FOXBORO, Mass. – The Patriots welcomed the Panthers to Gillette Stadium this morning for their first joint practice of training camp – but they made the Tuesday news cycle before anyone even took the field.
It seems like Williams may have actually lucked out here, because he was certainly a long shot to make the roster.
Belichick told the media that he’s “not sure” if Williams will be out for the season, but all signs are looking at that to be the case.
With today being the first day for truly competitive drills for the Patriots first-team, there was plenty to take in. Here are my observations from today’s joint practice with the Panthers:
First on the Field/Player Arrivals:
Defensive lineman Jeremiah Pharms Jr. was the first on the field for the Patriots, alongside the 15+ referees in attendance to officiate today’s practice.
Panthers Keith Taylor Jr., Jeremy Chinn, and Brandon Zylstra all arrived together as the first Carolina crew on the field.
Starting quarterbacks Baker Mayfield and Mac Jones, as expected, commanded the loudest crowd noise upon arrival.
Notes and Storylines:
Rookie wide receiver continued to show his stuff today. He beat his former Baylor teammate Kalon Barnes during 1-on-1’s and made a highlight grab in the end zone for the play of the day.
He continued to shine in 11’s. During his first play with the first-team, Thornton showed his release package and instantly got separation from the Carolina DB on a slant. He then ran a deep crosser and was wide open.
The rest of the offense had a so-so day. The Panthers got a lot of pressure on Mac Jones in the second set of 11-on-11’s today.
DeVante Parker made several contested catches, showing his potential as a true #1 wide receiver. In their simulated scrimmage at the end of practice, the former Dolphin made several highlight catches – as he and Jones continue to build on the chemistry they’ve built this summer.
The entire Patriots defense had a great day.
Jalen Mills was the star on the outside against the Panthers today. He had an abundance of PBU’s in 1’s, 7’s, and 11’s – sticking like a glove to the Carolina wide receivers.
New England’s front seven got plenty of pressure on QB’s Baker Mayfield Sam Darnold. Matthew Judon and Christian Barmore were constantly in the Carolina backfield, making it tough for the signal callers in blue to do nuch of anything during team drills.
In the simulated scrimmage to end practice, Godchaux showed why he’s a multi-million dollar man here in Foxboro, eating up Christian McCaffrey in the Panthers second play from scrimmage. The continued pressure on Mayfield didn’t allow them to get many good looks at all. Like I said, an impressive day from the defense.
Coaching Staff Update:
The coaching staff update is BACK after what looked like a competition for the team’s offensive coordinator on Thursday.
Nothing new to note, however, as Matt Patricia worked closely with Bill Belichick to call the Patriots offensive plays.
Player of the Day:
Jalen Mills really popped at today’s practice. A good sign for the team’s cornerback room – which has been subject to speculation thus far during Patriots camp. New England has been blessed with Revis, Gilmore, and J.C. Jackson for the last decade, so it’s good to see another lock down guy in the making.
We spoke to DeVante Parker, Ty Montgomery, and Deatrich Wise among others after today’s session.
Parker spoke about finally seeing some good things out of the Patriots offense: “We’ve just going to eliminate the small things, the penalties – we’ll be fine.”
When asked about Mac Jones, Parker said, “he’s a good quarterback. He comes out here, works hard, and it’s showing. He’s done a good job.”
RB/WR Ty Montgomery was asked about how his versatility impacts his game. He said that he doesn’t pride himself on it, but instead, “pride myself on showing up to work and doing my job.” Montgomery worked with the first-team offense during their hurry-up drill.
“We did an awesome job coming together as one today,” said DE Deatrich Wise when asked about the defense’s performance today. Were the dominant? “Yes… very,” said Wise.
Wrap-Up and Takeaways:
Overall a solid showing from the Patriots today – who saw live action with their 1’s against a different opponent for the first time in 2022. Here are my takeaways:
- Jalen Mills will be reliable at the boundary corner for the Patriots this year, something they desperately need.
- Tyquan Thorton was that dude again. I’m excited to see how much the integrate him into the first team offense come week one.
- New England’s run defense from a season ago looks to be vastly improved in 2022.
The Patriots will practice against Carolina again tomorrow, and will then be off on Thursday before their game on Friday night. I’ll have you covered here for Gillette Stadium, so follow along on CLNSMedia.com for all the latest Pats news.
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