FOXBORO -- The Patriots ran a crisp OTA session on Thursday, the team's ninth of ten OTAs this offseason before minicamp kicks off next week. It was the third session open to the media over the last three weeks, and there were a few new takeaways throughout the course of the 1-hour, 45-minute practice that we'll hit quickly here.
Ryan Mallett was noticeably not present during Thursday's work. According to Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald, his absence was "excused." Of course, the OTAs are technically optional. But when the entire team shows up and someone -- particularly a quarterback -- doesn't, it draws attention. No reason to think Mallett won't be around during minicamp, but his absence did provide us with an extended look at this year's second-round draft pick Jimmy Garoppolo.
Garoppolo has a day
It was far from perfect, but Garoppolo's accuracy appeared to be much better on Thursday after he had a hard time completing passes in the rain during last week's open OTA. He showed particularly good precision in short completions to running back James White, receiver Josh Boyce and receiver Reese Wiggins. Garoppolo threw both with a glove and without -- as he did last week -- and he avoided being picked when throwing in the direction of Brandon Browner three times during 7-on-7 drills. (Browner did get his hands on one Garoppolo toss for a pass breakup.) One of the knocks against Garoppolo leading up to the draft was that he had hands on the smaller side, and those mitts may have hurt him late in the practice. During one pump fake, the ball slipped out of his hands and fell harmlessly to the turf near his feet for an incompletion. After the practice was over, Garoppolo spent about 20 minutes throwing to Wiggins, Jeremy Gallon, Wilson Van Hooser and recent signing Jeremy Johnson.
During special teams periods, Brady, Edelman and Danny Amendola made use of the time by going to an open end of one of the practice fields to work on routes and timing near the goal line. It was fascinating to watch Brady emphatically direct traffic with two of his primary receivers. They appeared to be going into detail on the angles of routes with Brady taking the lead. The quarterback seemed to take those few minutes very seriously, giving both wideouts positive feedback and constructive criticism throughout.
Solder back in action
Nate Solder was back at his customary spot at left tackle for the duration of the OTA. During last week's session that was open to the media, Solder participated in a rehab group that made its way into the Dana Farber Field House after a few minutes. He appeared to be a full participant this time around. Sebastian Vollmer and Marcus Cannon shared the majority of the workload at right tackle during drills.
Aside from Mallett, the other Patriots not spotted Thursday were Brandon LaFell, Aaron Dobson, Alfonzo Dennard, Dominique Easley, Tommy Kelly and Armond Armstead. Armstead was also not seen during last week's session after appearing for the first OTA open to the media two weeks ago. Rookies Jeremy Gallon and Cameron Fleming -- who reported to the team this week -- were present and accounted for after missing last week.
In the bubble
A rehabbing group of players -- Rob Gronkowski, DJ Williams, Deontae Skinner, Justin Green and Daxton Swanson -- warmed up with the team and quickly made their way inside the Dana Farber Field House. Vince Wilfork and Will Smith headed inside the Field House after about an hour of work, while Gronkowski, Green and Swanson emerged around the same time. Gronkowski, however, was not seen participating in any of the 7-on-7 or 11-on-11 drills late in the practice.
Going after Revis
In the two previous OTAs open to the media, not a single pass had been thrown in the direction of Darrelle Revis. That changed Thursday as Tom Brady completed three passes to Julian Edelman with Revis in coverage. On one pass it looked as though Revis was guarding against a long completion and played off of Edelman. On the other two, Revis was beaten to the sideline by Edelman and Brady's attempts were on the money.
At 6-foot-3, 282 pounds, Will Smith is more Wilforkian than Revish, but during a drop-back drill for defensive ends, the big man moved well and made one leaping grab that was particularly impressive. For a player of his size -- coming off of ACL surgery, no less -- Smith showed glimpses of what made him a hard-to-handle athlete in New Orleans.
Rookie center Bryan Stork found himself running a couple of laps at different points during Thursday's session. We didn't see the reason for why he was sent on his first punishment jog early in the afternoon, but you couldn't miss what happened before the second. During the 11-on-11 portion of practice, Stork appeared to forget the snap count and was loudly admonished by Brady.
After the fact
Players who were available and spoke to the media after practice included Rob Ninkovich, Jamie Collins, Dont'a Hightower, James Anderson and Sebastian Vollmer. We'll have more on them later on the Patriots Talk blog.