Postcard from Patriots training camp: Day 5

Postcard from Patriots training camp: Day 5
July 29, 2014, 12:00 pm
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FOXBORO -- Here's the Postcard for Day 5 of Patriots training camp on Tuesday, July 29.

WEATHER

Eighty degrees and only partly cloudy. Couldn't ask for better.

WHAT THEY WORE

Full pads for the third straight practice. Quarterbacks wore red non-contact jerseys. Tommy Kelly, who has been wearing shoulder pads and shorts during padded practice days, wore football pants with pads for the first time.

ATTENDANCE

Aaron Dobson, Matthew Slater, Dominique Easley, Jeremy Gallon and Chris Martin were in shorts and working as part of a rehab group. Dan Connolly, Jemea Thomas and Michael Hoomanawanui -- who appeared to tweak something at the end of Sunday's session -- were not spotted.

Alfonzo Dennard was in full pads Tuesday but did not participate fully, skipping 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 work. Rob Gronkowski also didn't participate in those team offense-versus-defense periods, but he got plenty of reps with Tom Brady at other points in practice.

WHAT THEY DID

The team started as it often does by running through plays at half-speed. They followed that up with stretching and positional drills.

The team then broke off into different groups, working some drills that involved multiple positions: Quarterbacks and running backs worked on their handoff exchanges and defensive linemen and tight ends worked on a point-of-attack drill.

Wide receivers and corners worked against each other in a drill that focused on play at the line, with the defensive backs letting their receivers go after a few steps.  After one round of playing that way, the corners got more aggressive.

The offense and defense got after it a little bit on two separate fields. On one, Brady threw option routes to receivers freelancing against defensive backs at the goal line. On the other field, defensive linemen, offensive linemen and running backs focused in on the run game.

Brady and Gronkowski worked together, with tight ends coach Brian Daboll, on their connection near the goal line.

Seven-on-seven work followed, as did an 11-on-11 period. The team then got into a quick tackling drill where two players (one with the ball) laid on their backs and then, on the sound of the whistle, went at each other. 

More 11-on-11 stuff was followed by goal-line work and two-minute drill reps before they worked on field goals and called practice for the morning.

WHO'S HOT

-- Julian Edelman made a series of nice catches in one-on-one work, including a spectacular diving grab. He's earned Brady's trust, and he's keeping it by separating himself as the team's top receiver.

-- Logan Ryan stuck with Edelman very well in one-on-ones and finished off that period with a nice interception of Brady. The Patriots could do worse if Ryan ends up as the corner opposite Darrelle Revis when the season starts. (Dennard continues to work his way back from injury and Brandon Browner will be suspended for the first four weeks of the regular season.)

WHO'S NOT

-- Josh Boyce has been plagued by injury in his young career and it appears as though he tweaked something late in the practice that forced him to miss the later 11-on-11 periods. Not a good sign for someone who could contribute not only on offense with his above-average speed, but also with his ability to return kicks.

WHAT WE SAW

-- About an hour into the session came an interesting period in which receivers were allowed to run whatever route they wanted in order to get free from one-on-one coverage. Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo served as the quarterbacks and anticipated their receivers' routes, trying to hit them as soon as there was daylight. Edelman made a ridiculous one-handed catch diving in the end zone that stood out, but the overall competitive level of the drill was tremendous. To see Revis going full speed against Edelman, or Browner go against Danny Amendola, made it one of the most entertaining periods of camp to this point.

-- Soon thereafter, as Brady and Gronkowski worked together on their connection (since Gronkowski still is not participating in full-contact passing drills) Revis stopped by to defend Gronkowski, going only half-speed.

-- Special teams coach Scott O'Brien ran a drill with a few of his players on the kickoff-return unit, honing in on return blockers getting into their drops and then finding their blocking assignments.

-- Receivers worked a concentration drill where they were asked to catch passes in the back corner of the end zone while a coaching assistant waived a paddle in front of them to mock a defender's hand.

-- Quarterbacks and running backs worked on their exchanges on draw plays. Ryan Mallett got all messed up with his footwork on his first attempt and put the ball on the ground.

 -- Defensive end Will Smith got a lap early in the practice for jumping offsides in a one-one-one drill working against tight ends. Since Bill Belichick was overseeing the drill, the head coach personally sent Smith on his way.

