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Patriots Replay Wed Jun 03 | 12:00 AM - 11:59 PM

Offense sharp in afternoon session

The Patriots finished Day 1 of their mandatory mini-camp with an afternoon practice featuring a much better offensive effort than the morning. Tom Brady and his band of largely unknown receivers seemed to click more often during the two-hour workout after suffering through some bouts of inconsistency earlier in the day.

Brady admitted between practices that things were not quite as crisp as he would have liked, but at this stage of the offseason such inconsistency is understandable, particularly in light of the amount of new faces he's throwing to.

But things went more smoothly after the break, and the improvement was evident right from the start during positional drills. The wideouts gobbled everything in sight during the box drill that wide receivers coach Brian Daboll traditionally runs at the beginning of practice. Daboll fires four passes at each receiver as they make their way around cones set up in a box, upping the level of difficulty with each repetition by intentionally throwing off target in an effort to make the players' job more difficult.

But the receivers – Troy Brown, Reche Caldwell, Chad Jackson, John Stone, Matt Shelton, Erik Davis, Jakari Wallace and Bam Childress – barely let the ball touch the turf. In fact, by unofficial count only two passes went uncaught and both were thrown badly off target.

Once the team convened for seven-on-seven drills and later two-minute work, that solid execution continued. During a red zone drill against a dime package, Brady found the rookie Jackson twice for touchdowns, once beating Asante Samuel on a beautiful inside slant. Brady also hooked up with Caldwell in the back of the end zone for another score.

Later, Brady and backup Matt Cassel operated a couple of two-minute drills and each looked sharp. Working with a group that included Brown, Caldwell and Jackson at receiver with Benjamin Watson at tight end and Kevin Faulk out of the backfield, Brady led an efficient drive.

Faulk got things started with a catch that's become typical for the former LSU scatback. His one-handed grab of a screen pass turned into a big play as he raced down the sideline for a solid gain. From there, Brady connected with Brown deep down the left seam before the defense rose up and forced a sack and an incompletion.

But Brady came back with consecutive completions to Caldwell (deep out), Jackson (quick out) and Brown (crossing route) to put the ball near the goal line before Bill Belichick called for a change to the second group.

Cassel then took charge of a unit that featured Childress, Shelton and Stone at wideout with David Thomas at tight end and rookie first-round pick Laurence Maroney as the lone set back. Maroney came from Minnesota without much of a resume for catching passes but one would never know it from watching him in his early days as a Patriot.

He made several grabs during the drill, and he turned at least two into what would have been big gains had the coaches not blown the whistle to continue the scripted work. Cassel beat a blitz effectively with a quick dumpoff to Maroney, and the back did the rest. Overall, the crispness of the passing game was already a noticeable improvement over the morning's activities.

Afternoon notes

Wide receiver Michael McGrew was the lone player who suited up for the morning workout not dressed for the afternoon practice. The only other change personnel-wise was veteran Chad Scott's return to his normal blue No. 30 jersey after wearing a red non-contact uniform for the opening practice. … Eugene Wilson took a number of reps at cornerback, lining up with Asante Samuel during some seven-on-seven drills. … The dime defense that went against Brady and the offense consisted of defensive backs Samuel, Tebucky Jones, Ellis Hobbs, James Sanders, Chad Scott and Eric Warfield with linebackersTedy Bruschi and Rosevelt Colvin. During those drills Tom Brady seemed intent on getting the ball to Benjamin Watson, who must have had four or five straight passes sail his way at one point. The third-year tight end looked sharp, grabbing each and every one. … Special teams coach Brad Seely also got some work in for his punting unit. Josh Miller was outstanding, booming several long kicks early to returners Troy Brown and Kevin Faulk before working on some hurried kicks designed to simulate punting out of the end zone with less than the normal 15 yards to work with followed by some angle kicks toward the sideline. Miller didn't mishit a single one, which is a good sign since he's the only punter in camp. … At the end of practice, Seely worked with veteran offensive lineman Billy Yates and rookie sixth-round pick Dan Stevenson on long snapping. Both looked solid during their limited reps. … The Patriots will practice twice again on Wednesday before closing out camp Thursday. Practices are closed to the public.

chad_jackson_mincamp_1.jpg

The Patriots finished Day 1 of their mandatory mini-camp with an afternoon practice featuring a much better offensive effort than the morning. Tom Brady and his band of largely unknown receivers seemed to click more often during the two-hour workout after suffering through some bouts of inconsistency earlier in the day.

Brady admitted between practices that things were not quite as crisp as he would have liked, but at this stage of the offseason such inconsistency is understandable, particularly in light of the amount of new faces he's throwing to.

But things went more smoothly after the break, and the improvement was evident right from the start during positional drills. The wideouts gobbled everything in sight during the box drill that wide receivers coach Brian Daboll traditionally runs at the beginning of practice. Daboll fires four passes at each receiver as they make their way around cones set up in a box, upping the level of difficulty with each repetition by intentionally throwing off target in an effort to make the players' job more difficult.

But the receivers – Troy Brown, Reche Caldwell, Chad Jackson, John Stone, Matt Shelton, Erik Davis, Jakari Wallace and Bam Childress – barely let the ball touch the turf. In fact, by unofficial count only two passes went uncaught and both were thrown badly off target.

Once the team convened for seven-on-seven drills and later two-minute work, that solid execution continued. During a red zone drill against a dime package, Brady found the rookie Jackson twice for touchdowns, once beating Asante Samuel on a beautiful inside slant. Brady also hooked up with Caldwell in the back of the end zone for another score.

Later, Brady and backup Matt Cassel operated a couple of two-minute drills and each looked sharp. Working with a group that included Brown, Caldwell and Jackson at receiver with Benjamin Watson at tight end and Kevin Faulk out of the backfield, Brady led an efficient drive.

Faulk got things started with a catch that's become typical for the former LSU scatback. His one-handed grab of a screen pass turned into a big play as he raced down the sideline for a solid gain. From there, Brady connected with Brown deep down the left seam before the defense rose up and forced a sack and an incompletion.

But Brady came back with consecutive completions to Caldwell (deep out), Jackson (quick out) and Brown (crossing route) to put the ball near the goal line before Bill Belichick called for a change to the second group.

Cassel then took charge of a unit that featured Childress, Shelton and Stone at wideout with David Thomas at tight end and rookie first-round pick Laurence Maroney as the lone set back. Maroney came from Minnesota without much of a resume for catching passes but one would never know it from watching him in his early days as a Patriot.

He made several grabs during the drill, and he turned at least two into what would have been big gains had the coaches not blown the whistle to continue the scripted work. Cassel beat a blitz effectively with a quick dumpoff to Maroney, and the back did the rest. Overall, the crispness of the passing game was already a noticeable improvement over the morning's activities.

Afternoon notes

Wide receiver Michael McGrew was the lone player who suited up for the morning workout not dressed for the afternoon practice. The only other change personnel-wise was veteran Chad Scott's return to his normal blue No. 30 jersey after wearing a red non-contact uniform for the opening practice. … Eugene Wilson took a number of reps at cornerback, lining up with Asante Samuel during some seven-on-seven drills. … The dime defense that went against Brady and the offense consisted of defensive backs Samuel, Tebucky Jones, Ellis Hobbs, James Sanders, Chad Scott and Eric Warfield with linebackersTedy Bruschi and Rosevelt Colvin. During those drills Tom Brady seemed intent on getting the ball to Benjamin Watson, who must have had four or five straight passes sail his way at one point. The third-year tight end looked sharp, grabbing each and every one. … Special teams coach Brad Seely also got some work in for his punting unit. Josh Miller was outstanding, booming several long kicks early to returners Troy Brown and Kevin Faulk before working on some hurried kicks designed to simulate punting out of the end zone with less than the normal 15 yards to work with followed by some angle kicks toward the sideline. Miller didn't mishit a single one, which is a good sign since he's the only punter in camp. … At the end of practice, Seely worked with veteran offensive lineman Billy Yates and rookie sixth-round pick Dan Stevenson on long snapping. Both looked solid during their limited reps. … The Patriots will practice twice again on Wednesday before closing out camp Thursday. Practices are closed to the public.

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