The New England Patriots provided a lighter day of action on day seven of training camp practices, As head coach Bill Belichick advised earlier in the day, the team took a break from the pads, opting to practice in shells on Wednesday. Still, there was plenty to digest.
Here are some of Wednesday morning's highlights under mostly cloudy skies in New England:
DL Henry Anderson returned to practice, after having been absent on Tuesday. Anderson exited the fields during Monday’s session with an apparent shoulder injury.
Rookie DL Christian Barmore was present on the field, as well. Barmore had left Tuesday’s practice with what looked to be a foot/ankle ailment.
Those veterans absent from Wednesday’s on-field action once again included QB Jarrett Stidham, CB Stephon Gilmore, TE Dalton Keene, LB Chase Winovich, DT Byron Cowart and LB Terez Hall. Each of these players is currently ineligible to practice, as they have been placed on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list.
Rookies Joshuah Bledsoe (S) and Cameron McGrone (LB) remain on the non-football-injury (NFI) list.
As has been the case since the start of training camp, LB Kyle Van Noy was present and participated wearing a red, no-contact jersey
C Ted Karras was again absent, after having left Friday’s practice with a knee injury, as was LB Raekwon McMillan, who exited Tuesday’s practice, reportedly due to a leg injury.
DT Akeem Spence was also absent from practice on Wednesday.
Mac Bounces Back
One day removed from a practice littered with struggles, rookie Mac Jones looked much more comfortable on Wednesday. With both the pads and contact taking a brief respite, Jones once again showed that his accuracy and rapid release will serve him well towards success in the NFL. He completed the best throw of the day: a half-field strike to Gunner Olszewski, which he put between corner Myles Bryant and safety Cody Davis. Jones finished the day completing 4-of-5 passes during 7-on-7 drills, and 13-of-18 with an interception in 11-on-11s.
On the other hand, Cam Newton had his difficulties with both accuracy and decision-making. The Pats expected-starter had a few overthrows, while being intercepted twice (once by cornerback J.C. Jackson and the other by safety Adrian Colbert) in competitive drills. On the plus side, Newton continues to develop a solid chemistry with veteran wideouts Jakobi Meyers and Nelson Agholor, finding the pair for gainful receptions. He would wrap-up his Wednesday completing 2-of-6 passes in 7-on-7s, and 5-of-7 during 11-on-11 drills.
Defense Showing Strength
The Patriots defense continues to be in the right place at the right time. While it seems more by design, than happenstance, the Pats defenders are clearly showing a sixth sense for finding the football. During Wednesday's practice sessions, Devin McCourty, J.C. Jackson and Adrian Colbert, each had interceptions. While McCourty’s pick of Mac Jones was largely in part to some bad handling of the pass by tight end Jonnu Smith, the long-time defensive captain was in perfect position to make the grab.
In addition to his INT, Jackson continued a strong showing in camp, breaking up several passes and continuing to provide tight coverage. He has been solid as the number one option at the position, in the absence of Stephon Gilmore
Cornerbacks Jonathan Jones and Myles Bryant also provided sound coverage, breaking up a few passes in the process.
Despite the absence of pads, the pass rush was not to be denied their share of the spotlight. Linebacker Matt Judon contributed two ‘sacks,’ while defensive end Deatrich Wise, Jr.notched one.
Meyers, Harry are Wednesday's Wideouts
Wide receiver N’Keal Harry continues to have a solid camp. For the second straight day, the 23-year-old hauled in the catch of the. Harry made an athletic grab on a slant, sharply thrown by Cam Newton. Though the pass was a bit ahead of him, the former first-rounder fully extended his arms to make the catch. Overall, Harry caught all six targets in team drills.
What receivers like Harry and Nelson Agholor bring to the table in terms of flash, Jakobi Meyers consistently brings reliability. On Wednesday, Meyers was sure and steady on a 15-yard catch of a pinpoint pass over the middle from Cam Newton. The 24-year-old then caught another precision pass, this time via Mac Jones for about 30-yards.
Injury Watch: WR Devin Ross
Reserve wide receiver Devin Ross left Wednesday's practice, approximately two hours into the session, after pulling up with an apparent hamstring injury.
The Patriots will return to the practice fields adjacent to Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts on Thursday, August 5 at 9:30am. The session will be open to the public, and gates open at 8:30am.