RICHMOND, Virginia -- Here's the Postcard from August 4, Day 11 of Patriots training camp, the first day of conjugal practices with the Washington Redskins at their Richmond training facility. With Dr. Phil A. Perry back in Burlington, the postcard is back in my hands and I am daunted by the level at which Dr. Perry performed. Plus, we had crappy vantage points here – field level in the end zone. Excuses out of the way, here we go.
Cloudy and mild at the start but by mid-practice the clouds parted and the swelter descended.
WHAT THEY WORE
Full pads. Every day since Day 3 they’ve been in the pads.
Rob Gronkowski was not seen at all. Given he’s been held out of all team drills back in Foxboro and these practices are team-drill heavy, it’s a discretionary move by the team. Brandon Bolden was also absent while linebacker Deontae Skinner saw his first action. Running back Roy Finch, who went down in Friday’s stadium practice was on the field. Others not spotted included: Aaron Dobson, Dominique Easley, Bryan Stork, Jemea Thomas, Tyler Gaffney, Cameron Gordon, Michael Hoomanawanui, Chris Martin and Jeremy Gallon.
WHAT THEY DID
Both teams were out on the field by 8:45 and took residence on adjoining fields. The Patriots got right into their running and dynamic stretching while Bill Belichick caught up with Redskins’ great Joe Theismann. Redskins owner Dan Snyder stopped by as those two chatted.
The Patriots then split into position drills. The offensive linemen did a drill in which they held tiny iron ladders about 18-inches long and – along with a teammate – pushed, pulled and twisted against each other.
The backs and quarterbacks segued into some running game work taking handoffs.
By 9:15, the two teams were intermingling for individual drills. The Redskins DBs went against the Patriots wideouts with Tom Brady, Ryan Mallett and Jimmy Garoppolo throwing.
The rest of practice featured the teams working together in 7-on-7, 11-on-11 and the lines going against each other in pass-rush drills. The only special teams work done was field goals and extra points. Very little punting and kickoff work.
WHAT WE SAW
During WR-DB drills, Julian Edelman was outstanding. He did have a drop on a cross but he followed that with a comeback on the left sideline after driving his man hard and getting him to turn. The ball was there from Brady as Edelman turned.
Corner Logan Ryan somehow lost his helmet while defending Redskin Andre Roberts.
Bryan Tyms beat Washington’s Chase Minnifield on a deep ball thrown by Brady and let out a roar after hauling it in.
Rambo Baccari put a solid thump on Kenbrell Thompkins during the non-contact drill. Thompkins stayed up. Baccari also picked off Ryan Mallett who had a few picks in the individual drills.
When the teams split into running game work, the Patriots’ offensive line cleared some very big holes and got several effective carries out of Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen and James White.
It’s rare to see balls completed on Darrelle Revis but Robert Griffin did drop one in to DeSean Jackson over a leaping Revis on the right sideline as Devin McCourty closed.
Brady went 4 for 5 in his first 11-on-11 action, hitting Edelman on a cross, Danny Amendola on an out (nice hands catch on the wide throw by Brady), a flare to Edelman in the flat and an out to Edelman in the left flat. The only misfire was a high throw that glanced off the hands of a leaping Kenbrell Thompkins. James White was on the field for several straight reps as the Pats went four and five wide. D.J. Williams got the reps at tight end with Gronk and Hooman not available.
Mallett went 3 for 4 in relief of Brady, then Brady came back to work with the 2s and completed a long throw to Thompkins (Brady would have been sacked on that one) and also to Josh Boyce on a comeback.
The Patriots defensive line worked tandem rushes against the Skins’ offensive linemen. One thing that stood out was the thump that Will Smith brings on every rep. He’s not a tall defensive end, but his power is evident.
Kyle Arrington and Andre Roberts went down in a tangled heap during a 7-on-7 drill and Arrington got up agitated at Roberts who shrugged and talked back at Arrington over his shoulder while trotting away.
When the team’s got together for 11-on-11s next, the Patriots went up-tempo and Brady was blistering. He hit Brandon Lafell and Shane Vereen on the left sideline. Lafell had a drop followed by a nice pitch-and-catch from Brady to D.J. Williams down the seam. Brady hit Lafell once more to cap the drive.
When the Patriots defense was on the field, the Skins offensive line had a helluva time creating space and time for RG3 who had to tuck it and scramble on a few occasions.
Justin Jones made a very nice grab of a poorly thrown ball by Jimmy Garoppolo down the seam when the 2s and 3s got on the field.
Tom Brady. From tempo in and out of the huddle to accuracy to enthusiasm, Brady had an outstanding day and left a number of the Redskins defenders – Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan – slack-jawed.
Danny Amendola-Julian Edelman. Both guys were tough covers for the Redskins defensive backs and were in sync with Brady. Brady’s first inclination is to go to Edelman, but Amendola made the most of his looks with reliable hands on some tough throws.
Nate Solder had his hands full with Brian Orakpo in 1-on-1s.
Ryan Mallett was lauded by NFL Network expert Mike Mayock for looking like a bona fide NFL starter on Monday but I mustn’t have been watching at the same time. Mallett had several picks and deflected passes during the 11-on-11 and individual drills.
WHAT THEY SAID
"Long as I want to be around, I’ll be around." Vince Wilfork