FOXBORO — The Patriots just wrapped up their second training camp session of the summer on the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium. The workout was held in shells and shorts, and ran for roughly two hours in beautiful summer conditions. Here are a few quick notes.
– Wide receiver Aaron Dobson, cornerback Alfonzo Dennard, special teamer Matthew Slater, defensive lineman Tommy Kelly, defensive lineman Dominique Easley, linebacker Deontae Skinner, offensive lineman Chris Martin and wide receiver Jeremy Gallon were among those standing off to the side and going through rehab work. The only player who was missing Friday who was on the field Thursday was defensive back Jemea Thomas.
– Before practice, the team engaged in a time-honored camp ritual, the “pig drill,” a workout held under the guise of ball security. Rookies were forced to slop around in the mud diving for the football. It was a far more muted version than they’ve had in the past — in previous years, quarterback Tom Brady took great delight at turning the hose on first-year players.
– It was another good day for Kenbrell Thompkins, who appeared to spend the bulk of his morning working with a reasonable facsimile of the No. 1 offense. He had some impressive connections with Brady, including a play where he had a sweet diving catch on 7-on-7s. As was the case on Thursday, it’s debatable how many opportunities he would have had it Dobson was on the field. But for the second straight day, he did a nice job making the most of his chances.
– Rob Gronkowski was working in team drills, and got some individual work with Brady, but didn’t appear to take part in any 7-on-7s or 11-on-11s. As was the case on Thursday, it didn’t look like there were any questions when it came to his running and cutting.
– Logan Mankins took a lap early in practice for what looked to be a false start. In addition, Jimmy Garoppolo and Brandon Bolden took a lap for botching a handoff. (On both occasions, the crowd cheered when the players passed by — likely, not the reaction the coaching staff was looking for.) Nate Solder took a lap late in practice.
– In one session on the close practice field — in what appeared to be a goal-line passing drill — Bill Belichick was leading a session where Brady was working with starting receivers Brandon LaFell, Julian Edelman and Thompkins, as well as Gronkowski. (Danny Amendola was on the far field returning punts.) Meanwhile, next to them, Darrelle Revis, Brandon Browner and Devin McCourty were working with cornerbacks coach Josh Boyer. (Later in the session, Duron Harmon was subbed in for McCourty in the drill involving Revis and Browner.) It was a next juxtaposition involving some of the most important players on the team, and reinforced the quotes from Belichick on Thursday when it comes to the best thing about being a head coach: “That’s the good thing about being the head coach. You can coach whoever you want; you’re not locked into one position,” he said. “If I feel like coaching somebody, I can go over there and coach them. That’s nice. I enjoy that, I really do.”
– Amendola and Roy Finch got work as punt returners.
– In 7-on-7s, one of the highlights came when Kyle Arrington and Pat Chung had a terrific pass breakup on a Brady pass for Amendola. Later, Brady found Thompkins with a great pass in the corner of the end zone. (On that play, Jamie Collins was split wide covering Stevan Ridley.) Wide receiver Greg Orton and cornerback Kyle Arrington collided going for a ball, while tight end Asa Watson was part of a scrum going for a loose ball. Later on, Brady found Michael Hoomanawnaui with a great pas sin the corner of the end zone, beating McCourty. Brady later hit Thompkins for a touchdown on a diving catch, and zipped one to LaFell on the next play.
– Orton, who was signed two days ago, was caught up in a collision late in practice, and had to be carted off. (It didn’t look like there was any contact involved on the play where he went down.) It’s unknown how severe the injury is, but for what it’s worth, he wasn’t lying down in the back of the cart on his way off the field.
– In 11-on-11s at the end of practice, Brady found Amendola with a sharp pass over the middle for a touchdown. Edelman and Arrington did a little pushing and shoving at the end of a play later in 11-on-11s, but nothing really happened. Shortly after that, Ryan Mallett hit Shane Vereen on a nice wheel route out of the backfield on back to back plays, with Vereen beating James Anderson to the back of the end zone for a neat catch on the second pass play.
– There was more bad than good Friday from Garoppolo. Near the end of the 11-on-11s, he threw a ball over the middle right to linebacker Chris White. He was picked off later by defensive back Daxton Swanson. Both picks were badly telegraphed. (He did bounce back with a nice pass to Ridley out of the backfield.)