The New England Patriots were back on the training grounds behind Gillette Stadium on Thursday for their second practice at training camp. While they are still not allowed to train with full pads – head coach Bill Belichick said ahead of the session that next Tuesday was the first possible day for them to do so – the session was still hectic.
With that said, let’s take a look at those players who stood out for better or (slightly) for worse.
Winner: QB Cam Newton
The Patriots starting quarterback may not have started Thursday’s session particularly impressively, but he certainly finished strong.
After going 0-for-3 in his first three games in 11-on-11s, he finished practice by completing 5 in his last 6 passing attempts. Newton threw three late touchdowns – two to tight end Hunter Henry and an impressive pitch to Brandon Bolden – to end on a high note. He may not have put a noticeable distance between himself and Mac Jones in the race for the starting quarterback, but he still had a good day.
Perdant : QB Mac Jones
Leading up to Thursday’s practice, we mentioned Jones’ daily consistency as an area to watch after what was mostly a solid first day of camp for the rookie. However, the youngster seems to be running out of steam late in the day: after connecting on his three throws during a 7v7 job, he only went from 4v11 in the last streak of 11. against 11 of the session.
Jones had some impressive moments, arguably including the game of the day on a touchdown pass to Jakobi Meyers. He also consistently showed the traits that made him a first-round pick, but still struggled growing in rookies on Thursday.
Winners: LB Josh Uche and LB Harvey Langi
The Patriots are not yet allowed to work in full contact, but two linebackers have still managed to stand out. As Josh Uche flew around the field and made plays in both backfield and cover (even though he gave up the aforementioned touchdown to Brandon Bolden), Harvey Langi recorded a possible sack against Mac Jones and the next game broke. a pass for Jonnu Smith.
Winners: TE Hunter Henry
Jonnu Smith opened up about the return of the “Boston TE Party” to New England on Wednesday, and the team’s new tight ends continue to leave a positive impression. Smith was a bit calmer in the second camp training session, but Hunter Henry still impressed while appearing to build some chemistry first with Cam Newton in particular.
He ended the session with a pair of touchdowns, as seen above, including one where he made a tough reception on safety Kyle Dugger.
Loser: Concentration at mid-workout
Halfway through the session, several Patriots players were sent off on penalty laps. Gunner Olszewski must have executed one after missing a punt; Deatrich Wise Jr. and Davon Godchaux jumped offside to win a round trip ticket; goalkeeper Michael Onwenu, running back Tyler Gaffney and cornerback JC Jackson were also penalized for infractions at one point.
Penalty rounds won’t necessarily hurt a player’s chances of making the team or winning a starting role, but they’re still worth watching. If a player has too many infractions, the coaching staff will deal with them in one way or another.