FOXBORO (CBS) — The big news down at Gillette Stadium was Tom Brady’s birthday, but the Patriots still had work to do on the field.
Here are some observations from Friday’s training camp session — the eighth day of practice:
– Tom Brady essentially received a day off for his 41st birthday. Brian Hoyer got the bulk of the run at quarterback with Danny Etling taking the rest of the snaps.
Hoyer had some good throws and connected with Cordarrelle Patterson for a touchdown — a nice one-handed grab in the back of the end zone by Patterson — to end the session.
Etling struggled again, as do a lot of rookies in their first training camp, and had to run a lap following another botched snap.
– It was a real tough day for the offensive line, who was without right tackle Marcus Cannon for the second straight day. There were several false starts and fumbled snaps which led to laps. It was one of those grind-em-out days. Bill Belichick and Dante Scarnecchia were not too pleased with their players.
The entire offense had to run a lap following a bad snap by David Andrews. The center and Hoyer were the first ones back. Scarnecchia had a calm — but strong — talk with Andrews and then Belichick addressed the entire offense.
– At one point, Belichick walked over to Brady and gestured toward the team on the field. At the end, Bill said something that had his quarterback smiling. Belichick laughed and walked away.
– Jason McCourty and Jordan Richards both picked off Hoyer during Friday’s practice. McCourty’s pick came when Julian Edelman slipped.
– Kenny Britt was on the field for his first practice of training camp after starting off on the PUP list. He did a few drills — I saw him trying to stretch his legs — before heading back inside. He returned to the field a little later without pads, and chatted briefly with Stephen Gostkowski and others before sharing a few hugs and making his way off the field.
– Trey Flowers left halfway through the session and did not return. We’ll be keeping a close eye on this one, because Flowers is a monster on the edge for the New England defensive line.
Offensive lineman Brian Schwenke also left the field on the medical cart. Running back Mike Gillislee was out of the red no-contact jersey he wore Thursday, back in the usual white practice jersey.
– Patriots owner Robert Kraft was on hand for today’s practice, as were former Pats Joe Andruzzi and Max Lane.
– The team finished the day by running the hills — including the birthday boy. Everyone then gathered around and sang “Happy Birthday” to Brady, who was later joined by his family as he did his post-practice stretch. No word whether or not Brady had some of that giant birthday cake the Patriots gave out to fans, but probably not.