Wednesday, June 18, 2014
What stood out from Pats minicamp
By Mike Reiss
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The New England Patriots held their second practice of a three-day mandatory minicamp on Wednesday in hot, humid conditions.
Here were some of the big takeaways:
Patriots coach Bill Belichick did not reveal any details as to why Darrelle Revis was absent from minicamp on Wednesday.
No sign of Darrelle Revis. The veteran cornerback, who has been a regular throughout voluntary organized team activities and the first day of mandatory minicamp, didn't practice today. Kyle Arrington, who is at his best in the slot, moved to Revis' spot on the outside while Logan Ryan also took some reps there. Patriots coach Bill Belichick didn't elaborate on the reason for Revis' absence. Third-year cornerback Alfonzo Dennard would also normally be part of that mix, but he is recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, according to the Boston Globe. Dennard hasn't practiced this offseason.
Ryan Mallett and a knee brace. The No. 2 quarterback provided reporters a clue of what might be keeping him out of practice by wearing a brace over his knee (and under his workout pants) during warmup drills. With Mallett not participating in team drills, it gave more reps to rookie Jimmy Garoppolo. At one point, Garoppolo and first-year center Braxston Cave ran a lap after a fumbled exchange. On Tuesday, we pointed out one excellent long pass from Garoppolo, but there wasn't a standout play to point to today.
Josh Boyce nicked up early. The second-year receiver who has been building momentum this offseason, but after coming on to the field for early warmups, he appeared to tweak something (left leg) that drew the attention of the athletic training staff. Boyce stayed on the field but did not take part in any drills, his gloves tucked into his shorts. His status will be something to monitor in the days and weeks to come.
Plays of the day. Quarterback Tom Brady delivered two plays that stood out -- a beautiful fade pass to receiver Kenbrell Thompkins on the left side of the end zone (cornerback Brandon Browner in coverage) in red-zone drills, and a sweet throw to tight end Michael Hoomanawanui up the right seam (linebacker Jerod Mayo in coverage). Brady, who turns 37 in August, looks like he's on top of his game as those weren't the only plays that made us take note.
Punt block is special-teams focus. As is the case in every practice, the Patriots spend time working on one specific aspect of special teams and today it was punt block. Running back Brandon Bolden, who plays a key role in the kicking game, was one of the first players through the drill. Veteran linebacker James Anderson, formerly of the Panthers and Bears, was among a large group of players taking part.
Daxton Swanson catches the eye. While a longshot to make the roster, the first-year cornerback from Sam Houston State had two interceptions (one on a bobbled/tipped pass) and a few other breakups. Swanson, who signed with the Patriots on May 22 after spending the last half of 2013 on the 49ers' practice squad, seemed to be around the ball a lot.
Extra points. The Patriots had several sponsors on hand to watch the practice, as there was a catered lunch set up on the hillside above the practice fields. ... There was a heavy focus on receivers getting off the line of scrimmage and defensive backs with jam technique. ... The Patriots worked on their jumbo package with an offensive lineman as an eligible tight end, which included a few unique personnel wrinkles with players one wouldn't expect to be in the offensive huddle. ... Situational football was part of the practice, with the down marker utilized and players forced to react quickly to new situations. ... Two longshot players, receiver Reese Wiggins and cornerback Malcolm Butler, had to be separated at one point during a competitive drill. ... Bill Belichick, quarterback Tom Brady, defensive end Will Smith, receiver Kenbrell Thompkins and defensive tackle Joe Vellano were among those speaking with reporters after the practice.