FOXBORO — The Patriots just wrapped up their second mandatory minicamp session on the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium, a session that ran for roughly two hours in shorts, jerseys and helmets. It was overcast and slightly cool — again, great weather for June football.

FOXBORO — The Patriots just wrapped up their second mandatory minicamp session on the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium, a session that ran for roughly two hours in shorts, jerseys and helmets. It was overcast and slightly cool — again, great weather for June football.

When it comes to attendance, tight end Rob Gronkowski was missing for the second consecutive day. In addition to Gronkowski, the following players were not spotted on the practice field: wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell, cornerback Logan Ryan, running back LeGarrette Blount, defensive back Duron Harmon, running back Dion Lewis, running back Brandon Bolden, defensive back Nate Ebner, offensive lineman Tre’ Jackson, offensive lineman Josh Kline, offensive lineman Shaq Mason, offensive lineman Nate Solder, offensive lineman Sebastian Vollmer, wide receiver Danny Amendola and tight end Clay Harbor.

The reps at quarterback were again pretty much split along the usual lines for the second straight day, as Tom Brady appeared to get the bulk of the work, while Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett picking up the rest of the snaps.

Martellus Bennett went down roughly halfway through 7-on-7 work, and stayed down for a bit as staff members appeared to work on his left knee. He was up and standing after a few moments. Following a special teams drill where he and a handful of other starters stood off to the side watching, he put his helmet back on and was back in action. On the next pass play in 7-on-7s, he caught a pass from Brady in full stride. Later on, tight end Michael Williams was spotted off to the side talking with the medical staff, and took his helmet and jersey off before being carted off with abut 20 left in the session.

At the end of practice in 11-on-11s, Bryan Stork appeared to be in the middle of some sort of dustup that included linebacker Dont’a Hightower and defensive lineman Woodrow Hamilton. Devin McCourty could be seen shepherding Hamilton away from the pile, while Matthew Slater was doing the same thing with Hightower. It looked like Hamilton and Stork were sent off to run.

Aaron Dobson had a nice catch from Brady in an early passing drill, and had another good day. The fact that several of the primary options in the passing game weren’t present gave Dobson a good opportunity to distinguish himself from the rest of the pack with a few very nice catches, including two in traffic in 11-on-11 work — one from Brady and one from Garoppolo. Keshawn Martin showed up with an excellent catch in 11-on-11s as well on a ball from Brissett, while Chris Hogan and Chris Harper added nice one-handed grabs in 11-on-11s near the end of practice.

And with so many running backs not on the field, backups like Joey Iosefa and Donald Brown also had a chance to get some hands on, individual attention from coaches. (Brown had a nice catch along the sidelines in 11-on-11 work.)

Without Gronkowski and Edelman on the field, Brady’s side session on Wednesday (during punt return work) consisted of Bennett, Dobson and Nate Washington. Keshawn Martin, Cyrus Jones, D.J. Foster and V’Angelo Bentley got reps as a punt returner. (Bentley muffed two of the returns.)

For the second straight day, Rob Ninkovich was shuffled around from position to position, another potential indication that the Patriots are testing the waters on utilizing some of the more versatile aspects of their front seven.

It’s insanely early, but Jones looks really comfortable running alongside veteran defensive backs like McCourty, Patrick Chung and Malcolm Butler.

Rookie Kamu Grugier-Hill was again pulled out of regular drills to work on special teams drills — specifically, punting and punt coverage — with the likes of other core special teamers like Brandon King. It’s a good sign for the Eastern Illinois product, as that sort of attention is a good sign for his development.

In a passing drill roughly halfway through the session, linebacker Ramon Humber broke up a Garoppolo pass for Bryce Williams. Garoppolo and Harper had nice connection later in the same drill, but a Garoppolo throw for Dobson later in the same drill was short and off target.

In 7-on-7 work, some members of the back end of the depth chart stood out. Cre’Veon LeBlanc had an impressive pass breakup on a deep ball from Brissett to rookie Devin Lucien. Arguably the defensive play of the day. Tight end Steven Scheu had a nice catch from Brissett later in the same drill.

Linebacker Kevin Snyder took a lap roughly halfway through practice for some sort of infraction.

