As was the case during the three OTA workouts open to the media previously – and spelled out in offseason workout guidelines in the NFL CBA – the players were in shorts/sweats and helmets for the mini-camp practice, but still no jersey numbers. No pads. No contact.
Really the work, as Bill Belichick pointed out in his morning press conference, is a simple continuation of what was done during the 10 OTA sessions. The only difference is that the OTAs are technically voluntary while the mini-camp is technically mandatory.
Another more interesting similarity was the absence of backup quarterback
The fourth-year backup passer was seen on the field early before practice before leaving the field. That would tend to imply he might be dealing with some sort of heath issue or working with the rehab/medical staff.
Regardless, the missing Mallett once again afforded rookie second-round pick
Garoppolo did show a nice, sharp arm in drills working with
It’s too early to make any competitive assessments, something Belichick made clear earlier in the day, but it’s certainly not ideal to have Mallett missing multiple spring workouts. Unless of course you’re a rookie quarterback looking for extra reps as you fight to begin your pro career. And that’s the case Garoppolo has found himself in the last two weeks.
Beyond the status of the backup quarterbacks, here are one man’s mini-camp blogservations from a field away of players not wearing jersey numbers:
--The two practice fields were freshly painted for the mini-camp practice. That included numbers as well as some non-traditional markings. There were red lines painted between the sidelines and the numbers, which could be a 5-yard marker for special teams work and other landmarking. There was also a red line across the end zone that looked to be around 3 yards from the back line. There were yellow lines panted across both fields at each of the 32-yard lines.
--The team announced the signing of undrafted rookie free agent defensive lineman Seali’i Epenesa during the midst of the practice.
--Brady had to change his cleats early in practice, going from a black pair to white while sitting down in the middle of the field between drills.
--Speaking of cleats,
--Brian Daboll brought a new spin to his work with his tight ends during positional drills. The coach stood directly behind his players and gently tossed a ball over their heads, forcing them to locate it quickly for the catch. Didn’t look overly difficult, but hadn’t seen it before on the practice field.
--Patriots owner Robert Kraft walked onto the field and watched the second half of the practice session.
--As is the case in many training camp and in-season practices, loud music was played over the practice fields to disrupt the communication and make life more difficult on the players during team drills. Obviously Bon Jovi got things started but the playlist varied from there, including some Neil Young.
--Director of Player Personnel Nick Caserio was taking his usual practice reps serving as an extra quarterback in various drills. The more you can do…
--Stork once again had to run a penalty lap for some unseen offense early in practice. He’s run more than his share of laps this spring during the four sessions open to the media.
--During one special teams segment four defensive backs were grouped on the opposite field working by themselves. That consisted of cornerbacks
--Ebner generally works as Allen’s personal protector in team punting drills.
--There was a segment focused on down-and-distance work, including down markers and sticks.
--At one point during practice monster truck engines could be heard in the Gillette Stadium distance. Gillette is hosting a Monster Jam show this coming Saturday and the big trucks are already in town. Later this week dirt will be spread inside Gillette to create a monster truck course.
--Garoppolo’s reps with the second group on offense didn’t go as well as one might hope. He had to pull the ball down a few times and threw a few passes that landed with no clear target in the area. Not easy for a young quarterback working with a varied group of young targets at this point, so it’s understandable and part of the development process.
--Rookie running back
--Jimmy Garoppolo, Tommy Kelly and Duron Harmon were among the players meeting with the media after practice.
--The Patriots will return to the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium for another mini-camp practice Wednesday morning at 11:15. The session is closed to the public but open to the media.
- WATCH: Bill Belichick 6/17: It's a new season
- WATCH: Jimmy Garoppolo speaks after Mini-camp
- WATCH: Who's stood out at Patriots OTAs and Mini-camp?
- READ: Mini-camp signals the start of an attraction to injuries
Chandler Jones, Devin McCourty chat after practice
- PHOTOS: Patriots Mini-Camp - June 17, 2014