FOXBORO (CBS) – Great to have the Patriots back on the field and looking toward the 2017 season. I don’t know about you, but it seems like a Super Bowl 51 was years – not months ago.
Here’s a few quick thoughts after watching Day One along with 15,000 other folks down in Foxboro:
–The easiest thing to notice is the continued top level play/precision/execution of a certain soon-to-be 40 year-old QB. Brady continues to perfectly place throws while making the right decisions. I think Jimmy G looks better, but again, it’s always tough when you’re going against the greatest to ever play the game!…….
–Brady’s favorite target also looked good – and ready to go. Rob Gronkowski, who missed the second half of the 2016 regular season and playoffs after having back surgery, was moving quite well. Made some nice catches and some even better “cellys” with body-bumping, spikes, and flips of the football to DB’s. The energy and fun that 87 brings to a football field should never be taken for granted. How can you not feed off of it as a teammate. Gronk should be good when hitting starts with no restrictions. Me? I’d like to put him away until Game One of the NFL playoffs. Just get him ready in December because he’s that much if a difference-maker……..
–Rookie WR Austin Carr from Northwestern was one of the Day One standouts. Had one drop, but also the play of the day on a catch in the corner of the end zone on a pass from Jimmy G….all while being defended nicely by DB Will Likely. Carr is a long shot to make the team, but should be fun to watch in the preseason…..
–Devin Lucien is another one who looks like he should have an NFL job somewhere as long as he stays healthy….
–Malcolm Butler shows no signs of letting up. If he’s on a mission to strike a big free agent deal, all he needs to do is sustain. No matter who he covers you notice it. Does not get beaten often. Cooks or Edelman doesn’t matter……
–Butler also believes he and Stephon Gilmore might be the best 1–2 corner duo in the NFL…….
–After one set of 11 v 11’s……Bill Belichick had a lengthy conversation with Devin McCourty. Always intrigued by this as you know they’re discussing coverages, etc. Also, Belichick is still a hands-on coach. His passion for teaching and the game itself, seems as strong as ever…..
–Brandin Cooks = speed, speed, speed…..Tom Brady chatted with him several times after plays and then off to the side as they begin to build a chemistry. In years past, we’ve seen Brady work with Gronk/Revis……Gronk/Chandler…..and Gronk/Bennett. Still amazed that Scott Chandler didn’t have more success here. Seemed like a perfect fit……..
–Cyrus Jones may not last long as a returner. Lewis, Amendola and others could wind up with job……
–The talent level on this team is the first thing that you notice when you watch a full practice. QB, RB, WR……so much depth. DB as well………
–Another practice Friday at 9:15 a.m. and then first padded practice on Saturday at 9:15 a.m. Gronk said he liked the two days of easing into it……..
–Don’t forget all four preseason games will be on WBZ Ch 4 with Christian Fauria, Matt Chatham, Paul Perillo, and Andy Hart….first game is Aug 10th 7:30 p.m………