3. Although it wasn’t perfect, the Patriots O-Line cleaned up some things on Thursday
After a bumpy performance in their first practice with the Packers, the Patriots’ offensive line delivered a more respectable effort Thursday. No, it wasn’t perfect, but they did enough for Jones to make the plays out of the pocket and opened up some running lanes for Stevenson and Elliott. Although it’s a challenge to evaluate the offensive line’s play without reviewing the film, this was a good performance from the big bodies up front. Again, it’s not great, but you’ll take it as a positive step.
The biggest downfalls came with planned stresses through the defensive line’s stunts, as the short-rep group featuring two rookies is still building chemistry. The Green Bay defense came under immediate planned pressure as Jones could have been sacked, and left tackle Trent Brown appeared to beat his edge on another potential sack as he might have had his feet tangled. Then, there was a fourth sack where Mac might have run into Kendrick Bourne on a quick hitch, but he held the ball too long. Although four sacks seems like a lot, it was 6-7 sacks on Wednesday, so that was a slight improvement. The good news is that there were fewer penalties, less defense break/pocket collapse pressure, and the quarterbacks were playing the field on time.
However, New England’s depth, which took another hit with Conor McDermott missing coaching, remains an issue. The Patriots are now training without starters Cole Strange and Mike Onuino, newcomers Calvin Anderson, Cody Rossi, and McDermott. There are only a few healthy bodies in the offensive line room right now. On the plus side, Onwenu’s insight around the team and doing conditioning work lately has been good.
4. Rookie WR Kayshon Boutte finds the endzone again in a two-minute drill
As we mentioned in yesterday’s notes, my most recent offer had rookie receiver Kayshon Boutte missing on the 53-man roster. Well, the sixth-round pick has me eating a little crow this week, as he followed up a four-catch performance with a solid finish for practice on Thursday. Working with Zappe in the two-minute drill, Boutte ran a nice-looking whipped path to the goal line, keeping his feet in the boundary to close the road with a touch. Bott’s straight-line speed, powerful hands and body control to work on the sidelines give him an opportunity to make the team. As for fellow rookie DeMario Douglas, he had his moments, too, with two red zone touchdowns, including a neat corner route where the switch left him alone. The Pats’ freshman team is having strong weeks here in Green Bay.
5. WR Tyquan Thornton leaves practice with an undisclosed injury
After hitting his personal best this summer as early as 11-11, wide receiver Tyquan Thornton left workouts early with an undisclosed injury. Thornton got behind the defense and made an impressive catch, but it may have come at a cost. This is the second time Thornton’s health has been in question this training camp, while the second year wide also missed time in the spring. Thornton had moments yesterday where he was open in midfield and caught a deep pass from Jones on Thursday, but the unfortunate truth is that he should be available. Hopefully Thornton will avoid a major injury.
6. WR TRE NIXON HAS A SHOW EARLY PRACTICE ON catching LONG DOWN
With Thornton’s status now uncertain, it’s worth noting that third-year freshman Tre Nixon made one of the biggest plays of the day in the team’s early tenure. Nixon ran right next to the defender on the go, and Zabi placed the pass perfectly for about 40 yards. Nixon may not have the positive side of players in years one and two, but he does have some juice to stretch the field.
“Alcohol enthusiast. Twitter ninja. Tv lover. Falls down a lot. Hipster-friendly coffee geek.”