 -- Justin Green took a ball off the facemask in a one-on-one drill. Dennard looked OK in this drill, leaping off both feet to break up a pass.

 -- Boyce, Roy Finch, James White, Brandon LaFell and Travis Hawkins appeared to be a few of the players getting kickoff return reps. Boyce, if healthy, appears to be the first option in that role.  LaFell and White didn't field any kicks as they appeared to be in the traffic-director role normally played by Slater.

-- Charlie Weis, the Patriots' offensive coordinator during the Super Bowl years and currently the head coach at the University of Kansas, was in the house to watch a portion of the workout. Owner Robert Kraft also stopped by and spent a minute chatting with Brady in between practice periods.

-- During the one-on-one tackling drill where two players started on their backs, Finch fumbled when Devin McCourty punched the ball loose. Edelman high-stepped by Browner easily without being touched.

-- Boyce sat out for a chunk of the 11-on-11 work, sitting on a cooler. Unclear what was keeping him out.

-- Shane Vereen seemed to get more repetitions with Brady than Stevan Ridley on Tuesday. Ridley was consistently taking handoffs from Mallett.

7-on-7

-- Brady pulls it down to run after not finding any openings.

-- Brady to Edelman, with Devin McCourty in coverage.

-- Brady to Edelman deep down the sideline. Revis was trailing Edelman and appeared to get beat. Hard to tell if Revis let up or not.

-- Brady complete deep down the middle of the field to LaFell with Malcolm Butler and Nate Ebner all over him. Brady celebrated after by slapping LaFell on the helmet for making a difficult catch.

-- Mallett to Vereen underneath.

-- Mallett to Brandon Bolden short.

-- Garoppolo to Brian Tyms over the middle.

-- Garoppolo incomplete to Wilson Van Hooser. Good diving breakup by Kyle Arrington.

-- Brady to Ridley over the middle with Jamie Collins in coverage.

-- Brady to Edelman with Browner in coverage.

-- Brady incomplete to Vereen with Collins in coverage.

-- Brady to Edelman at the goal line with Arrington in coverage.

-- Mallett complete to Boyce over the middle.

-- Mallett incomplete to LaFell. Ball went off LaFell's hands on the back-shoulder throw.

-- Mallett complete to Wilson Van Hooser at the goal line.

-- Mallett complete to Tyms in the back of the end zone. Mallet let out a little celebration after the well-executed throw.

 -- Garoppolo complete to Tyms in the end zone with Revis on his hip. Great one-handed catch by Tyms on a ball thrown behind him.

11-on-11 (third-down focus)

-- Brady complete to Kenbrell Thompkins over the middle.

-- Brady complete to Edelman with McCourty in coverage.

-- Brady complete to LaFell over the middle.

-- Brady complete to James White with Collins in coverage.

-- Mallett complete to Boyce on a slant with Browner in coverage.

-- Mallett incomplete to Justin Jones with Collins in coverage.

-- Mallett incomplete to Tyms down the sideline. Ball thrown behind.

-- Garoppolo incomplete after scrambling. Threw it away when he couldn't find anyone.

11-on-11 (second-down focus) 

-- Brady play-action incompletion. He threw it into the line when he saw he had nothing. The ball drilled Vince Wilfork, who playfully went after Brady for a second.

-- Brady complete to Amendola for a very short gain -- if any. Amendola was drilled as soon as he caught it. Couldn't tell who made the play.

-- Brady complete to Vereen on a screen play that went for a good gain. Marcus Cannon did a nice job of getting out away from the line and leading the convoy.

-- Mallett complete to Ridley on a screen.

-- Mallett incomplete on a short pass broken up by Arrington.

-- Mallett incomplete out of bounds.

-- Garoppolo got one snap and it was a handoff.

11-on-11 (third-down focus) 

-- Brady incomplete to LaFell, who fell down mid-route.

-- Brady incomplete to Thompkins deep down the field, with Tavon Wilson coming over to break things up.

-- Logan Mankins beaten by Chris Jones on what would've been a sack, except Brady steps up and hits Edelman deep down the sideline.

-- Mallett complete to Derrick Johnson over the middle.

-- Garoppolo picked deep down the field by Hawkins.