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Observations from Day One of Patriots Training Camp

The Patriots kicked off training camp by working almost exclusively in the low Red Zone following an early conditioning period. This isn’t uncommon for Bill Belichick, as New England’s offensive installation annually starts in scoring territory. While players were still in shorts and t-shirts, the competition and speed seemed to ramp up compared to OTAs and minicamp. Several players who weren’t present in those practices made their debut, including JuJu Smith-Schuster (ACL), Tyquan Thornton (soft tissue), and Lawrence Guy (contract dispute). Jack Jones was also present despite his ongoing legal situation, which Bill Belichick said would be the case while speaking to reporters yesterday, and Trent Brown was a consistent presence at left tackle after not practicing in his sole minicamp appearance.

ATTENDANCE

Physically Unable to Perform

  • RG Mike Onwenu
  • ST Cody Davis

Non-Football Injury

  • OT Calvin Anderson

Red Non-Contact Jersey (excluding QBs)

  • Marte Mapu

DEFENSE DOMINATES IN LOW RED ZONE WORK

Condensed space in the low Red Zone makes it a notoriously tough place for offenses to find success. This was the case for the Patriots’ offense against its loaded defense, which provided consistently tight coverage in team drills. The defense logged several pass breakups, staying in receivers’ hips and contesting just about every catch.

The defensive highlight came early with Kyle Dugger intercepting a Mac Jones pass meant for Mike Gesicki in the back of the end zone.

The offensive highlight came about halfway through team drills with Hunter Henry making a sliding catch on a throw from Jones with rookie Christian Gonzalez in coverage. Henry showed his enthusiasm by pumping up the crowd.

TY MONTGOMERY STANDS OUT AS BRIGHT SPOT FOR OFFENSE

Versatile weapon Ty Montgomery, who was listed as a running back last season, is now officially listed as a wide receiver on the team’s website. This isn’t surprising, as he spent nearly every rep during OTAs and minicamp as the top slot receiver. While he won’t be as high on the depth chart with Smith-Schuster and Thornton in the mix, he does seem primed for a big role in Bill O’Brien’s offense.

Montgomery caught four receptions for touchdowns while lining up in different spots. His most impressive rep came as a late read in Trace McSorley’s progression, making one of the few downfield receptions on the day for New England.

The Patriots have a lot of different options at receiver, and it’s likely we’ll see several combinations used this season. But Montgomery’s flexibility should get him on the field consistently as a potential mismatch piece for O’Brien to work with.

LEFTOVERS

  • Trent Brown seems high on the new offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien and new offensive line coach Adrian Klemm, noting their intensity and passion
  • Mac Jones says he and Bill Belichick are “good” and that they discussed “having a fresh start” in 2023
  • Jones also noted that Belichick “does a great job explaining defenses and all the things that help a quarterback”
  • Riley Reiff was a mainstay at right tackle next to veteran Bill Murray
  • Robert Kraft was in attendance for at least the early part of practices
  • JuJu Smith-Schuster drew loud cheers from Patriots fans while going through drills near the stands
  • Deatrich Wise received plenty of love on his birthday, with fans singing to the captain as he went to sign autographs
  • Marcus Jones, Demario Douglas, and Myles Bryant were the primary punt returners
  • Malik Cunningham got reps at gunner
Taylor Kyles

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

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