RICHMOND, Va. (CBS) — It’s nice to be with the Patriots down here in Richmond, as we get ready to broadcast Thursday night’s preseason opener against the Washington Redskins. You can see the game on WBZ-TV beginning with Patriots Gameday at 7:30 p.m., with the game beginning at 8 p.m.

The two teams began a week of joint practices on Monday at the Redskins’ training facility here in Richmond.

Thousands of fans were able to see the practice courtesy of a lottery. They were loud at times and excited to see the Patriots, who were treated like rock stars.

As for a few observations:

–Rob Gronkowski was not with the team on the field. One has to look at this one of two ways: either this is a setback for No. 87, who was cleared for practice from day one of camp, or this is just part of the natural progression for Gronk. Why bring him out on the field for any drills because it’s all contact and it’s against another team? There’s not much individual work being done. And if Gronk isn’t ready for this type of practice, he can get the work in at home. You have to figure the Pats are bringing him along slowly as he returns from knee surgery. Why risk anything happening?

–The star of the show? Who else but Tom Brady. He was throwing and completing the ball all over the place. Early on, it was all Julian Edelman, but he mixed it up on 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills by hitting Kenbrell Thompkins, Brandon LaFell, Danny Amendola, etc. …

–It was interesting to watch Brady work with players. He did a drill throwing to D.J. Williams. The tight end obviously didn’t run the route correctly, so Brady began to tell him what he was looking for or what Williams was supposed to be doing. Then he simply decided to walk him through the route, showing him what to do. It seems like a huge priority after last year for Brady and all of his receivers to be on the same page.

–Kenbrell Thompkins continues to get a bunch of passes thrown his way from Brady. He still has some drops, but Brady seems to trust him. They made a nice connection on one long ball in particular.

–Rookie running back James White seems to stand out whenever he touches the ball. It’s early, but he’s been impressive.

–It’s a good test for the Pats defense in going against quarterback Robert Griffin III. RG3 is a different QB than the defense sees all camp, and they’ll be facing mobile QBs during the season(E.J. Manuel, Geno Smith/Michael Vick, etc.).

–I talked to Rob Ninkovich after practice. He was excited to take the next step as far as camp goes, as he’s grown sick of facing his own offense. It was good for him to see … and hit … other teams. He also said he likes to get a lot of reps in the preseason.

–The Darrelle Revis vs. DeSean Jackson matchup is a good one. Jackson can be that electric player to go along with RG3.

Looking forward to another practice on Tuesday.

Follow WBZ-TV’s Dan Roche on Twitter @RochieWBZ.


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