The New England Patriots completed their second practice of training camp today, with another no pads session. They will put on the pads tomorrow.
Let’s start off with the attendance report, from Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald.
Looks like Dobson, Dennard, Easley, Kelly, Slater will continue rehabbing to side of practice. Jemea Thomas only new absentee today.
— Jeff Howe (@jeffphowe) July 25, 2014
Jemea Thomas is a rookie out of Georgia Tech, who I personally was excited to see in camp. Obviously he won’t be competing for a starting job, but I like his talent, and I was hoping he would get some decent time in with the first team defense. We will keep you updated on this situation as it progresses .
Rookie QB Jimmy Garoppolo with some noticeable struggles today (2 INTs) as some early growing pains evident.
— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) July 25, 2014
Rookies are going to struggle. That is a fact. But since this pick was such a controversial one, I am pretty sure Pats fans will be overreacting all day long. Garoppolo is a good talent, but he is far from a finished product. Throwing a couple of picks in your first training camp is not only normal, but good for you. You need to experience what it is like to struggle in a game-like situation to prepare for his future in this league.
Monitoring how Garoppolo bounces back will be huge, as that is really where you can tell if a player is going to make it, particularly a quarterback. Garoppolo must learn to have a short memory if he wants to succeed in the NFL, and it starts in camp.
The two biggest bright spots appeared to be Thompkins and Vereen, who according to reports played very well throughout the practice session. Here is Christopher Price from WEEI on Thompkins:
It was another good day for Kenbrell Thompkins, who appeared to spend the bulk of his morning working with a reasonable facsimile of the No. 1 offense. He had some impressive connections with Brady, including a play where he had a sweet diving catch on 7-on-7s. As was the case on Thursday, it’s debatable how many opportunities he would have had it Dobson was on the field. But for the second straight day, he did a nice job making the most of his chances.
As far as I’m concerned, Thompkins owns the third receiver spot right now. Aaron Dobson may take that title away from him when he returns from injury, but until then, Thompkins deserves praise. Bill Belichick and Tom Brady have commented on how hard he works, which is pretty much the highest form of a compliment you can get in New England. The Patriots are looking for another receiving threat to go along with Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola, and Thompkins may end up being that guy.
Here is what Doug Kyed saw on Shane Vereen:
Shane Vereen had a great day of practice. He was catching everything.
— Doug Kyed (@DougKyedNESN) July 25, 2014
Of course, we can’t forget about Rob Gronkowski, who practiced for the second straight day, albeit in a limited fashion. I don’ think New England should change anything here, as they can’t afford to lose Gronk to another injury. Bring him back slowly, and wait until he is ready to handle full action.
Gronk was limited again. He wasn’t practicing during 7v7s or 11v11s — Mark Daniels (@MarkDanielsPJ) July 25, 2014
He also got in some extra work with Tom Brady again, running through multiple routes with his quarterback after practice. Again, I think this has to do with Gronk missing a significant amount of time over the last two years, and Brady simply wants to make sure they get back on the same page.
Similar to Thursday, Rob Gronkowski works after practice w/ Tom Brady. Gronkowski again did individual drills in practice, not team drills. — Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) July 25, 2014
Here are a few final nuggets I want to pass along:
- Edelman and Kyle Arrington got into a brief shoving match during practice. “We’re best friends,” Arrington said. “Two competitive guys. It’s like fighting with your sibling.”
- One of Thompkins’ great catches came against Revis, who he beat for a touchdown.
- We have our first major injury of camp, as wide receiver Greg Orton hurt his knee, and needed a cart to get off the field.
- After struggling a bit yesterday, Brandon LaFell bounced back, not appearing to drop any balls.
- Another bad day for Brandon Bolden, who continues to struggle holding on to the ball.
- Doug Kyed gives us the passing numbers for Garoppolo, Brady, and Mallett.