LeGarrette Blount was back on the field Saturday morning. (Darren McCollester/Getty Images)
FOXBORO — The Patriots just completed their first full padded training camp workout of the summer, a session that ran for just over two hours on the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium. Here are a few quick notes:
Running back LeGarrette Blount and defensive lineman Dominique Easley were back in the field. Blount hadn’t practiced the first two days of camp because he was placed on NFI (reportedly, he had failed the conditioning test), while Easley was on the physically unable to perform list.
Meanwhile, defensive lineman Xzavier Dickson and linebacker Dont’a Hightower were wearing red non-contact jerseys. For what it’s worth, Blount looked like he hadn’t missed a beat, making all the right cuts and running well. Jerod Mayo was in full uniform and not in a non-contact red jersey, a good sign that he has nearly fully recovered from his right knee patellar injury.
The following players were not in pads or not spotted on the field: quarterback Matt Flynn (NFI), special teamer Matthew Slater (PUP), wide receiver Brandon LaFell (PUP), cornerback Justin Green, defensive back Derek Cox, linebacker D.J. Lynch (who limped off the field midway through Friday’s practice), linebacker Dane Fletcher (PUP), linebacker Chris White (PUP), offensive lineman Ryan Wendell (PUP), defensive lineman Vince Taylor (PUP), offensive lineman Caylin Hauptmann (PUP), tight end A.J. Derby, defensive end Chris Jones (PUP) and defensive lineman Alan Branch (NFI).
In one-on-ones between the offensive linemen and defensive linemen, Jabaal Sheard provided a highlight with an impressive spin move on tackle Marcus Cannon. Sheard also tossed Cameron Fleming aside on another head-to-head drill. (Cannon later rebounded with a nice job on youngster Dekoda Watson.)
In addition, rookie guard Shaq Mason tossed defensive lineman Zach Moore to the ground (Mason was later beaten by fellow rookie Geneo Grissom), while tackle Nate Solder and defensive lineman Trey Flowers locked up in a great battle. Young defensive lineman Eric Martin also looked really impressive later in the same drill, sneaking past Solder and using his quickness to get into the backfield. (Defensive lineman Antonio Johnson jumped and had to run a lap.
Later, Mason had to run a lap as well.) Meanwhile, Bryan Stork handily beat all comers, including a sequence where he stoned Easley, who tried to come after him with a bull rush. If Stork stays healthy, he appears to be in line for a terrific season. In that same vein, if Sheard stays healthy and pointed in the right direction, he could also be posted for a good year.
Another highlight for the defense came in passing drills when rookie strong safety Jordan Richards broke up a pass intended for the much taller tight end Scott Chander in the red zone.
Quarterback Tom Brady completed a pass to Aaron Dobson in 11-on-11s, but the receiver fumbled the ball after Jamie Collins poked it away. Dobson made amends later with a leaping grab on a Brady pass near the sideline. He beat fellow Marshall product and rookie corner Darryl Roberts. Shortly after that, the whole offense was forced to run a lap. Dobson had a nice catch later in practice in 11-on-11s, and also had an impressive connection with Brady over Jimmy Jean in a passing drill.
Sealver Siliga put a real hurt on someone in the first series of running drills — from this viewpoint, it looked like it was running back Tyler Gaffney. In that sequence, it appeared the Patriots were utilizing a reasonable facsimile of the starting offensive line, one that included rookies Shaq Mason and Tre’ Jackson at the guard positions, and Marcus Cannon at a tackle spot.
In passing drills midway through practice, Jimmy Garoppolo and Julian Edelman connected on the nice through and catch of camp against Malcolm Butler, a play that caused Butler to clap his hands together in frustration. Butler rebounded shortly after that with an excellent pass breakup on a ball for Brandon Gibson. (Later in that same session, Brian Tyms came off a route limping, but didn’t leave the field.) From this viewpoint, Butler has been very chatty throughout camp, moreso than he was at this point last year. It’s unclear how much of that might be related to being adrenalized over being in pads or just the excitement of camp. But he’s been pretty talkative to this point on the calendar.
Defensive end Rob Ninkovich, Siliga and Blount all had to run laps early in practice for unknown infractions. And defensive tackle Malcom Brown was seen running on the back hill for a stretch early on in the practice session.
Converted defensive end Jake Bequette spent more time with the tight ends, getting some reps with what appeared to be the No. 2 offense. He later caught an impressive pass from Brady in 7-on-7 work.
Shoutout to young linebacker Dekoda Watson, who has been wearing a full sweatshirt under his gear for the first three days of training camp.
Defensive lineman Joe Vellano limped off late in the session with an unknown injury. He returned shortly afterward.
Josh Boyce and Dion Lewis got work as kick returners.
Robert Kraft appeared roughly midway through practice, and received a big cheer from fans. One fan yelled “Keep up the fight,” and the owner gave big thumbs up.