By Dan Roche

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, WV (CBS) – Day One is in the books here at The Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia as the Patriots and Texans held their first of two joint practices. The weather was warm, humid with showers throughout the two hour session. Here are a few thoughts and observations:

–It’s hard not to see the Bill Belichick influence everywhere you look on the field. From his coaching staff to his players to the Texans staff…..amazing. Watching the coaching staff with Patriot connections is impressive: Head Coach Bill O’Brien, Romeo Crennel, Mike Vrabel, Larry Izzo, and Wes Walker all were with, or played for Belichick in New England. Meanwhile, another connection to all those men is Tom Brady, who exchanged pleasantries with Izzo and Crennel among others on Monday….

brady bill obrien Roche: Texans Defense A Good Challenge For Brady, Patriots

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady chats with Houston Texans head coach Bill O’Brien ahead of Tuesday’s joint practice session at The Greenbrier in West Virginia. (WBZ-TV)

–A good day as the Texans defense was a real good challenge for Brady and the offense. Brady threw some “only Tom Brady can complete those” passes. He hit Chris Hogan(twice…one deep ball), Rob Gronkowski, and Julian Edelman(three times) with some real nice passes. Gronk also was left wide open a few times as he found a hole in the Houston D…..

–Brady also seemed real angry with his offense at times…perhaps for lateness in getting the proper personnel on the field, not running the right route or right play……those types of things…..He came off the field after one of the series and was screaming. He kept yelling while watching the next offensive group on the field. A teammate came over and Brady shooed him away…..

–After that episode….Brady hooked up with Edelman on a nice TD pass in the back of the end zone…..

–Brady then followed with a play where he got tripped up and he yelled at a another player for what looked to be not running the right route…….

–Brady then finished with that beautiful deep throw to Chris Hogan who made a nice catch for the TD…..

–Jimmy Garoppolo had a nice completion on a long ball with Malcolm Mitchell. Mitchell is a really unique player to this offense. He has length, speed, and good hands. When he and all the receivers, plus Gronk and the backs are healthy….watch out…as the Pats offense will present all kinds of problems for opposing defenses…….

–The special teams units did an interesting 1 on 1 drill where the defender had to block and hold off his man for as a long as possible as that player was trying to get 20 yards down to touch a blocking dummy. The Texans, for the most part, got the best if the Patriots on this one. Houston Rookie Avery Williams had some big reps that had his teammates cheering wildly…..

bill Roche: Texans Defense A Good Challenge For Brady, Patriots

Patriots coach Bill Belichick at The Greenbrier (WBZ-TV)

–Tough day for RB LeShun Daniels as he got beat pretty good on the punt drill……and then appeared to suffer a right leg in 11 vs 11 competition……

–The Patriots defense was solid as they limited what QBs Tom Savage and Deshaun Watson were trying to do. I thought they did an especially good job on making the athletic Watson scramble……..Undrafted rookie free agent DL Adam Butler(Vanderbilt) put some good pressure on the QB several times as he got a nice push……while DB Kenny Moore had a nice pass break up(intended for Riley McCarron)…DJ Killing also had a notable pass break up….

–Was fun to watch Rob Gronkowski line up on a few plays against JJ Watt. Gronk said of Watt after practice, “He’s a good player. He’s a big dude!”. Meanwhile, Watt was asked about having to face Tom Brady and said, “Well, you know how the old saying goes, iron sharpens iron.”……….

–As for the Pats trip to The Greenbrier Resort…Julian Edelman had this to say after practice:

“That’s the great thing about these practices, is that you have an opportunity to get out of training camp. It’s almost like when you’re in school and you go on a field trip. You may be learning things but it’s like ten times better than being in class. It’s like the same thing with joint practices.”

–After practice….was fun to watch all the conversations between the two teams. Bill Belichick and Romeo Crennel, Brady and Crennel, our own Matt Chatham and Mike Vrabel……

–The teams will have another joint practice Wednesday here at the Greenbrier and then they’ll meet Saturday night in Houston in preseason game number two. You can see that game on WBZ Ch 4 beginning at 8pm………


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