Following an off-day on Saturday, the New England Patriots returned to the field on Sunday morning (August 15) for a training camp practice tune-up. The team is scheduled to travel to Philadelphia in the afternoon, for two days of joint practices with the Eagles. With Preseason Game Two set for Thursday, August 19 at Lincoln Financial Fields, the Pats practiced wearing shells, amidst mostly sunny skies.
While there was notable action during team drills, an injury concern to a key addition on offense might tell the tale of the day.
Here are some of the morning's highlights from the practice fields adjacent to Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts:
LB/EDGE Chase Winovich made his training camp debut on Sunday. His participation in practice indicated that Winovich has been activated from his place on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list, on which he had been since July 27th
TE Hunter Henry was present during the morning’s walkthrough, but did not participate in team drills.
C David Andrews, and WR Nelson Agholor were present, and active participants, after having missed some practice time last week, as well as Thursday’s preseason gave vs. Washington.
Those absent from Sunday’s practice included DL Lawrence Guy, LB Anfernee Jennings, CB Myles Bryant, K Nick Folk, WR Tre Nixon, LB/TE Rashod Berry, WR Marvin Hall, TE David Wells
QB Jarrett Stidham, CB Stephon Gilmore, DT Byron Cowart and LB Terez Hall remain ineligible to practice, as they continue to be on PUP.
Rookies Joshuah Bledsoe (S) and Cameron McGrone (LB) remain on the non-football-injury (NFI) list.
With two days of joint practices on tap for the Pats this week, the quarterbacks got in some light work on Sunday. The primary focus was on 11-on-11 drills, with Cam Newton, Mac Jones and Brian Hoyer all getting some snaps.
Newton primarily worked with the first team offense. The 32-year-old had a couple of precise downfield throws, including an impressive strike to Nelson Agholor for approximately 35 yards for the touchdown. The Newton-Agholor connection continues to impress. It should be interesting to see if Newton continues to target Agholor this week, including during Thursday night’s preseason matchup with the Eagles.
Mac Jones worked mostly against the second unit on Sunday. Jones had some nice throws, highlighted by his 2-minute drill toss from the red zone to receiver N'Keal Harry for the touchdown.
Sunday ‘Bests’ for the Defense
The Patriots defense has been the subject of much discussion, and optimism amongst Patriots fans, and media alike. The Pats preventive units have been impressive thus far, and the trend continued on Sunday.
Linebacker Kyle Van Noy utilized great field positioning and quick reaction to intercept a short cross by quarterback Brian Hoyer.
Cornerback Jonathan Jones continues to be a force in the slot, contributing some impressive pass break-ups against the Pats offense.
Chase Winovich wasted little time in making his presence felt on the field. Making his training camp debut, Winovich contributed a ‘would-be’ sack, as did defensive end Deatrich Wise, rookie linebacker Ronnie Perkins, and defensive lineman Nick Thurman.
Injury Watch: Jonnu Smith
About a third of the way through Sunday’s practice session, tight end Jonnu Smith appeared to suffer an injury to his lower left leg, during a 1-on-1 drill. After a bit of an awkward landing, Smith limped off the field to seek attention from the Pats’ athletic training and medical staff. They examined his left ankle/foot, before the prolific tight end left the field barefoot. He did not return to action.
The Patriots travel to Philadelphia for a pair of joint practices with the Eagles. The first of which is set to begin on Monday morning at 10:00 am ET.