Monday, Day Four
Aaron Dobson had a strong practice on Monday night and continues to look like a good find. Dobson unfortunately took a cleat to the leg and didn’t practice on Tuesday, but he was on the sidelines watching. I don’t think there is anything to worry about. Josh Boyce continued to impress on Monday, although he does show moments of being a rookie and has plenty to learn about the offense. Danny Amendola is by far the most polished wide receiver on the roster and had another good practice.
For the first time in camp, wide receiver Kenbrell Thompkins had a rough practice. Thompkins had multiple drops and muffed a punt during special team’s drills. Undrafted rookie free agents must avoid bad days; luckily this was Thompkins first. While Thompkins was struggling, another rookie free agent stepped up. Quentin Sims, the 6’3 wide receiver from Tennessee Martin, is quietly putting together a strong camp. On one play Monday night, Sims won a tough battle with Aqib Talib and made a nice catch down the sideline, prompting a “low five” from Bill Belichick as he ran back to the huddle.
On the defense, the secondary has looked promising, and Monday was no different. Alfonzo Dennard appears to be the most talented cornerback on the roster and had another strong night on Monday. Aqib Talib looks VERY comfortable and is playing for a contract; if he stays healthy, he’ll have a huge season. Talib finished off practice on Monday with a pick-6 of Tom Brady. Underrated safety Devin McCourty is wearing the red “non-contact” jersey, but he has been out there every day leading the secondary. Kyle Arrington, Logan Ryan and Marquise Cole have also played well in camp to date.
Monday Leftovers: The Patriots offense continued to work the wide receivers in the screen game and also throwing the ball to the backs coming out of the backfield. With a young receiving core and the absence of Gronkowski, this trend will most likely continue throughout camp and the preseason. Armond Armstead missed practice again, but at least now we know why. Armstead had surgery for an infection, which is not believed to be related to his prior issue.
Tuesday, Day Five
After a late practice on Monday night, the Patriots pushed back their Tuesday session from 1:30 to 2:15. Noticeably absent was wide receiver Aaron Dobson, who is hard to miss out there, and running back Brandon Bolden, who has looked good to date. Things started a little sloppy, with Josh Boyce running the wrong route and Amendola having a couple early drops and just an overall look of malaise, but eventually the team shook off the lethargy.
Tight end Daniel Fells stood out in Tuesday’s session, catching multiple passes from Tom Brady and Ryan Mallett and appearing to look like someone the Patriots can trust heading into the season. Zach Sudfeld made the play of the day with a diving catch in the end zone. Sudfeld used his 6’7 frame to catch the ball in double coverage; he is impressive, but health is always a worry. Wide receiver Kenbrell Thompkins returned back to the form, having a strong day that was highlighted by long touchdown catch from Tom Brady. Quentin Sims continued his strong play also, showing the ability to go up and get the ball in coverage.
This secondary has had the offenses number to date, but on Tuesday, Patriots receivers won the battle and made a good amount of plays. Ras-I Dowling had his first good day of camp, but he needs to be more consistent. Aqib Talib and Alfonzo Dennard also had their worst days of camp, but that was bound to happen at some point. Talib’ low point was getting beat by Matthew Slater for a touchdown.
Tuesday Leftovers: Tim Tebow opened practice running the read option. If nothing else, it allows the defense to get a look early and gives the Patriots another option if, God forbid, Tom Brady has to come off the field. The offensive line spent a good amount of time working on line calls. The field goal unit ran a well executed fake; Zoltan Mesko completed a pass (looked like he was throwing a shot-put) to Ben Bartholomew for what would have been a huge gain in a game situation. The day ended with a scuffle between Stevan Ridley and Kyle Arrington. Ridley tossed the ball at Arrington after a “live” session because he thought Arrington hit him too hard; not a big deal, just part of camp.
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