QBs seek consistency in physical practice

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After taking off on Saturday, the Patriots returned to work Sunday afternoon under cloudy skies and wet conditions in Foxborough. The last time we saw the offense Friday night inside Gillette Stadium, the ball rarely touched the ground while Cam Newton and Mac Jones succeeded in relaxed conditions and at a very slow pace.

Things weren’t quite the same on Sunday, especially in a late 7v7 stretch when the two were pulled over. Newton started things off and after getting one stuck in Jakobi Meyers in a tight blanket he tries to do it again and Devin McCourty took the lead for the pick.

When it was Jones’ turn, he also made a short pass in tight cover before trying to punch Marvin Hall, only for Michael Jackson to step in for the interception.

Soon after, when the whole team gathered for an 11-on-11 job, both quarterbacks warmed up. Newton found Kristian Wilkerson at the back of the sideline behind Jalen Mills for a huge win, then came back to Kendrick Bourne for a nice connection on a slope in the next play. Jones also got hot, hooking up twice with Wilkerson and Bourne before working on screen with the back.

Continuing a trend that started late last week, Jones took on more reps than Newton as the segment progressed. He continued his hot and cold day by having back-to-back passes defended by Dee Virgin and Jackson. Jackson came on a deep ball to Wilkerson as the receiver appeared to have a pitch but was able to catch the field with the ball in the air.

Newton came back into the red zone and mixed up a few runs and throws in some situation work. After calling for a time out, Newton executed a nice playing action and hit Matt LaCosse for a wide open touchdown in the flat. JC Jackson did a good job preventing a touchdown on Jones’s fade to Wilkerson in the end zone after Newton left.

On the third and the goal of 3 to close things, Sony Michel was stopped near the goal line.

With the pads handed in, there was a lot of contact during the two-plus hours of training with a heavy emphasis on the running game. Lots of shots up front and even full tackles on the ground at times in what was the most physical practice so far.

Beyond the quarters, here are one man’s impressions of the Patriots’ Day 10 training camp.

* There has been substantial movement on the Patriots roster over the weekend, starting with some unfortunate news. Raekwon McMillan and Dalton Keene have been placed on the injured list and are out for the season. McMillan reportedly tore his ACL on Tuesday and had not been in training since. It’s an unfortunate turn for the veteran linebacker who was making headway in his efforts to earn a berth on the roster this summer. Keene has been on PUP since camp started, but now a return is expected unless an injury settlement with the team appears unlikely given the timing of the move. In a matching move, the Patriots signed linebacker Cassh Maluia, who was with the team in 2020 for most of his rookie season, seeing most of his special teams action.

* On the bright side, Devin Asiasi has been removed from the COVID reserve list and allowed to return. He was in uniform and participated in Sunday training. That leaves five players in PUP (Jarrett Stidham, Stephon Gilmore, Chase Winovich, Terez Hall, Byron Cowart) and two on NFI (Cameron McGrone, Joshuah Bledsoe) who have yet to practice. Reports indicated that Winovich had resumed his race and was set to return. Stidham was on the pitch for the first time this summer. He dated Steve Belichick before practice and spent time with his fellow quarterbacks. Stidham also celebrated his 25th birthday on Sunday.

* The Patriots recovered staff from the field on Sunday. In addition to Asiasi, Ted Karras, Christian Barmore and Devin Ross all returned after running out of time last week. Unfortunately, the team was also without a half-dozen players, including Nick Folk, Nelson Agholor, Brandon Bolden, Adrian Colbert, D’Angelo Ross and Akeem Spence. * Agholor did not participate in a two-minute end-of-training exercise Friday night inside Gillette Stadium and missed his first practice of the summer. Spence missed his fourth straight training session, but was on the pitch in his helmet long before one of his teammates, working on exercises against mannequins with Director of Skills Development Joe Kim. Folk and Ross missed practice for the third time in a row while Bolden and Colbert missed their second in a row. Additionally, Kyle Van Noy wore his normal No.53 blue jersey after wearing red for the first few days of camp.

* As has been the case in recent days, Dee Virgin and Kristian Wilkerson spent time with Matthew Slater and Justin Bethel during positioning exercises. The two appear to be preparing for the work of the special teams on the road.

* An array of gospel music permeated the opening portion of the practice. It was a radical departure from the normal hip hop / rap selections that are normally played.


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