Home Featured Banner

Observations From Final Day of Patriots Minicamp

The Patriots took the field on Wednesday for the final day of mandatory minicamp. Before practice, head coach Jerod Mayo told reporters the goals were to continue bonding and competing and, most importantly, to leave practice healthy. The team nearly got out unscathed, but defensive tackle Trysten Hill appeared to suffer an injury late in practice.

Like Monday’s session, New England focused primarily on end-of-half situations and Red Zone work. Tyquan Thornton and Tyrone Wheatley were new absences, while Joshua Uche returned but did not participate. Davon Godchaux was once again present, but the 2025 free agent did not participate as he appears to be holding in for a new deal. “We want [Davon] here. He’s one of our best players,” Mayo said when asked about the nose tackle. “He is working. He’s here every single day, has been here every single day. We look forward to getting him on the field in camp.”

Today’s practice preceded a lengthy break before training camp in late July. When asked about his message to the team during their time away from the facility, Mayo said he advised players not to lose the gains made during OTAs and minicamp.

“Either you’re getting better or you’re getting worse. There is no maintaining. So, continue to work out at home and make good decisions off the field. If you do that, you’ll be okay.”

Here are my top takeaways from today’s practice.

Friendly reminder: all observations should be taken with a grain of salt, as this stage in the offseason is more about growth than results.

Absent/Did Not Participate

  • WR Kendrick Bourne
  • LB Sione Takitaki
  • LB Jahlani Tavai
  • WR Tyquan Thornton
  • IOL Jake Andrews
  • LG Cole Strange
  • OT Tyrone Wheatley Jr.

Limited

  • WR Javon Baker
  • DB Marcellas Dial
  • CB Kaleb Ford-Dement
  • RB Terrell Jennings

Quarterbacks End Shaky Day on a High-Note

Jacoby Brissett has been a generally steady presence for the Patriots’ offense and certainly the most consistent of the team’s four passers. But today, while pass protection and a lack of separation didn’t always help, he and top backup Drake Maye had trouble finding a rhythm.

Brissett got off to a solid start in the opening team period, an 11-on-11 simulating the end of a half. After Jalen Reagor dropped a pass following a Brissett scramble, the quarterback connected with K.J. Osborn on another pair of short passes with Alex Austin in coverage. These positive gains were offset by the offense failing to get a spike off in time to attempt a final Hail Mary. The veteran also had a few passes sail well outside of receivers’ grasps a few times. This has happened in other practices, but in those instances, the argument could be made he was throwing the ball away or on different pages than his receivers.

Things didn’t pick up for the top group until low Red Zone work, where Ja’Lynn Polk beat Kyle Dugger on a stick-nod and grabbed a pass in the back of the end zone. Brissett followed that with another completion to the back of the end zone, this time to Boutte with Austin in coverage. He ultimately stabilized near the end of practice by quickly finding his outlets to beat the heat, but overall, the veteran had more misses than usual.

Maye wasn’t much better behind a backup offensive line. He missed short of Kayshon Boutte after two JaMycal Hasty screens, then ended the drive on an interception to Azizi Hearns, though target JuJu Smith-Schuster may have run an incomplete route. The rookie also threw behind his receivers consistently on short passes, forcing tough adjustments and leading to an Austin breakup where Polk was initially open.

It was encouraging to see Maye bounce back from these struggles, though. He had a pair of perfect fade throws to Boutte and Polk for touchdowns against tight coverage. The latter forced the defense to end the day with push-ups, which happened just one other time in the offseason program.

Mayo has consistently emphasized that Maye’s growth won’t be linear, saying before today’s practice, “He’s going the right direction. Now, in saying that, we know there are going to be some down days. That’s one thing that I’ve been trying to stress to him is, ‘Alright, just keep chipping at the rock, get 1% better every day.’ It’s not always going to be great.”

While today’s performance wasn’t consistently great, I think the major takeaway for Maye is that he rose to the occasion when it mattered most.

Boutte and Polk Dominate in Scoring Territory

The Patriots’ offense is stacked with experienced veteran receivers, but with that group lacking much explosiveness, it would benefit greatly from young receivers stepping up. Ja’Lynn Polk and Kayshon Boutte showed they could potentially bring that juice during an exceptional outing for the young pass-catchers.

Boutte, who’s mostly been quiet the past few weeks, was a scoring machine. With Thornton out, he got more reps than usual as the second “X” receiver and took full advantage. He caught four touchdowns during low Red Zone drills, including one from Brissett and three from Maye. His scores from Maye were especially impressive, given their degree of difficulty. Two were slightly behind the receiver, forcing him to fight through contact on a slant against Alex Austin, then make a juggling catch near the sideline with Marte Mapu contesting. Boutte’s final touchdown was a full-extension grab on a fade with oversized corner Mikey Victory on his hip.

