The New England Patriots wrapped up their first mandatory session of practice today, and from what the team’s beat writers reported, it sounded like another positive one. Tom Brady was sharp, Jimmy Garoppolo bounced back, Gronk is still Gronk, and a few other names really shined as well.
Here are observations from those that were at practice:
"Tom Brady was very sharp, completing 24 of 33 passes in 11-on-11s and 5 of 6 in 7-on-7s. Jimmy Garoppolo was 26 of 32 with an interception in 11-on-11s and 5 of 6 in 7-on-7s.Amendola had his best day of the four open practices. He had one great catch midway through the workout when he made a leaping catch over a defender, and it was his first of three connections during an 11-on-11 period in which Brady went 12 of 16"
"Chandler and Boyce each didn’t finish practice after suffering what appeared to be minor injuries. Both players looked fine walking off the field.Malcolm Butler and Logan Ryan saw the most action at cornerback. Free-agent addition Robert McClain made a pass breakup on a long attempt from Garoppolo."
"No one ever said it’s easy to be an NFL quarterback, but the job is certainly made easier by Gronk, who covers an outrageous amount of ground with each stride and, quite often, is close to impossible to cover.When the ball is thrown high in traffic, there isn’t much any defensive back can do against Gronkowski. That holds true with pads or without them. Not surprisingly, he was the star of the Patriots’ first day of minicamp."
Brady being sharp is no surprise, as he always takes these summer sessions seriously, particularly when he has come under fire from deflate-gate. However it was nice to hear that Garoppolo didn’t let that five interception practice get to him, because even if Brady’s suspension is taken away, Garoppolo might be the guy of the future, and Pats fans need to see that he is making improvements.
The continued dominance of Gronk and Chandler is also no surprise, given that they are two of the biggest mismatch nightmares in the entire NFL. These two towers are going to be unstoppable in the red zone come September, which is another reason why I believe the Patriots have the best overall offense in the league. We all know Gronk is a beast, but the NFL is about to get reintroduced to Chandler, who is an athletic freak in his own right.
I have always liked Amendola’s game, and I always felt like he received too much criticism for his lack of production in New England. In this kind of offensive system, as long as Julian Edelman is here, Amendola is not going to put up gaudy numbers. In this offense, he is literally the fourth, sometimes fifth option, and when you look across the league, he is probably the best fourth option there is.
It’s also good to hear that Malcolm Butler is staying at the top of the depth chart, even after his three week “benching.” Butler is a very talented player, and I hope he shows the world this year that he is not going to live off his Super Bowl interception forever.