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Mini-camp Blogservations: All's bright in Foxborough

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--Both McDaniels and defensive coordinator Matt Patricia wore headsets in the practice to call plays.

--The punt team was the area of focus during special teams segments. Matthew Slater and Jonathan Jones worked as the first two gunners, followed by Hawkins and DeAndrew White and then Devin Lucien and Brandon Bolden.

--Cyrus Jones had another solid day fielding punts for the scout return unit. Others taking return reps included David Jones and Will Likely in drills and then Julian Edelman, Cooks, Danny Amendola joined in the mix in full team action back deep.

--A player and coach from the U.S. rugby team watched the practice from the sidelines.

--Jacoby Brissett has not had a great first couple days of mini-camp. The second-year passer continues to hold onto the ball for way too long. He's also struggled with his accuracy, clapping his hands together loudly after missing must-have NFL completions in today's workout. The good news is that Brissett did seem to get significantly more reps on Wednesday as he tries to lay the foundation for a key year-two jump in his development.

--Through a few days of OTA/mini-camp workouts the differentiation between the three quarterbacks on the depth chart is quite obvious. Brady has been the best passer on the field by far. Garoppolo has been next in line overall and Brissett has been a distant third in all areas.

--Brian Belichick, who is joining his father's staff as a coaching assistant, appears to be working primarily with the defensive side of the ball at his point in the spring. Brian's brother, Steve, is New England's safeties coach. Brian spent last season working as scouting assistant.

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Check out our favorite photos from the Patriots mini-camp on Wednesday, June 7, 2017.

If you don't like the weather for Patriots mini-camp practices, apparently you just have to wait a day.

After Tuesday's rainy, cold, windy start to New England's mandatory veteran mini-camp, Wednesday brought sunny skies and temperatures into the 70s to the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium.

The improved weather led to a somewhat more crisp practice, with not nearly as many tipped balls, drops and moisture-related miscues as the session a day earlier.

As Bill Belichick acknowledged in his pre-practice press conference, it was his team's seventh workout of OTAs/mini-camp, with the coach seeing the extreme changes in weather as a positive overall.

"Just kind of grinding through it," Belichick said. "We got a few things done yesterday. I'm hoping we'll get some more done today and tomorrow and move into next week. Conditions were good for us yesterday. We had some good work in there with the wet field, wet ball and so forth. A little different today. We'll take whatever comes and try to make the most out of it."

Beyond the weather the most notable occurrence for the second day of mini-camp was a shakeup of the reps in the secondary. Cornerback Malcolm Butler continued to take the bulk of the initial reps in drills and team segments at left cornerback, but was joined more often than not by Eric Rowe on the right side and Justin Coleman in the slot. High-priced newcomer Stephon Gilmore and Jonathan Jones, who had been working with Butler in previous practices, were with the second group of players in most drills.

It's also worth noting in the back end that Jordan Richards continues to take reps at safety working alongside veterans Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung, though this comes with Duron Harmon serving as only a part-time participant in practice drills and spending some time doing conditioning/rehab drills. Some of the work for Richards saw him as the deep safety on the field, not necessarily his presumed strength based on his build and skillset.

--Nate Solder returned to practice after being absent from the fields on Tuesday.

--Brandon King was on the field without a helmet and did not appear to take part in the workout.

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--New England once again had 88 players on the field for the workout. That included the addition of Solder and Lawrence Guy as a new absentee, with undrafted rookie Andrew Jelks not seen for the second straight day.

--Jonathan Freeny remains in a red, non-contact jersey.

--Dont'a Hightower and Malcolm Mitchell were on the field but did not take part in the practice session, working out elsewhere.

--Mitchell walked onto the field before practice talking to offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. The coach had his arm around the young receiver's shoulder and then completed the chat by gesturing a fist pump toward his second-year playmaker.

--The Lyvve Coach video board that had been on the end of the practice fields on Tuesday was gone for Wednesday's workout. There were, however, portable playclocks set up on each end of the far practice field.

--Legendary offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia was the first coach on the field, using the extra time to set up the bags for drills in his area on the far corner of the field commonly referred to by some as Dante's Inferno. It's where the offensive linemen get the bulk of their group practice work done, as far as possible from the watchful eyes of reporters.

--Chris Hogan and Rex Burkhead were the first players on the field.

--A large group of Patriots marketing clients watched the practice from the bleachers and hill at the side of the field. Pat Patriot was in attendance with the group, which stuck around and got autographs from many New England players, including Tom Brady, following the workout.

--A group of coaches from the Vanderbilt football staff watched the entirety of the workout. The group was led onto the field by Patriots defensive line coach Brendan Daly, who spent time addressing the men prior to the start of practice.

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--Former Bruins Stanley Cup star and newly-named Florida Panthers vice president of business operations Shawn Thornton was on the field for the entirety of the practice. Thornton walked onto the field with Stephen Gostkowski and then spent an extended period of time early in the session talking with Belichick.

--Hightower rode the exercise bike prior to practice. Others who spent time on the bike at various points included Brandon Bolden and Gostkowski.

--The three quarterbacks broke up to work with different groups of pass catchers early in practice. Brady threw to the wide receivers, who were poked by joust-like pads as they caught the ball and then hit by two other pads after the catch. Jimmy Garoppolo threw to the fullbacks and tight ends while Jacoby Brissett tossed to the running backs, those players just hit with small pads after the catch.

--Longtime Patriots video director Jimmy Dee was on the field with a hand-held camera filming each of the quarterbacks as they did their drops in early drills. Another member of Dee's staff did the same close-up taping of punter Ryan Allen during his reps later in practice.

--Nick Caserio got his usual throwing in during the early position work for the offensive skill players. The versatile director of player personnel also worked on some handoffs with the running backs.

--Receivers coach Chad O'Shea used a large, black tennis racquet-like paddle to distract his pass catchers in one early drill.

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--Brandin Cooks had another impressive practice, showing all the skills at all levels of an elite receiver. Known for his speed and playmaking, Cooks has been displaying impressive, strong hands in his first few workouts in New England.

--There was plenty of dust in the background and occasionally blowing over the practice field as Gillette Stadium is being filled with dirt in advance of Saturday night's Monster Jam monster truck event.

--Plenty of linebackers and defensive ends continued to work on pass drops. In drills that included Elandon Roberts, Freeny, Shea McClellin and Kyle Van Noy. The defensive ends got into the mix later with Rob Ninkovich, Deatrich Wise and others showing their versatility.

--Wise continues to stand out for a few reasons. He's a huge, athletic guy. He also has one of the most unique gaits seen on the field in some time. Wise wears traditional large knee braces during practice, but his somewhat robotic gait was noticeable even when he walked off the practice without the braces on.

--When the passing backs did some drills early in the red zone the group consisted of James White, Dion Lewis, Burkhead and D.J. Foster.

--The receivers and corners worked together on combo routes early in practice, with Julian Edelman toasting Jonathan Jones off the line on an early rep. Jones used his elite speed to get back into the play down the field, but still allowed the completion.

--Cyrus Jones had tight, blanket coverage in the same drill going against Andrew Hawkins.

--Matt Lengel didn't have the best day catching the ball. This came a day after veteran tight end newcomer Dwayne Allen struggled in the wet conditions.

--Late in the work with the receivers, the defensive backs all dropped as a group to do pushups, something they've been doing in recent practices after allowing completions. They were then told by position coach Josh Boyer that the pushups were not needed after a mere 4-yard completion by the offense.

--Stop me if you've heard this before…Brady hit Rob Gronkowski for an easy touchdown to get things going in group action with the secondary, beating Patrick Chung. Chung often has to deal with the Brady-to-Gronkowski connection on the practice field, probably the toughest job on the field.

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--Both McDaniels and defensive coordinator Matt Patricia wore headsets in the practice to call plays.

--The punt team was the area of focus during special teams segments. Matthew Slater and Jonathan Jones worked as the first two gunners, followed by Hawkins and DeAndrew White and then Devin Lucien and Brandon Bolden.

--Cyrus Jones had another solid day fielding punts for the scout return unit. Others taking return reps included David Jones and Will Likely in drills and then Julian Edelman, Cooks, Danny Amendola joined in the mix in full team action back deep.

--A player and coach from the U.S. rugby team watched the practice from the sidelines.

--Jacoby Brissett has not had a great first couple days of mini-camp. The second-year passer continues to hold onto the ball for way too long. He's also struggled with his accuracy, clapping his hands together loudly after missing must-have NFL completions in today's workout. The good news is that Brissett did seem to get significantly more reps on Wednesday as he tries to lay the foundation for a key year-two jump in his development.

--Through a few days of OTA/mini-camp workouts the differentiation between the three quarterbacks on the depth chart is quite obvious. Brady has been the best passer on the field by far. Garoppolo has been next in line overall and Brissett has been a distant third in all areas.

--Brian Belichick, who is joining his father's staff as a coaching assistant, appears to be working primarily with the defensive side of the ball at his point in the spring. Brian's brother, Steve, is New England's safeties coach. Brian spent last season working as scouting assistant.

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--Gostkowski did some placekicks on the end line, kicking toward the uprights. He hit the upright dead-on at least three times. Later he moved his kicking work to the smaller uprights that are less than half the traditional width before concluding with some kicks through the regulation targets.

--During 7-on-7 work Brady hit Hogan for a nice gain, beating Butler. He then had a nice deep hookup with Cooks, beating both McCourty and Richards.

--Working with the next group, Gilmore was beaten badly by Edelman on a completion from Garoppolo.

--Solder returned to his left tackle reps on a group that included, left to right, he, Joe Thuney, David Andrews, Shaq Mason and Marcus Cannon.

--Loud music blared late in practice for 11-on-11 action. Aerosmith was the first song on the playlist.

--David Jones, the undrafted rookie safety out of Richmond, has stood out not only for his punt return reps but showing impressive coverage ability and range in the back end of the defense. He's a name to keep an eye on during training camp and the preseason. At 6-3, 210, he certainly has an NFL frame. 

--Gilmore worked the right corner spot with Jonathan Jones in the slot in the second group of corners in most drills, with Kenny Moore working on the left side.

--At one point Tony Garcia stepped in at left tackle for LaAdrian Waddle only to false start on the play and get removed to take his customary penalty lap. Conor McDermott took reps at right tackle behind Cameron Fleming at right tackle, while Jamil Douglas came in for Ted Karras at center with the backup units.

--Roberts has shown a lot of energy and been vocal in the first two days of mini-camp practice. The second-year linebacker, who was not on the field at the time, was quick to celebrate with Ninkovich after the veteran snuffed out a short pass play in one team segment. Interesting to see the young player grow as a leader, something that's often expected of middle linebacker types.

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--The scout punt return team got an earful from the special teams coaches during team drills working the punt game. The unit apparently failed to read the scout play cards properly and give the look that special teams coach Joe Judge needed for his troops.

--Patriots president Jonathan Kraft walked onto the practice field late in the session.

--During some 11-on-11 reps the defensive line consisted of Ninkovich, Trey Flowers and Geneo Grissom. The look throws three athletic, pass-rushing defensive ends at the offensive line. Grissom, still trying to find a role on defense in his third season, also took some traditional defensive end reps on the right side opposite Ninkovich in team action.

--The entire time retreated to the hill on the far side of the field for conditioning work at the conclusion of practice.

--Brady stayed on the field with one member of the equipment staff to do some extra work on his pocket mobility tethered to resistance bands. The work – seen in practice and occasionally on game days – has been a common occurrence in the last few years.

--Garoppolo stayed out for some extra work, too. He walked off with White. Brissett worked with Devin Lucien and Cody Hollister on the field at the same time.

--Flowers also stayed on the field for an extended period after practice by himself. The Super Bowl standout said afterwards that he was simply, "Just working my craft."

--Lucien was the last player to leave the field.

--Those players meeting with the media after practice included Gilmore, McCourty, Solder, Hawkins, Flowers, Hogan and others.

--New England will return to the fields on Thursday morning for the third and final day of the mandatory mini-camp.

--Gostkowski did some placekicks on the end line, kicking toward the uprights. He hit the upright dead-on at least three times. Later he moved his kicking work to the smaller uprights that are less than half the traditional width before concluding with some kicks through the regulation targets.

--During 7-on-7 work Brady hit Hogan for a nice gain, beating Butler. He then had a nice deep hookup with Cooks, beating both McCourty and Richards.

--Working with the next group, Gilmore was beaten badly by Edelman on a completion from Garoppolo.

--Solder returned to his left tackle reps on a group that included, left to right, he, Joe Thuney, David Andrews, Shaq Mason and Marcus Cannon.

--Loud music blared late in practice for 11-on-11 action. Aerosmith was the first song on the playlist.

--David Jones, the undrafted rookie safety out of Richmond, has stood out not only for his punt return reps but showing impressive coverage ability and range in the back end of the defense. He's a name to keep an eye on during training camp and the preseason. At 6-3, 210, he certainly has an NFL frame. 

--Gilmore worked the right corner spot with Jonathan Jones in the slot in the second group of corners in most drills, with Kenny Moore working on the left side.

--At one point Tony Garcia stepped in at left tackle for LaAdrian Waddle only to false start on the play and get removed to take his customary penalty lap. Conor McDermott took reps at right tackle behind Cameron Fleming at right tackle, while Jamil Douglas came in for Ted Karras at center with the backup units.

--Roberts has shown a lot of energy and been vocal in the first two days of mini-camp practice. The second-year linebacker, who was not on the field at the time, was quick to celebrate with Ninkovich after the veteran snuffed out a short pass play in one team segment. Interesting to see the young player grow as a leader, something that's often expected of middle linebacker types.

20170607-gilmore.jpg

--The scout punt return team got an earful from the special teams coaches during team drills working the punt game. The unit apparently failed to read the scout play cards properly and give the look that special teams coach Joe Judge needed for his troops.

--Patriots president Jonathan Kraft walked onto the practice field late in the session.

--During some 11-on-11 reps the defensive line consisted of Ninkovich, Trey Flowers and Geneo Grissom. The look throws three athletic, pass-rushing defensive ends at the offensive line. Grissom, still trying to find a role on defense in his third season, also took some traditional defensive end reps on the right side opposite Ninkovich in team action.

--The entire time retreated to the hill on the far side of the field for conditioning work at the conclusion of practice.

--Brady stayed on the field with one member of the equipment staff to do some extra work on his pocket mobility tethered to resistance bands. The work – seen in practice and occasionally on game days – has been a common occurrence in the last few years.

--Garoppolo stayed out for some extra work, too. He walked off with White. Brissett worked with Devin Lucien and Cody Hollister on the field at the same time.

--Flowers also stayed on the field for an extended period after practice by himself. The Super Bowl standout said afterwards that he was simply, "Just working my craft."

--Lucien was the last player to leave the field.

--Those players meeting with the media after practice included Gilmore, McCourty, Solder, Hawkins, Flowers, Hogan and others.

--New England will return to the fields on Thursday morning for the third and final day of the mandatory mini-camp.

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