When asked about Boutte’s busy day, Maye credited the former Tiger for his consistency against 1-on-1 coverage. Austin added to the praise, saying, “He’s a great receiver, man. He’s somebody who’s a three-level route-runner. He’s not just somebody who’s going to give you an intermediate or a deep-threat route. He can do it all. He’s going to catch the ball at a physical point of attack. So, he’s a great receiver for sure. Good to compete with because he’s getting me ready for the season.”

Polk continues stacking positive practices together, particularly in scoring territory where his catch radius and concentration shine. He first popped on the aforementioned touchdown against Dugger, which was the first sign of life for New England’s offense. Polk later finished practice on a high note, going all-out for a diving reception from Maye on a fade against Victor. Officials huddled for a bit before making their final judgment, but once their hands signaled touchdown, the offense collectively ran over to Polk in celebration.

“It was 1 second left, end of the game, I’m putting myself in those situations just like it’s going to be in the season,” Polk told reporters when asked about the play. “And putting myself in those shoes and making a play for my team. All of the receivers in there, making plays, and when the team is going out there on that last drive and counting on you, I want everybody to put that chip on my shoulder to go out there and make that play.”

“He says ‘just give me a chance’ and he made a nice play,” Maye said about his fellow rookie. “That’s something to go home with. First OTAs, first minicamp, end on a catch like that from a fellow rookie, first- and second-rounder, it’s pretty cool.”

Polk projects as an early contributor to New England’s offense as a 2nd-round pick, so it’s promising to see him make plays when called upon. Boutte could be a dark horse to make the roster after being largely an afterthought this offseason, which would be a significant development at a boundary receiver spot that needs someone to step up.

Caedan Wallace Reps with Top Offense

In Monday’s minicamp practice, the Patriots debuted a new combination featuring Caedan Wallace at right tackle flanked by Mike Onwenu. The duo repped entirely with the second group in that session but seemed to get a promotion on Wednesday.

We saw Wallace and Onwenu as fixtures of the top offense for the first time as New England continues looking for its best offensive line combination. “We’re going to try to get the best vibe out there,” Mayo said before practice when asked about Onwenu moving back to his natural guard spot. “Once again, it’s hard to evaluate offensive line and defensive line during this time, so we’ll see when training camp comes around. But once again, we always talk about the more you can do: the versatility, not only with the players, but also the coaches. He’s one of those guys that is blessed with that versatility to be able to play both spots.”

I have my concerns about Onwenu playing guard in a scheme that asks a lot of its interior linemen athletically. As talented as the mauler is, he struggles in space and when asked to jump out in front of defensive linemen. That said, putting Onwenu inside over Leverett to get Wallace on the field seems more conducive to getting the best linemen on the field. Onwenu is also a Pro Bowl-caliber player inside if utilized correctly, whereas his ceiling is about average as an offensive tackle.

Tweaking could continue during training camp, particularly if rookie Layden Robinson emerges, but Onwenu’s versatility gives New England options for what they can do upfront.

Leftovers

  • Mayo told reporters that the team plans on carrying four quarterbacks into training camp after previously stating the team would carry three this the summer
  • Bryce Baringer attempted five punts from midfield, trying to get them to drop near the goal line, and didn’t have a single touchback
  • Chad Ryland went 3-4 on field goal attempts, while Joey Slye hit on all four of his attempts
  • Alex Austin and Marco Wilson appeared to rotate opposite Christian Gonzalez
  • Safety Jaylinn Hawkins and outside linebacker Oshane Ximines are players to keep an eye on, as both have seen significant reps with players who typically start for New England
  • Joe Milton casually did a standing backflip during passes on air, which immediately reminded me of former Patriots linebacker Jamie Collins
Taylor Kyles

Taylor Kyles is the lead NFL Analyst for CLNS Media covering players, schemes, and tendencies through a New England Patriots-centric lens.

Recent Posts

Drake Maye Has Up-and-Down Day at Patriots Training Camp Day 1

FOXBORO -- It was a decent first day of training camp for Drake Maye, the…

13 hours ago

Jalen Reagor WINS First Day of Training Camp

FOXBORO -- Out of all the wide receivers on the Patriots roster, few people expected…

13 hours ago

Matt Judon PLAYS in Training Camp and Provides Trade Status Update

FOXBORO -- Matthew Judon, who is still hoping for a contract extension, reported to the…

13 hours ago

Observations From Day 1 of Patriots Training Camp

Summer break is over, and the Patriots were back on the practice field for the…

16 hours ago

The Importance of Sports Scholarships for College Students

Scholarships available for participation in sports activities are significant. They support the lives of college…

21 hours ago

Drake Maye Could Earn Starting Job at Patriots Training Camp

The top storyline heading into camp is the Patriots' quarterback situation. After signing Jacoby Brissett…

2 days ago