The Patriots began day two of training camp today in much better weather than yesterday.
The Quarterbacks: Tom Brady was as sharp as yesterday. He connected with Aaron Dobson a lot in today’s session. Brady connected a few times with Dobson on beautifully thrown deep passes. Brady over threw a few but overall had a solid day at the QB spot. Ryan Mallett, the 3rd year backup, struggled again in training camp. He struggled with accuracy, and timing again today. Over throwing a few a passes, and making a few mistakes on offense. He had some throws that showed off his big arm, but other than that, he didn’t have a very good day. Tim Tebow at the QB spot struggled again today. He had passes skipping the ground before reaching his target, and two passes, like Brady were batted down. Tebow struggled the most today with making reads, and holding onto the ball for 11 seconds at the very least before deciding what to do with it. I like that he tried to find somewhere to throw and not just take off running like he usually does, but he needs to speed up his ability to find a receiver to throw too. Faster decision making, reading the defense, and fixing his short passes are all areas Tebow needs to improve on. Tebow did have a beautifully thrown deep ball to Hawkins down the left sideline. Tebow is pretty good at throwing the deep ball, but his struggles at short passes are mighty, and needs fixing. Most of his issues with the short passes are due to his mechanics. He brings the ball too far back, throwing it as hard as he can to a player 5 yards away, and most of the time his release is pointing to the ground which leads to many balls hitting the dirt. They need to shorten up his release on those passes, and he doesn’t need to throw it like a rocket, that makes it even more harder for a player to hang onto a ball that is coming that fast just a few feet away. Tebow did take reps again at the WR/RB spots, which is where he shined the most. He caught a pass from Brady, and then eluded Rob Ninkovich. Tebow’s running skills are very good, and they were on display today. Tebow can add depth to the tight end/RB spots on the team. If he keeps flashing good running skills, he might be the Patriots hybrid player this season. Tebow spent 20 minutes after practice, working on his throwing with a coach and wide out. Tebow looks like a guy who has never had any coach trying to “fix” him, which he hasn’t. At the QB spot, he has a long road ahead. The pre-season can’t come soon enough for Tebow, who is a gamer and not a practice player, same goes for Mallett too, who has struggled in practices this year.
The Runningbacks: Pretty quiet camp overall. Ridley is solid, we all know that. Ridley did have a fumble today, but other than that it was another solid workout. Leon Washington had return duty today and has looked good as a returner for the Pats.
The Wide Reicevers: Aaron Dobson had a big day today. Dobson has been turning heads with his hands, and play making ability. He caught a few deep passes, and wowed the crowd at Foxborough. He leaped and reached up over cornerback Aqib Talib to haul in a delivery from Brady along the right sideline, tapping his toes in bounds. It was a quiet day for Danny Amendola since the offense worked mostly on deep passes. Amendola still impressed with his quickness, and he showed the skills of his play making abilities by diving for an over thrown pass by Mallett, 30 yards down field. Jenkins had a beautiful leaping catch today, and continues to look like an old, reliable veteran.
The Tight Ends: Jake Ballard leads the group but struggled to make catches again today. He had a few awful drops throughout the practice. Daniel Fells made a nice catch over the middle, and Michael Hoomanawaniu made a leaping catch as well. The tight ends look solid behind Gronk. There is help at tight end for New England, and the chatter/worry should start loss steam heading into the regular season.
The Defense: Alfonzo Dennard was able to work mostly with the first team today, making plays all over the field. He had a great day. Dennard picked off Mallett on a play where he caught it, falling onto his back. He also broke up a Brady pass to Dobson. Rookie LB Jamie Collins has been getting a lot of reps with the first team defense, relieving Spikes in the 4-3 defense. Collins plays the middle linebacker, while Hightower shifts to inside, and Mayo remains on the outside. Wilson, and McCourty continue their reps at safety.
Tomorrow at 9 a.m. the Patriots will have their first practice in pads.