FOXBORO (CBS) — Tuesday’s joint practice with the Jacksonville Jaguars on the Gillette Stadium fields was the best day of the Patriots training camp so far.
Perhaps the highlight came when it was over as we got to see Tom Brady chatting it up with his family, including his mother Galynn, who was battling breast cancer the last time we saw her at Super Bowl 51 in Houston. She looks great.
Here are some other thoughts and observations from New England’s 11th practice of training camp:
– Tom Brady was sharp from the get-go in all drills. He threw numerous TD passes, many of them to Rob Gronkowski. Brady also hit Julian Edelman, Brandin Cooks, Malcolm Mitchell and Dwayne Allen for scores.
– The aforementioned Mitchell was back working with the receiving corps in 7 vs 7 and 11 vs 11 drills. He had been on the conditioning field and hadn’t done much at practice since the first day.
– Brady threw a bullet pass to the back if the end zone for a touchdown to Gronk in 7 vs 7 drills. This was Gronk’s best day of practice so far.
– I was just observing so I don’t know the whole story, but Brady didn’t appear to be on the same page with new tight end Dwayne Allen a couple of times on Tuesday and it looked like Allen was a bit frustrated too. Brady didn’t throw a pass on a play that he looked Allen’s way and then he just missed him on another bid.
Later on, after finally hitting Allen, Brady was seen encouraging No. 83. Late in the practice and down near the goal line, Brady then hit Allen for a TD. He ran quickly to Allen for a celebration and Chris Hogan came over and high-fived Allen as well. You could see it was a nice moment for Brady and Allen as they try to get on the same page.
– Speaking of getting on the same page, Brandin Cooks is working on building a good rapport with Brady. I asked the speedy wide receiver, who continues to dazzle in camp, what it’s like to work with a cerebral QB like Tom, who demands a lot from his targets:
“I think that’s a great thing. When you got a guy like that that knows what he wants, there’s not a lot of gray area for a receiver. He knows what he wants. So it’s just my job to figure it out, get there, and not take forever to get there,” said Cooks.
– In the nickname department, Julian Edelman referred to Cooks as “B-Cooks” and “Cookie,” for those of you keeping score at home.
– Dion Lewis has been running well early in camp while getting reps on offense, as well as the kick and punt return units. There’s zero chance he’s getting cut.
– I thought Jimmy Garoppolo had a solid day in limited reps — because Brady took most of them. Jimmy G. connected with Devin Lucien for a pair of touchdowns and, overall, threw the ball well.
– The Patriots defense had a good day with Malcolm Butler and Stephon Gilmore leading the way. Butler had an interception while Gilmore had a couple of nice break-ups. After one play when Gilmore and Duron Harmon defended a deep throw intended for Jags receiver Allen Robinson, Bill Belichick gave a congratulatory hand-slap to Harmon.
– The Pats D did have a few hiccups as well, as the first unit allowed two goal line rushing TD to TJ Yeldon and Leonard Fournette, and a TD pass from Blake Bortles to Marqise Lee. Meanwhile, the second unit had to run a lap after a false start penalty.
– Belichick seemed to really enjoy practice Tuesday. Near the end of the session, he spent time watching the scout teams battle. Stanley Jean-Baptiste picked off a Jacoby Brissett pass and the Jags sideline went crazy in celebration.
On the first play of the ensuing goal line sequence, Charles Gaines was called for a penalty for interfering with Pats WR K.J. Maye. However, Belichick thought Brissett was sacked before the penalty, so he called for one more play and running back D.J. Foster came up short. That led to the entire Pats offense having to do push-ups, and Belichick hitting the ground with them. When he got up, he shouted playfully towards the Jacksonville sideline and ran down the field to join his team.
– Kelly Moore II has been getting reps with the No. 1 kick and punt units.
– Practice ended with hill conditioning. Former Patriots linebacker Willie McGinest was on hand and broke the team huddle.
– The Pats open up their preseason Thursday night at 7:30pm against the Jaguars, a game you can see on WBZ-TV and the Patriots Preseason network!