The first weekend of 2015 New England Patriots training camp is now in the past, and on day four the thousands of fans in attendance witnessed plenty of contact. I was one of those fans in attendance, and I found it to be the best day of camp thus far, from an evaluation standpoint. There was a lot of one on one drills, along with live team drills between the first team offense and the first team defense. So without further a due, here are my three biggest takeaways and evaluations from day four of Patriots training camp.
Aaron Dobson Shines Again: One of the biggest bright spots of camp so far has been the resurgence of third-year wide receiver Aaron Dobson. The former second round has stood out on multiple occasions, and none more evident than on Sunday. During eleven on eleven drills, Tom Brady threw a beautiful pass to Dobson down the sideline even though he was blanketed by Malcolm Butler. Dobson stretched out and made a phenomenal catch, erupting the massive crowd.
Dobson was targeted often by both Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo during practice. In addition, during one on one drills against the cornerbacks, Dobson beat out Logan Ryan making another great grab. Also, he made one move on Bradley Fletcher and left him in the dust.
Darryl Roberts Continues To Struggle: As one Marshall Thundering Herd succeeds during training camp with Aaron Dobson, the other on the roster, seventh round rookie cornerback Darryl Roberts, continues to have a tough time acclimating himself to life in the National Football League. Going into training camp, I had Roberts listed as my rookie sleeper that would stand out, as did Malcolm Butler last year, and Zach Sudfeld the year before.
For the second straight day, Roberts was toasted by wide receivers on multiple occasions. On Sunday, Roberts was beaten by Josh Boyce three separate times. The first was during one on one drills, where Boyce ran a flag to the corner of the end zone and Roberts did not even turnaround to look for the ball. That has been a common occurrence throughout camp.
The other two times came during team drills where Boyce just ran right past Roberts, and his only choice was to maul Boyce before the ball could get to him. He is certainly living up to his pre-daft billing of being to aggressive down the field.
Miscellaneous Notes: Jerod Mayo for sure came out firing at practice on Sunday. Twice during four on four drills in which two linebackers and two defensive tackles, would go up against three lineman and a running back, Mayo blew past James White sacking the quarterback. He then seemed to take it easy for the rest of practice, riding the bike heavily.
Furthermore, there was a bit of a scare for Patriots fans during practice as Julian Edelman came up limping after he caught a low placed ball from Jimmy Garoppolo where he was then tackled by Patrick Chung. He eventually walked it off, but then sat out the rest of team organized drills.
Also there was some very spirited competition between Julian Edelman and Malcolm Butler during one on one sessions. Butler won three times, but Edelman got the last laugh spinning the ball in Butler’s face.
Stay tuned throughout the week for more training camp updates.