(Photo Credit: BostonGlobe.com)
By: Jake Mackey
The grind of the National Football League regular season has officially begun with day one of Patriots training camp officially in the rear view mirror. Players were in shorts and helmets, therefore there was no contact. However, there was still much action to witness and Beantown Blitz was there for coverage.
The first hour or so of practice was filled with fundamental work with players in their individual positional groups. The real action started about an hour and a half in with seven on seven drills starting right in front of the roughly 12,000 fans in attendance on the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium. Tom Brady led off the session with the starters who were on the field. Amendola and Edelman were on the field but were not participating in drills due to the fact that they are still on the physically unable to perform list. Brady was five of eight including a few targets to new Patriot Martellus Bennett, who in person is a massive human being. He is about an inch taller than Rob Gronkowski, and looks like a dominating NBA power forward.
Jimmy Garoppolo was six of eight with a few nice throws into the end zone. The drill started from the 20, and the offense worked its way to the end zone. The first play of the session, Garoppolo fired a bullet of a pass down the seam and into the end zone to second-year tight end AJ Derby. In addition he found newcomer Chris Hogan wide open in the corner of the end zone, which drew applause from the crowd. One nitpick is that Hogan had to turn back for the ball and catch it on his hip, as opposed to getting it over the shoulder.
One player who I was quite excited to see today was Jacoby Brissett, and he was underwhelming to say the least. He received four reps and went one of three with one play that he dished off after waiting to long to throw. He had one throw deflected and another was an under throw to rookie Devin Lucien.
Shortly after seven on sevens, the practice went to full 11 on 11 drills with a faster pace. Jimmy Garoppolo went under center first with the starters. He went four of six with one check down to LeGarrette Blount. In addition, Aaron Dobson had a very impressive one handed catch in the back of the end zone with Logan Ryan draped all over him.
Tom Brady took over with a lot of second team players which was an odd site. His first pass was the highlight of the day. After many cheers for Jimmy Garoppolo, Brady came right in and fired a laser of a pass to Chris Harper in the back of the end zone past Cyrus Jones, and immediately looked back at Josh McDaniels and Jimmy Garoppolo who were standing about 20-yards behind the huddle. He was four of six in total.
Jacoby Brissett was better in 11 on 11s going three of six. He did have a botched snap at one point, but fired a few nice slant passes, and put one right in the hands of Malcolm Mitchell, which he dropped.
The practice drills came to an end after the Jimmy Garoppolo took 11 on 11 drills on one field closest to the spectators with the starters, and Tom Brady took reps on the far field with primarily back ups. Garoppolo took 15 reps and threw it to the flat or opted to check down 12 out of the 15 times. He was a little timid to say the least to push the ball down the field.
It is safe to say Rob Gronkowski is not going to say which quarterback he prefers working with
Training camp will continue throughout the weekend and the next couple of weeks, therefore stay tuned for more coverage.