FOXBORO — The Patriots held their first official training camp practice of the summer Thursday on the lower grass fields behind Gillette Stadium. The players did not wear pads and it was held in mostly cloudy, humid conditions although there were some showers early in the just over two hour session.
There wasn't much action, as Bill Belichick noted beforehand the session would have the least amount of football of any session all summer and be focused on teaching and making sure everyone knows where to go.
Who didn’t practice: Malcolm Mitchell, Jonathan Jones (PUP), Cyrus Jones (PUP), Nate Ebner (PUP), Kenny Britt (PUP), Matthew Slater (PUP), Brandon Bolden (NFI), Darren Andrews (NFI)Who returned: None
Who was injured during session: None
Play of the day: Hard to pick one, especially considering there weren't many competitive periods, but Rob Gronkowski looked like the best player on the field.
Here are more observations from the session.
-- It was a glorified walkthrough as it wasn't an intense session by any means, but that is standard for the first day of training camp. A few things could be taken away when it comes to some of the internal competitions on the roster. One of the biggest questions going in was who would replace Nate Solder at left tackle, and it feels like Trent Brown will get the first crack at it. Brown, who was acquired via trade at the draft, lined up with Joe Thuney, David Andrews, Shaq Mason and Marcus Cannon along the offensive line.
-- On defense during the spring many of the young players saw extensive reps at cornerback opposite Stephon Gilmore, but on Thursday it was Eric Rowe. It's also worth noting Jason McCourty was on the field for team drills, which was not the case during the spring. He showed signs of missing a lot of the spring, but it's early.
-- The quarterback reps saw Tom Brady get the most work and then Brian Hoyer getting just a tad less. Rookie Danny Etling threw roughly 10 meaningful passes in the session. After being picked off in 4-on-4 drills early in the session, Brady looked like the normal Brady the remainder of the session. Etling will be interesting to watch over the next few weeks because he flashed, but also had his rookie moments.
-- Gronkowski made a number of catches, but it was worth noting there weren't any emphatic celebrations like last year on the first day of camp. Something to watch.
-- Wide out Phillip Dorsett saw significant reps on the inside after spending almost all of his time last season on the outside.
-- Hoyer and Luke Bowanko had a botched snap late in the session forcing the entire offense to take a lap.
-- Cordarrelle Patterson, Devin Lucien and Jeremy Hill all saw work as kick returners. It seems like Patterson will be the primary returner. The team worked a decent amount on the return game over the course of the session.
-- Robert Kraft made an appearance and mingled with a few people, including Tom Brady.