Living Colour (“Cult of Personality”), Metallica (“Enter Sandman’) and Bruce Springsteen (“Murder Incorporated”) were among the artists on the playlist.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

After he was cut loose by the Patriots earlier this spring, some anonymous teammates ripped defensive lineman Dominique Easl

Dominique Easley

Dominique Easley

After he was cut loose by the Patriots earlier this spring, some anonymous teammates ripped defensive lineman Dominique Easley on his way out the door, with one telling the Boston Globe that Easley was a “locker room cancer.”

Easley, who was signed by the Rams after he was dumped by New England, answered some of his critics Tuesday, telling the Los Angeles Daily News that those ex-teammates “don’t know who I am.”

He said: “People are people. I can’t be mad at who they are. If they feel like that, they feel like that. They don’t know who I am. They didn’t grow up with me. They didn’t live with me. They didn’t live through things that I’ve been through. So how are you going to tell me who I am?”

Easley was reportedly not surprised he was released by the Patriots after two years, but said it was more about his medical history than anything else, including two torn ACLs while in college and an inability to stay on the field for extended stretches in his two seasons with New England.

He does seem to be aware of how he’s perceived, and understands that Los Angeles represents a fresh start for him.

“That’s what life is now,” he said. “Media, social media. What the fans read, they kind of believe until you show them otherwise. That’s the only thing I can do, is just show them otherwise.”

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

There should be some concern with Rob Gronkowski missing practice Tuesday. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)FOXBORO -- Tom Brady? Check. No. 21, Malcolm Butler? Check.



James Develin speaks Tuesday at Patriots mini-camp. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

James Develin speaks Tuesday at Patriots mini-camp. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

FOXBORO — When James Develin went down with a broken right leg in the penultimate preseason game last August in Charlotte, he really had no idea was the future held.

He was in the last year of his contract but as a show of loyalty, the Patriots held onto the valuable fullback/H-back while he went through a grueling rehab process inside the confines of Gillette Stadium.

While Develin, the Brown University product, watched from the sidelines, the Patriots went with a faster game in the backfield, opting to run with names like Dion Lewis, James White and LeGarrette Blount. The closest thing the Patriots came to Develin last year was Joey Iosefa, who joined the active roster in Decemb

All the while, coach Bill Belichick and Tom Brady were there to offer their support to the veteran who turns 28 on July 23.

“It’s a huge thing. It’s nice to hear that from guys but any kind of wisdom a guy like Tom or even Coach Belichick can pass along my way, that’s a great piece, and I’ll treasure it,” Develin said.

When January rolled around and the Patriots lost to the Broncos in the AFC championship, it was time to part ways. That separation lasted just under two months, until the Patriots signed him to a one-year, $750,000 contract on March 7. But it was a long six weeks for Develin.

“I’m very, very happy to be a Patriot,” Develin said after mini-camp Tuesday. “It was a process that I didn’t enjoy, the whole free agency process. I’m glad to be back out here and glad to be out here with my team.”

Now, Develin is ready to assume the handyman role he had before the injury last Aug. 28.

“It’s kind of whatever they need me to do, I’m going to go out there and do it to the best of my ability. Really anything. If they call on me whatever it might be to do that week or throughout the year, I’m just going to go out there and do it to the best of my ability.”

Develin said he didn’t spend time thinking about what a difference he might have made blocking for Brady (who has called him the best fullback in football) or the running game.

“Nah. I kind of tried to stay at my own pace,” Develin said. “I had one thing to focus on, and that was rehabbing and getting better.

“I’m try to look at myself as a team guy. So, it was hard not being out there with my brothers and my teammates. But I knew that I had a job to do, and that was rehabbing and getting better. I set my focus on that and I helped with the team as much as I could from an outsider’s perspective. It was a learning experience, being on the outside looking in but it was a good year, and a good year to grow from.

“It was whenever I was ready. It was a long process. The training staff kept a close eye on me and they let me go [practice] when I was fully ready to go. I’m ready now.”

And now Develin is in the position of returning the favor that Brady and Belichick showed last fall.

“We’re all out here trying to learn from each other,” Develin said. “I have seven years in the league now, so I guess I’ve got a little bit of wisdom to pass to guys. But then there’s guys in the locker room with 10-plus, 15 [years], it’s a wealth of knowledge in there and we all kind of vibe off each other and give each other little pieces of wisdom here and there.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

FOXBORO — This June has a somewhat different feel for Jimmy Garoppolo.

