On the ninth day, the Patriots rested … for the most part.
The players were back on the field Friday morning but wore helmets and shorts and were out of pads for the second time in three days. The practice was more of a walk-through than some of the other high intensity workouts the team has conducted when not in pads thus far this summer.
That was by design as Bill Belichick explained the need to review some of the elements of the system that have been installed as well as the down-and-distance situational work that has been done to this point.
"We're wrapping up the week here with a day that we're starting to put some things together, different down-and-distance situations, we've covered most of the major kicking situations," he said. "Obviously, not a lot of end-of-game type plays, I'm not talking about that, but just the general situations that come up, the normal situations that come up on offense, defense and special teams. I think we're getting to the point here where we've hit most of those and review them again today."
Moving forward the Patriots will continue to cover various elements and enter a critical stretch for overall team development.
"Next week will give us a good opportunity, I would say, to start practicing and hitting on the second, third times through type of thing so that we're closer to where we want to be in terms of understanding, not just what we want to do, but how we want to do it and what are some of the variables that can come up," Belichick added. "We had a pretty solid week of practice, three days of contact and high-speed practices the other days. We're really coming into the next week-and-a-half or so, the really important weeks of the camp in the development and preparation of our team from an overall standpoint. Then the final week or 10 days obviously will be more focused on Miami.
"Just keep taking it day by day here and try to string some good days together and build our consistency and overall fundamentals of our team that we'll need to carry us throughout the games this season."
Cam Newton and Brian Hoyer handled the bulk of the quarterback work on Friday, particularly in the full team rep portions of practice. The work was not done at full speed and saw most passes completed while the defense generally backed off.
So, not a lot to evaluate from a performance level on Friday but a good chance for the coaches to see where the players stand at this point in terms of their development.
Here are some observations from the 90-minute workout on Friday.
*Jarrett Stidham did not take part in any 11-on-11 work during practice but offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said he expected the quarterback to be "ready to roll" the next time they are on the field, which is Sunday.
*After being limited for much of the last few practices, Julian Edelman seemed to be more involved on Friday. He appeared to come up limping after trying to catch a crossing route on Thursday, then fired his helmet to the ground before meeting with members of the training staff. He took one more rep after that before watching the rest of the activities. On Friday he was much more active and caught several passes. At one point he was fielding some punts on the right field before moving to the other side to work with Newton and the rest of the quarterbacks individually.
*Belichick opened his remarks on Friday with some well-wishes for Washington coach Ron Rivera, who was recently diagnosed with lymph node cancer. "On behalf of our team and our organization, first of all, I want to send along our best wishes to Coach Rivera. Ron's been a good friend and certainly a person that's had a great career in the National Football League. He's a quality person, player, coach so just want to send our best wishes along to him and hope for a speedy and complete recovery. Hope that he's doing well."
*The team spent some time working on punt coverage and Jake Bailey was unleashing some bombs early on. Later he moved to plus-50 work, kicking from the 45 in an effort to pin the ball near the goal line. He wasn't quite as effective in the dril as he was earlier in camp, though, as his first attempt rolled into the end zone for a touchback. Damiere Byrd called for a fair catch at the 15 on the next kick and the third was fair caught by J.J. Taylor at the 20. J.C. Jackson downed then next attempt at the 1 after Bailey's kick sailed high and soft, allowing the coverage to get in position. The final two attempts resulted in a fair catch at the 11 and went out of bounds just inside the 10. Ja'Whaun Bentley was called for a false start before the final rep, causing the linebacker to run a lap.
*The assistant coaches chatted with the media after practice via video conference.
*The Patriots will be off on Saturday before returning to the fields on Sunday.
Check out photos of the Patriots during Training Camp at Gillette Stadium, on Friday, Aug. 21, 2020.