmore for a big catch during some one-on-one work. J.C. Jackson had tight coverage on a couple of occasions, first knocking a pass away from Turner and then allowing a catch to Hogan before knocking the ball out of the receiver’s hands for a fumble. Hogan also came up with a tough back shoulder catch against Gilmore. Jackson also blanketed Lucien later in practice.
-Rookie Keion Crossen locked up with Edelman on one rep and stuck with the shifty slot receiver throughout a variety of moves. Edelman was still able to make the catch despite the tough coverage, but Crossen got a pat on the helmet from cornerbacks coach Josh Boyer for his work anyway.
-Speaking of Edelman, he was by far the most effective receiver on a day when simply catching the ball was noteworthy. He came up with most of the passes thrown his way and seemed to find a way to get open most of the time. He beat Eric Rowe deep down the left sideline, gaining some separation as the ball came down into his arms. Edelman appeared to injure himself late in practice as he was seen favoring his leg/knee after running a route. He remained in the lineup but did not run at full speed on the next two plays. He did sign autographs for seemingly the entire crowd at the end of practice, however, rather than seeking immediate medical attention.
-Jason McCourty got his most significant reps of the summer, working in a group that included Gilmore at the other corner. Crossen and Jonathan Jones took some snaps in that slot in that group with Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung at safety. McCourty had his ups and downs in coverage, but mostly was competitive. He came up with an interception while covering Dorsett in a one-on-one rep.
-Eric Rowe, who had been getting the reps with Gilmore, worked in the next group alongside Jackson. Jomal Wiltz got some snaps in the slot with that group.
-Mike Gillislee opened the first 11-on-11 segment as the lead back. He took most of the reps in place of Jeremy Hill on Monday and ran well between the tackles.
-A.J. Moore, Jonathan Jones and Eddie Pleasant worked as gunners during some punt team work. Jordan Richards served as the personal protector. Riley McCarron muffed one of Ryan Allen’s punts during that segment.
-Gronkowski had some trouble holding onto the ball throughout the day. He bobbled a perfect Brady pass as he ran toward the sideline before gathering it in, and later had one bounce off his hands. He joked with the media after practice that we should forget about the drop and say he caught it.
-Keionta Davis got some time at defensive end during 11-on-11 work but got blown up by Gronkowski as Brandon Bolden ran through a gaping hole off right tackle. Gronkowski kicked Davis out effectively to create plenty of running room for Bolden. Davis did perform well during some drills against the offensive linemen.
-Joe Thuney was struggling toward the end of practice and vomited on the field. He gets props for completing the practice though.
-Cole Croston went to the blue medical tent midway through practice but eventually returned.
-Vincent Valentine and John Atkins ran a lap together after jumping offside during a drill. In a camp full of some slow-developing laps, that tandem may have turned in the slowest.
-Cyrus Jones took plenty of reps at corner with the scout team. He’s been effectively catching punts since returning from PUP, and his workload on defense has been on the rise in recent days as well.
-Nicholas Grigsby shot through a gap to stuff Ralph Webb on an inside running play. Grigsby then broke into his version of the Deion Sanders dance in the backfield. Geneo Grissom was also in a celebratory mood after covering White down the sideline to force an incompletion. Grissom’s reaction could be heard in Sharon as he made his way back to the huddle. Grissom later appeared to tweak his knee and spent some time with head trainer Jim Whalen.
-Robert Kraft was on the field to watch most of practice.
-Braxton Berrios was guilty of a false start during a hurry-up drill at the end of practice and ran a lap.
-Matt Tobin, Ted Karras, James Ferentz, Brian Schwenke and Wynn comprised the second offensive line with Luke Bowanko also taking reps at center. Tobin served as an extra tight end on at least one play, lining up on the left side.
-Pleasant spent some time working individually with safeties coach Steve Belichick while the rest of the team was on the opposite field in an 11-on-11 period.
-Brandon King worked at linebacker on the scout team defense late in practice. King had his position officially changed from safety to linebacker during the offseason but still looks like primarily a special teams player.
-Gilmore came up with an interception of a Brian Hoyer pass while undercutting McCarron. After making the diving catch, Gilmore sprung to his feet and returned the pick to the house.
-The Patriots sang happy birthday to the McCourty brothers at the end of practice. Devin and Jason turned 31 on Monday.
-Dont’a Hightower spent time at the podium after practice. In addition to Hightower, those spending time with the media included Cyrus Jones, Derek Rivers, Adam Butler, Wynn, White, Corey Bojorquez, Clayborn, Devin McCourty, Ryan Izzo, Decker, Danny Etling, Deatrich Wise, Lucien, Hogan and Dorsett.
-The Patriots will conduct their final training camp practice open to the media on Tuesday starting at 1 p.m. Please check with patriots.com for the latest schedule updates.