FOXBORO (CBS) – It was a cloudy, cool day in Foxboro Saturday as the Patriots put on full pads for the first time in Training Camp.
Here are some notes and observations from the day:
— Rob Ninkovich was absent for the third straight day. He’s been out due to “personal reasons.” Here’s hoping No. 50 doesn’t retire. (Tom E. Curran of CSNNE reports Ninkovich is “considering” retirement). He’s set the edge and made big play after big play his entire Patriots career. They need him.
— Wide receiver Cody Hollister, who was banged up Friday, was not present for practice.
— Long snapper Joe Cardona returned after missing the first two days due to “personal reasons.” My colleague Mike Reiss reported it was due to a Navy commitment.
— WR’s Danny Amendola and Malcolm Mitchell returned to practice after a Friday absence. Both worked out on a lower back field.
— Donta’ Hightower and Alan Branch remain on the PUP list.
— There was a scare midway through practice when safety Duran Harmon went down on a goal line drill. He got caught up with Chris Hogan and Malcolm Butler as they went up to battle for a Jimmy Garoppolo pass. Harmon was on the ground for a few minutes while the medical staff worked on his knee. He walked off on his own, and after getting checked by the staff again, walked around the rest of the day on the sidelines. He hung out with what appeared to be with family after and had a slight limp when he left for the day. However, it didn’t look too serious.
— Brandon Bolden left the field early in the day and never returned.
— The first day of full pads brought a lot of work on the offensive and defensive lines. Lots of running plays and one-one-one work too.
It was also quite noticeable the amount of “hands-on” coaching. Coaches working with players on fundamentals, technique, formations, etc. At one point Bill Belichick spent a few minutes talking with DBs David Jones and Damarius Travis.
— Always fun to watch defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, who gets quite vocal and animated at times. Easy to hear (and see) when he’s aggravated with his D.
— Discipline was also an issue Saturday. As numerous lineman were seen running a lap after jumping offsides or not performing a drill up to par.
— Jordan Richards stood out on defense Saturday. Seemed to be involved in several good break ups on passing plays. This is a pretty big camp for Richards and it had to feel good for him.
— Newly acquired WR Brandon Cooks had the big day in the passing game as he used his blazing speed on two deep balls to come up with big plays. Will be hard for Brady to overthrow him.
–RB Mike Gillislee had a pair of loud touchdowns on goal line situational runs. He could be the leading candidate to replace LeGarrette Blount on first down and goal line plays.
— A nice moment after practice when Bill Belichick gathered the team and introduced Patriots Hall of Famers Ray Clayborn, Steve Nelson, Stanley Morgan, Mike Haynes, John Hannah, Sam Bam Cunningham, and Kevin Faulk. Belichick introduced each player individually and Devin McCourty said afterwards that it was impressive how Bill gave a lengthy “off the top of his head” biography of each HOFer. Great to see the history of the team recognized by the Head Coach, Owner, and organization.
— Another padded practice Sunday for the Pats – and it is open to the public.
— Don’t forget all four preseason games will be on WBZ-TV Channel 4 with Christian Fauria, Matt Chatham, Paul Perillo, and Andy Hart. First game is Aug 10 at 7:30 p.m.