The quarterback out of Eastern Illinois is entering his third season with the Patriots and may or may not be the Patriots starting quarterback on Sept. 11 in Arizona.

Jimmy Garoppolo speaks Tuesday after mini-camp practice at Gillette. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

Jimmy Garoppolo speaks Tuesday after mini-camp practice at Gillette. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

FOXBORO — This June has a somewhat different feel for Jimmy Garoppolo.

The quarterback out of Eastern Illinois is entering his third season with the Patriots and may or may not be the Patriots starting quarterback on Sept. 11 in Arizona.

Like last year, he is preparing for the season with a huge legal cloud of uncertainty hanging over Tom Brady and his playing eligibility.

Unlike last year, he has another quarterback behind him in mini-camp in rookie Jacoby Brissett. But as Garoppolo met with the media following Tuesday’s first mini-camp workout outside Gillette Stadium, the would-be Brady back-up said he’s trying to repeat the Spring and Summer of 2015 when he took everything in stride.

“Pretty much the same. Going about my business the same way. Just coming out here and trying to get better every day,” Garoppolo said. “We’ve been pretty fortunate so far. We’ve had good weather and everything. We’ve had good weather and everything. Practice has been going well. Just have to keep rolling the way we are. Obviously, experience always helps. But to be honest, it really doesn’t change much for me. Whether it happened last year or it didn’t happen, I’m pretty much going about it the same way. Just enjoying the process right now and trying to get through OTAs.

“I think [progress is] going the right way, going in the right direction. Obviously, there’s a long way to go. I’m only going into Year 3 now, there’s tons of things to improve on. If we just keep going the right way, we’ll be all right.”

Garoppolo made it clear that he feels much more comfortable running the offense.

“No question. I think it’s going really good, to be honest,” Garoppolo said. “I know all the guys. Guys know me. You learn defenses. It’s not like I’m picking up a playbook for the first time. I can remember back to rookie OTAs. It was night and day. It’s going well.”

Garoppolo felt good Tuesday and it showed, completing several deep sideline outs and deep passes, including a 50-yard TD strike to Aaron Dobson in the back of the end zone.

“Heck of a grab. I couldn’t really tell if he was getting held or not,” Garoppolo said. “Kind of looked like he one-handed it for a little bit. He’s one of our fast guys on the edge and he went up and made a play for me. You like seeing those things at quarterback.”

Garoppolo has been helping Brissett adjust to life in the NFL, giving him pointers whenever he can.

“It’s a tough offense to learn. I’ve never been with any other offense but just talking to guys from other teams,” Garoppolo said. “Any bit of knowledge that you can help give to those guys and help them out, it’s just going to make the offense run that much smoother.”

Garoppolo did not sound like a quarterback who was insecure with his position Tuesday. He sounded like a quarterback with perspective, who knows his place and is just waiting for his chance.

“It’s different but we’re not even into the season yet,” Garoppolo said. “We’ve got a long way to go out here. There’s no starters, no back-ups out here. We’re all just competing, trying to win a job.”

Was he surprised drafted Brissett in the third round?

“Not really,” Garoppolo smiled and laughed briefly. “He’s a good kid. He really is. He’s slinging it around. He’s coming along. We’ve all been there, in that rookie situation so I know how he feels.”

As for Brady, who did not speak to the media, how is Garoppolo getting along with the regular starter?

“Yeah. We’re all good,” Garoppolo said. “All good.”

How’s No. 12 holding up?

“You should ask him that.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

Rob Gronkowski was one of 13 players not to participate in Tuesday’s minicamp practice and now it’s somewhat known why.

Rob Gronkowski wasn't on the field with the rest of his teammates Tuesday. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

Rob Gronkowski wasn’t on the field with the rest of his teammates Tuesday. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

Rob Gronkowski was one of 13 players not to participate in Tuesday’s minicamp practice and now it’s somewhat known why.

According to ESPN’s Mike Reiss, Gronkowski missed the practice because of a “cautious approach” being taken with an undisclosed physical ailment. It isn’t a long-term concern.

Prior to this report, WEEI.com’s Chris Price reported Gronkowski was at Gillette Stadium on Tuesday, just not on the field.

Bill Belichick didn’t have much to say when asked about Gronkowski not being on the field.

“There are a lot of players that were not on the field,” Belichick said. “They were doing other things.”

It’s unclear when a potential Gronkowski injury occurred as there were no reported offseason surgeries.

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable