FOXBORO -- First-round pick Dominique Easley, wide receiver Aaron Dobson and corner Alfonzo Dennard weren’t on the field for the first day of the Patriots three-day minicamp on Tuesday.
Easley, the 29th overall pick is still recovering from the ACL tear he suffered last season at the University of Florida. He also hasn’t reached accord on a contract. Dobson is coming off foot surgery. The reasons for Dennard and Armstead's absence are murky. Dennard was not present for any of the three OTA sessions open to the media. He was banged up pretty good by the end of the AFC Championship game with both shoulder and leg injuries. Armstead missed the final two OTAs. Bill Belichick said of Armstead on Tuesday that the defensive lineman "has really worked hard. He’s had a lot of adversity personally that he’s had to deal with – unusual compared to most other players – but he’s always had a great attitude, worked hard and really done everything we’ve asked him to do."
MALLETT JOINS REHAB GROUP
As it was during OTAs, there was a group of rehabbing players who warmed up with the team and then made their way into the Dana Farber Field House. Rob Gronkowski led the pack, and he was joined by Ryan Mallett, Brandon LaFell, Matthew Slater, DJ Williams, Deontae Skinner, Jeremy Gallon and Travis Hawkins. Mallett was absent from Thursday's OTA. About an hour into the session, Skinner, Hawkins and Gallon left the bubble to do some work on one of the lower practice fields.
Darrelle Revis’ movement is unique. In a shadow drill where corners were mirroring the movements of their receivers, the smoothness stood out. But also the strength. As his man would come off the line, Revis would sink his hips and extend an arm to make contact. The contact would alter the course of the receiver, but Revis’ balance didn’t seem impacted at all. Contact established, Revis showed an uncanny ability to stay very close – less than arm’s length – and still not lose separation even on short stutters or changes of direction by his man. Nothing seems sudden. Just a glide. You’ll enjoy it at training camp.
With the temperature pushing into the high 70s, almost all the defensive backs still worked out in long sleeved performance shirts and tights. Still no numbers on the jerseys, just the tiny decals on the backs of the helmets and shorts so it’s tough to establish who’s who from a distance. Revis’ long towel made it easy to distinguish him. Julian Edelman helped out with red catching gloves and Danny Amendola had a white long sleeve shirt under his sleeveless T.
BRADY SLINGING IT
Tom Brady continued to be on the tiny things. After 7-on-0 one rep on which Brady threw left, he spoke to his slot and outside receivers on the right side saying, “You two have to get your feet set…” prior to the snap instead of shifting. Brady threw some red zone darts to the end zone down the middle of the field that had to be going about 60 mph. As for overall MPH, for the hell of it, here’s a list from recent Combines. In 11-on-11 periods, we had Tom Brady as 8-for-13. He overshot passes to Michael Hoomanawanui, Julian Edelman and Kenbrell Thompkins in the red zone toward the end of practice. He did, however, find James Develin -- who worked as a tight end -- running down the middle of the field for a nice touchdown pass with Devin McCourty in coverage.
Tom Brady continued to show that he has a great connection with both Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman. In the early portion of the practice all receivers participated in a drill where they were asked to read the positioning of a defender (played by Josh McDaniels) and find the open space. Amendola appeared to put that drill into practice during 11-on-11 work as he caught multiple balls while working the middle of the field.
Logan Mankins participated in the team's warmup and was on the field for the first few drills, but he eventually left the field and was not seen participating for the remainder of the session.
DEFENSIVE LINEMAN GETTING UP TO SPEED
Vince Wilfork continues to participate in most drills, though he seemed to get fewer reps as the afternoon wore on. Tommy Kelly saw action in 11-on-11 work for the first time in front of media. Will Smith was on the field for the duration of the workout, but his work was limited as well. Even though all three are still not participating fully, it seems, they do seem to be progressing. Kelly missed last Thursday's OTA while both Wilfork and Kelly headed for the bubble about an hour into last week's open OTA.
HIGH AND LOW FOR JIMMY G
Jimmy Garoppolo got plenty of snaps late in practice in 11-on-11. He took plenty of checkdown options and it was obvious that his release point and sightlines at 6-2 are quite different than Tom Brady’s. In 11-on-11 work, we had Garoppolo as 17-for-24. But Garoppolo’s downfield touch – ballyhooed before the draft – was illustrated on his best throw of the day. After taking initial heat, Garoppolo stepped up in the pocket, slid to his right and dropped a 40-yard rainbow in down the right sideline. It went over the corner and beat the safety coming over in support. Beautiful throw. After that, his accuracy went south for a bit before Brady came back on.
The Patriots piped noise into practice in order to force players to work on their on-the-field communication. The classic rock set that blared was led by a Bill Belichick favorite: Bon Jovi. It also included The Who and U2.
HARMON THE STARTER?
Duron Harmon wouldn't say after practice whether or not he considered himself a starter, but he certainly looked like the choice during Tuesday's practice. There were a few instances in which he, McCourty, Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner worked together on their own with defensive backs coach Josh Boyer.
AFTER THE FACT
Some of the players drawing the biggest crowds after practice were Tommy Kelly,Chandler Jones, Garoppolo and Harmon.
Phil Perry contributed to these notes.