New England Patriots OTA’s: Tom Brady Present, Malcolm Butler Among Those Absent


The New England Patriots held their third practice of the offseason today, and for the first time, the media was allowed to watch. It sounded like it was a productive session, with a number of players speaking with the media afterwords.

Here are a few notes from Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald:

"Notable absences: Sebastian Vollmer, Ryan Wendell, Dont’a Hightower, Jerod Mayo, Brandon LaFell, Malcolm Butler, Chandler Jones, Matthew SlaterTom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo evenly split the team reps after the first run of 7-on-7 drills, but Brady appeared to throw against more of the starting defense and had almost exclusive usage of Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman.In all, Brady completed 11 of 18 passes in 7-on-7 work and 7 of 11 in 11-on-11 drills. Garoppolo was 8 of 11 in 7-on-7s and 8 of 11 in 11-on-11s. Brady opened 7-on-7s by going 5 of 12, and Garoppolo was 4 of 5. After that, they evenly split their throws in each period.Brady had the throw of the day to Edelman on a crossing pattern through coverage in the end zone for a touchdown.There were flashes when Edelman and Gronkowski were overly dominant, which obviously isn’t a surprise, but it’s noteworthy that they’re making a seamless transition to 2015.Aaron Dobson and Brian Tyms both looked pretty good, and they each got a heightened amount of chances in LaFell’s absence."

It’s impossible to make a lot of judgement on a team when they are only practicing for the third time, and in no pads, but a lot of the notes Howe made match up with what we were expecting coming into 2015. Brandon LaFell, Danny Amendola, and the role-playing tight ends will make an impact in 2015, but we all know Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski are going to dominate the show, and that is what happened in OTA’s. Gronk is the best offensive weapon in the game, and Edelman is not too far behind him, and against this makeshift secondary, it is no surprise they feasted.

The two position competitions I am most interested in seeing are the cornerbacks, and the interior of the offensive line. I assume one of the rookies (Tre’ Jackson, Shaq Mason) will step in and start along the interior, but they have to prove it first. Once the pads get thrown on, I can’t wait to see what those two bring to the table.

As for the secondary, it is interesting that Malcolm Butler did not practice today, but as Howe mentions, it gives Logan Ryan and company some good opportunities to show what they have. Bradley Fletcher may have to play a big role for this team next season.

Here are some other leftover nuggets: