Postcard from Patriots Camp: Day 10

Postcard from Patriots Camp: Day 10
August 6, 2013, 7:15 pm
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The first of three intersquad practices with the Eagles at the Novacare Complex in downtown Philly on Monday. The players meandered to the field at noon as Bill Belichick addressed the media and then a lengthy session followed that couldn’t help but be a terrific exercise for both the players and coaches. Great competition all over the four fields.

WEATHER

Cloudy and warm but not too hot. Mid 70s. Some sprinkles at the end of practice.
 
WHAT THEY WORE
 
Full pads. Tim Tebow, Ryan Mallett and Tom Brady were turned out nicely in red “don’t hit me” jerseys.
 
WHO WASN’T THERE
 
Offensive linemen Dan Connolly, Marcus Cannon, Tyronne Green and Kevin Haslam., receivers Michael Jenkins and Mark Harrison, safety Nate Ebner, corner Ras-I Dowling, tight end Rob Gronkowski and defensive linemen Armond Armstead and Jermaine Cunningham were all absent.

WHAT THEY DID

The two teams milled about stretching loosely together and warming up as the full complements made their way onto the field. The teams then split up by themselves for the first hour. Walkthrough periods were followed by dynamic stretching and jogging. That was followed by positional drills, again with the Eagles and Patriots on separate fields.
 
After about an hour the two teams convened on neighboring fields for 1-on-1s. That was followed by special teams – kickoff and kickoff return – then 7-on-7 and 11-on-11s.  
 
HOT

Tom Brady. Insanely accurate and locked in against the eagles DB's

Jerod Mayo. Consistently repositioned teammates and was fast to the ball. Tough challenge against varies QB's and he was up to it.

NOT

Aaron Dobson. Ejected from practice after a scuffle with Cary Williams. Bad deal for Dobson.

Tavon Wilson. Burned over the top by Desean Jackson.
 
WHAT WE SAW
 
A real treat for a football fan as you could, at any one time, see so many players battling in 1-on-1 situations during the drill periods.
 
Tom Brady was absolutely brilliant on Tuesday. His dissection of the Eagles defensive backs during the 1-on-1 periods was something to behold. For about 10 minutes, Brady was in lockstep with his receivers and – even when coverage was there – found a spot in which to fit a pass his wideouts could get to but defenders couldn’t.
 
Aaron Dobson made a nice catch on a double-clutch when he was defended by Cary Williams on a cross. Williams and Dobson locked up later on during the first play of 11-on-11s with the Patriots offense on the field. Both players were sat down for the rest of practice, per an agreement between Bill Belichick and Chip Kelly to sit down combatants in case of fights. Williams and Dobson pushed for a few moments before Williams took a swing and Dobson raised his hands. Both guys sat anyway.
 
Eagles coach Chip Kelly explained, “(We agreed that if) someone got in extracurriculars they were going to be done for the day.  It was one way we made sure that didn't continue.  So I don't know exactly namewise who it was for them, but he sat and our guys sat.  That was one thing we agreed upon. We didn't want this to turn into a wrestling match.  Both of our squads knew before it happened.  If you're going to get in a skirmish, you're going to sit.”
 
One of the prettiest catches was a throw from Brady to Josh Boyce that Brady had to drop in the bucket, angling his throw directly over Boyce’s head to get the throw in.
 
Brady also dropped one in nicely over safety Kurt Coleman with Danny Amendola making the catch. Amendola also had a terrific diving grab for a touchdown during 11-on-11s. His only gaffe was a drop that got into his pads on a short red-zone dart by Brady.
 
Early in the 1-on-1s, the Patriots defensive backs – particularly their top-line ones – won consistently against the Eagles receivers and the quarterbacking combo of Michael Vick, Nick Foles and Matt Barkley.
 
One great matchup in the 1-on-1s was Aqib Talib and DeSean Jackson. Jackson’s got the speed and burst on Talib but Talib has the length to neutralize. Jackson ultimately used a double-move slant and go to beat Talib in one matchup.
 
The omnipresent but always silent team football researcher Ernie Adams nearly got run over by Patriots corner Brandon Jones on an incompletion near the sideline. “He just grazed me,” Adams said as he left the field after practice.
 
The 1-on-1s between the offensive and defensive lines concluded with the players doing a little post-series hockey handshake.
 
Barring injury, the Patriots’ disgusting output on kickoff returns should be at an end. Leon Washington still has it.
 
You know how the Patriots use tennis rackets to mimic the arms of pass rushers? The Eagles have attached what look like 5-foot window screens to shoulder pads which are worn by coaching assistants.
 
Developmental referee Sarah Thomas was on the field for the practice.
 
The Eagles are employing sideline cards with numbers and pictures to signal to their defense.
 
At one point during 7-on-7s, the Patriots completed 16 passes in a row against the Eagles defense. That streak was snapped by Tim Tebow firing one off the ankle of Zach Sudfeld on a short throw near the goal line.   
 
DeSean Jackson walked past Logan Ryan and Tavon Wilson for a long touchdown reception.
 
Dane Fletcher had a nice pass breakup on the goal line during 7-on-7s, spiking the ball loose after it appeared to have been tucked away.
 
Embattled Riley Cooper played very well against the Patriots secondary. One of his better plays was an over-the-shoulder catch with Alfonzo Dennard in coverage. Michael Vick scrambled to his left to make the throw and Bill Belichick lamented after the play that the loss of contain on the pass rush was the first step to the play going bad for New England.
 
WHAT THEY SAID

“Better. Still a lot of work to do.” – Tom Brady on the performance of his young receivers on Tuesday.
 
“One of the challenges against playing this team is you're playing against not only one of the top quarterbacks, but one of the top quarterbacks of all time.” – Chip Kelly on Brady.