On the eighth day of training camp, the Patriots held an intrasquad scrimmage, splitting their players into blue and white teams and going at it in a shorts-and-shells scrimmage after being in pads for each of their last five practices.
Cloudy and cool. Temperature in the low 70s. A sprinkle here and there. Perfect weather in which to work.
WHAT THEY WORE
Shorts and shell shoulder pads. Tim Tebow, Ryan Mallett and Tom Brady were turned out nicely in red “don’t hit me” jerseys. Devin McCourty shed the red and was in a regular contact jersey for the first time since training camp opened.
WHO WASN’T THERE
Ras-I Dowling, Jake Ballard, Jermaine Cunningham, safeties Nate Ebner and Tavon Wilson, offensive linemen Marcus Cannon and newly-signed Lavasier Tuinei, defensive lineman Armond Armstead, Michael Jenkins, Mark Harrison and Rob Gronkowski all were non-participants.
WHAT THEY DID
With this being a scrimmage day, the team did it’s normal warmup routine including light running and dynamic stretching before getting into the scrimmage work itself around 10 a.m. Almost all of it was 11-on-11. There were situational sessions for special teams and Bill Belichick ran things from on the field. At times, normal drives were allowed to progress. At other times, Belichick would yell out a situation and the two sides would have to adjust.
Zach Sudfeld. The rookie tight end is 6-7, 260 but – and this is a good thing – he moves like a much smaller guy. Can’t wait to see him in preseason action because he’s been very good on the practice fields.
Jamie Collins. Always around the ball on Saturday and certainly appearing competent in terms of knowing assignments and being on top of his jobs.
Danny Amendola. Regardless of whether it’s Tom Brady or Ryan Mallett throwing to him Amendola is whippet-quick and explosive and rarely lets the ball get loose even on short crosses where he has to make a body catch because of the close quarters.
Tim Tebow. He was inaccurate.
Tim Tebow. He was indecisive.
Tim Tebow. He engendered sympathy among some in the media tent as play after play and throw after throw looked wrong, wrong, wrong.
WHAT WE SAW
Julian Edelman, despite appearing to move gingerly for a spell Friday, came back full speed on Saturday. The ankle is on his mind, as can be seen by him testing it frequently, but he’s moving well.
It was a light day of work for Shane Vereen and Brandon Bolden. Not sure if it was injury-related.
Offensive lineman Tyronne Green, who seemed to need some trainer attention on Friday, labored a bit on Saturday. He’s been getting a lot of reps now that Marcus Cannon is missing time and Dan Connolly has been dressing for practices but limited. Markus Zusevics was taking right guard reps on Saturday as things are thin at that spot.
Rob Ninkovich did some snapping on Saturday.
Saturday being Tom Brady’s 36th birthday, someone had “Happy 40th Birthday Tom Brady” shirts made up. Pepper Johnson wore his to practice. He made it sound like everyone was supposed to be wearing them. “I’m the only fool who wore it out to practice,” he moaned.
There weren’t a lot of reps for Tom Brady on Saturday. Tim Tebow ran the blue team, Brady and Mallett ran the white team.
Timing on intermediate timing throws and crossing patterns is not a strong suit of Ryan Mallett’s. But his velocity and accuracy on throws downfield and to the sideline couldn’t be much better. He threw a flippin’ dart to Kamar Aiken out at the left hash that left a vapor trail for the 20 yards it traveled and hit Aiken right in the mitts.
At one point during Saturday’s practice, a writer watched another Tim Tebow pass end up in an odd spot. The writer sighed and said, "I feel sorry for him. I want it to stop."
After a few days of decent accuracy, Tebow was a not-so-excellent adventure on Saturday. He was again slow to make reads, leading to pass rushers having to stop next to him and stare into the earhole of his helmet while he stutter-stepped around the pocket and patted the ball. When he did deliver, he was wild low and wide far too often. He got picked off by Jake Bequette on a ricochet after throwing to late to tight end Michael Hoomanawanui. He got picked on a sliding play by rookie Duron Harmon on a low throw to the sidelines that wasn’t going to get to the receiver. He overthrew Leon Washington on a wheel route by about 8 feet. He led Aaron Dobson into a collision with safety Steve Gregory and made several decisions that – if this were a contact practice – would have had the cart wearing a path onto the field to pick up his receivers. He did complete a bomb to Josh Boyce. And he made two terrific throws to Quentin Sims on fades where Sims was able to elevate over his defender. But for every 10 throws he makes, at least half are poor.
Really nice practice for rookie tight end Zach Sudfeld who had extra time on the field thanks to the absence of Jake Ballard and showed a lot of speed and agility for the position.