After having the day off on Sunday, the Patriots were back on the practice field on Monday afternoon. It was an overall solid day for the defense, and yet another sloppy performance by the offensive units. Here are my breakdowns and evaluations from day number ten of Patriots training camp.
Key Players Return To Practice: A nice surprise for the Patriots fans in attendance on Monday was the return of multiple key players including Julian Edelman and Brian Tyms who were injured during camp last week. Also, Matthew Slater and Alan Branch made their way onto the practice field in pads for the first time this season. Slater and Tyms were wearing red non-contact jerseys.
Edelman was considered a full-participant at practice, but the team seemed to be taking it easy with him holding him out of most eleven on eleven drills. He did look like he was moving around and running routes smoothly without much trouble from his ankle.
Brian Tyms was wearing the red non-contact jersey, but he was receiving a lot of reps in live team drills working with all three quarterbacks on the roster. Tyms is now part of what is a developing multiple player battle for the fourth wide receiver spot on the roster. Furthermore, LeGarrette Blount was seen running hill sprints and it was reported by Pro Football Talk that there is no structural damage in his knee, after it was reported that he had suffered an MCL sprain.
Malcolm Butler Continues To Impress: Monday was yet another day of Patriots training camp where Malcolm Butler proved why he should be the team’s number one cornerback. He has been a nuisance for Tom Brady to deal with throughout the past couple of weeks, and that was no different on Monday.
Early in practice during seven on seven work, Brady targeted Jonathan Krause deep down the sideline. Krause was blanketed by Butler who went up and deflected the ball out of the air, and proceeded to bop his head up and down signaling the crowd. The so called, “swagger” that Butler possesses has been a big reason why he has stood out this summer.
Later on in practice Butler made a very nice pass breakup on a play action pass intended for Josh Boyce. As always, Butler let Brady know that he got the best of him on that play. It is safe to say that as of right now, Malcolm Butler has a strangle hold on the number one cornerback spot.
Miscellaneous Notes: Monday marked the first day for Ryan Lindley in a Patriots uniform. You can tell that the coaching staff is expecting to use Lindley for a substantial amount of time Thursday night against the Green Bay Packers, because he received a vast majority of the reps at the end of practice.
Overall he was not much different from the last time we saw him against the Carolina Panthers in the wild card round of last years playoffs where he threw two bad interceptions. He has a big arm, but he overthrows his targets much too often.
The Patriots offense continues to have slow starts to practice that set the tone for a stressful and lack luster practice for Tom Brady and the coaching staff. This was most apparent early on at practice Monday when Brady targeted Brian Tyms on a quick crossing pattern.
Tyms did not look for the ball fast enough, and by the time he did the ball had already ricocheted of his chest and into the waiting arms of Dont’a Hightower. Brady showed his frustration by shouting the four-lettered word that he commonly uses on game day.
Furthermore, Jerod Mayo took a nasty shot at Rob Gronkowski when he caught a pass over the middle of the field form Tom Brady. It is the kind of physicality you like seeing from your defensive leader, just don’t target it towards arguably your teams most valuable player. The hit caused for some boos from fans, and a sigh of relief when Gronkowski walked away okay.
Lastly, an interesting sight during eleven on eleven work with the second and third team groups towards the end of practice, was the installation of the wildcat offense with undrafted rookie Zach D’Orazio taking the snaps at quarterback.
The Patriots will be back at it on Tuesday, and I will be attending, therefore stay tuned for more training camp updates and analysis form Goal Line Gazette.