FOXBORO -- We're still three months away from Week 1, but the Patriots were in mid-season form on Thursday in one regard: Rain or shine, they practice outside.
It poured for the majority of the OTA session on Thursday -- the second session of the offseason that was made available to the media -- but the team avoided any apparent injuries and got plenty of reps in the typically unpredictable New England weather conditions.
Here are a few quick takeaways from some of the things we saw in the hour-and-a-half window of action reporters were able to take in.
Garoppolo lets it fly
Since he missed Friday's OTA session, the media had not had a chance to see second-round pick Jimmy Garoppolo throw passes to his teammates until Thursday morning. The quick release he showed at Eastern Illinois was visible from the sidelines, but he had some accuracy issues as he let it go in the wet weather. More on his day later.
Rehab group heads indoors
Like last week, there was a group of players who worked off to the side as they make their way back from various ailments. Rob Gronkowski, Nate Solder, Matthew Slater, DJ Williams, Deontae Skinner and Justin Green were among those who began the OTA with the team and then headed into the Dana Farber Field House after a few minutes. Defensive lineman Will Smith joined them later after doing some drills with the defense. Running back Brandon Bolden was also limited in drills.
Missing in action
Among those not spotted Thursday were Aaron Dobson (foot), Dominique Easley (knee), Alfonzo Dennard, Armond Armstead, Jeremy Gallon and Cameron Fleming.
Wilfork, Vollmer participating
Vince Wilfork and Sebastian Vollmer -- both coming off of season-ending injuries in 2013 -- were on the field with their teammates for the duration of the OTA, as they were last week. Hard to decipher whether or not they were participating fully, but both took part in 11-on-11 portions of practice and seemed to be moving reasonably well.
First look at LaFell
Brandon LaFell was excused from Friday's OTA to attend a function at his high school back in Texas so Thursday was the media's first opportunity to see him get his hands on passes from Tom Brady. He dropped the first ball of the day thrown his way and muffed another as the rain continued. But he looked to be moving fluidly and his height stands out when compared to some of New England's other receiving options.
Return on investment
The Patriots worked out a handful of kick returners with special teams coach Scott O'Brien belting out instructions to the kick and kick return units. Josh Boyce, Roy Finch, Shane Vereen, Reese Wiggins and LaFell all tried their hand at returning kicks Thursday.
Highlight for the defense
There was a particularly loud reaction from Patriots defensive players towards the end of practice in 2-minute, 11-on-11 work. Brady dropped back to pass and looked deep down the sideline to Boyce, but the ball was picked off by Brandon Browner. The defense had a handful of picks -- two off of Ryan Mallett and one off of Garoppolo -- at the end of the session.
Players available after the fact
Inside the more comfortable (dry) confines of the visitor's locker room at Gillette Stadium, a collection of Patriots players spoke to the media: Julian Edelman, Stevan Ridley, Danny Amendola, Patrick Chung, Duron Harmon, Logan Ryan and LaFell. We'll have more from them later this afternoon on the Patriots Talk blog.