Tom Brady, Jimmy Garoppolo continued to share reps on Saturday. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)
FOXBORO — The Patriots held their first full padded practice of the summer Saturday morning on the backfields of Gillette Stadium in front of an overflow crowd which extended up-and-down the stadium ramps on a beautiful, sunny morning.
It was similar attendance to the past few days with a few new additions. Dion Lewis and Nate Ebner were both not spotted on the field at all along with Malcolm Mitchell, Brandon Bolden, Vincent Valentine and Alan Branch. Valentine tweeted he is at a funeral, Ebner is training for the Olympics, Lewis is recovering from ACL surgery, but Mitchell and Bolden’s absences are unknown.
Logan Ryan and Duron Harmon remain in red, non-contact jerseys, while Danny Amendola, Julian Edelman, Nate Washington, Sebastian Vollmer, Clay Harbor, and Tre’ Jackson were on the field, but not in pads, thus not participating.
The biggest takeaway was guard Jonathan Cooper being carted off with an apparent right ankle injury. It was a non-contact injury occurring during what looked like an offensive walkthrough drill. He was acquired from the Cardinals in the Chandler Jones trade. He had seen reps with the top unit. NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport reported he is battling a plantar fascia issue.
Here are some observations from the nearly two-hour session:
— Relating the the quarterbacks, Tom Brady led the 7-on-7 drills. He was much more crisp than on Friday, while Jimmy Garoppolo wasn’t nearly as good. At one point Brady had a pass knocked down by Patrick Chung and Brady yelled back at him (not in a positive manner). Jacoby Brissett was picked off by Vinnie Sunseri and had a few dropped passes not go his way.
Garoppolo got the first 11-on-11 reps, with Brady following. Overall, Brady had a much better day than he did on Friday. He had a nice connection with Rob Gronkowski in the corner of the end zone, but overall the majority of the plays were running plays.
As has been the case over the first two days, both Brady and Garoppolo have seen equal reps working with the top receivers, but just in different fashions each day.
— Brady was very vocal over the course of the practice, encouraging teammates after nice catches, even when not directly involved in plays.
— Edelman and Amendola participated in stretching drills with the team, which is again a sign they are getting closer to returning to practice. Jackson ran hills, which is a good sign for him returning to the field relatively soon. After practice Edelman caught passes from Brady and Garoppolo.
— Once again there were, “Brady-Brady-Brady” chants from the crowd. The quarterback acknowledged them at the beginning part of the session.
— The daily rotation continued at center as Saturday it was Bryan Stork getting the first reps with David Andrews later getting first reps as Strok was no longer spotted on the field. It is unclear where he went. This appears to be one of the biggest positional battles during training camp to watch as the starting spot appears wide open. Also getting some reps at center was Kyler Kerbyson.
— Another player leaving practice was defensive lineman Anthony Johnson. He was carted off at the end of practice.
— Rookie running back D.J. Foster left practice to go do some conditioning on the lower fields, but he didn’t come back. This meant LeGarrette Blount, James White, Donald Brown and Tyler Gaffney got all the reps at running back.
— At one point there was action on both fields. One field saw Brady and Brissett throwing passes to receivers and tight ends against the secondary, while on the other Garoppolo ran the offense as the linemen went against eachother in the running game. For the next set of drills, Brady ran the running game offense and Garoppolo and Brissett threw passes to receivers on the goal line against the secondary.
— During special teams drills, Brady and Garoppolo got some extra passes in with Gronkowski, Martellus Bennett and Aaron Dobson.
— Players running penalty laps included Jabaal Sheard and Andrews.
— Cyrus Jones was the primary kick returner with V’Angelo Bentley also getting time there as well.