In the fourth practice of training camp of the New England Patriots, they decided to change things up a bit, and lighten Tom Brady‘s workload. However before we get into that, here are the players absent as per Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald:
Today’s practice was cut a bit short due to weather, but I promise you that Bill Belichick made sure to get everything out of his players before they called it quits. The big story out of today’s session was the focus on the run game, which resulted in a smaller workload for Tom Brady.
Once again, from Jeff Howe:
Tom Brady had a very light workout, which happens from time to time during camp. He completed both passes in 7-on-7s, and Kenbrell Thompkins dropped Brady’s lone pass in 11-on-11s.
Putting a bigger focus on the run, and giving the other two quarterbacks more opportunities is something that must be done at times in New England. We know what Tom Brady is going to give us. He is one of, if not the best quarterback of all time, meaning he will always come out and put on a show. But the same cannot be said for the Pats’ group of running backs, or Ryan Mallett and Jimmy Garoppolo. They need all the practice they can get, so if getting them more time on the practice field means Brady has to take a break once in awhile, so be it.
If the Patriots want to have one of the best offensive units in the league next year, they will need their running game to produce. Brady doesn’t have the weapons of past years, and while they certainly will put up a lot of good numbers, this offense won’t be one of the best if Stevan Ridley and company don’t play well. The Pats have an extremely talented stable of backs, so with more practice, they will be ready to bring their ‘A game’ all year long.
The Pats worked on plenty of rush plays, in the middle of the field and on the goal line. Stevan Ridley had a strong day along with rookie running back James White.
The other two big storylines I would like to note, are Rob Gronkowski getting a bit more work, and the rise of rookie running back James White. Prior to today, Gronkowski had been limited to individual work, but today he participated in a bit of the 11-on-11 part of practice. New England is slowly bringing Gronk back into the mix, and while half-speed 11-on-11 certainly is not the end goal, it is a good sign to see him making progress.
Rob Gronkowski briefly took part in an 11-on-11 drill when the offense lightly ran through running plays against the defense. It’s a quick measure of progress, but they were going half speed. He still hasn’t taken any live reps against the defense through four practices.
As for White, he has been getting more and more quality reps as practice as gone on, which in my mind only solidifies the notion that he will play an important role in the 2014 season. When the Pats drafted White, I said he could possibly make the biggest impact in this coming season than any of their other draft picks, and if training camp is any indication, I may be right.
Here are some other bits of information from practice:
Jimmy Garoppolo had a much better day throwing the football, but had to take another lap because of a fumbled snap.
In Mike Reiss’ day four observations report, he notes who is winning the 1-on-1 battles in the trenches.
Here are the quarerback’s throwing numbers from today.
Tags: New England Patriots