Monday Patriots practice report: No Rob Gronkowski, Brandon Bolden as Pats D steps it up against RGIII
|08.04.14 at 11:59 am ET|
RICHMOND, Va. — The Patriots and Redskins began their 2 1/2-hour initial scrimmage Monday morning under cloudy skies but by the time the haze burned off, it was a sunny, warm day with temperatures in the upper 70s.
The conditions expect to be much more intense Tuesday as the two teams will scrimmage again in the heat of the mid-afternoon here in Richmond.
Rob Gronkowski was not on the field as he continues to work his way back into full practice mode. To this point, the tight end has only been taking part in walk-through reps and individual passing drills in full pads.
Other Patriots players not taking part in the practice were special teams captain Matthew Slater, receiver Aaron Dobson, running back Brandon Bolden and center Bryan Stork.
Here are some quick observations from practice:
Tom Brady overthrew Kenbrell Thompkins on the first play of full 11-on-11 scrimmage. The pass was a route over the middle and Thompkins attempted to climb the ladder and would’ve been hit hard by the cornerback if it were in game conditions. Brady then was nearly perfect on the next three passes, two to Julian Edelman and one to Danny Amendola, as Edelman worked on D’Angelo Hall.
Brady felt heavy pressure in the pocket on the next series and stepped up and threw a bomb to wide-open Thompkins, who ran a post pattern.
Ryan Mallett continued to struggle badly with consistency. He made one sharp touch pass on a sideline pattern to Shane Vereen and an accurate pass over the middle to Justin Jones, but he threw two interceptions and overthrew Brandon LaFell on two other passes.
Rookie Jimmy Garoppolo also saw time against Redskins backups as he ran the second-team offense. He connected with D.J. Williams on one pass over the middle and found Brian Tyms down the right sideline in 7-on-7 drills.
Defensive back Alfonzo Dennard and linebacker Deontae Skinner left early in practice and joined James Morris and Matthew Slater on a back field to work with strength and conditioning coach Moses Cabrera.
Defensively, the Patriots had the chance to go up against Robert Griffin III, who provided a quicker tempo in the pocket but didn’t do a lot of running. Griffin found DeSean Jackson on his first pass, beating Darrelle Revis. Griffin attempted a pass deep for Pierre Garcon but Kyle Arrington was in coverage and the ball was overthrown. Brandon Browner was beaten off the line of scrimmage on a Griffin slant pass but showed his true strength on the next series, wiping out tight end Paul Niles and taking him down to the ground as Griffin went to the other side of the field.
The two teams will practice in full pads again on Tuesday at 1:30 at the Bon Secours training center in Richmond before a walk-through on Wednesday and the preseason opener on Thursday night at FedEx Field.
Brady’s final pass of the day in 11-on-11s was a completion over the middle to Amendola, with old friend Brandon Meriweather bearing down. Meriweather eased up but tapped him on the ground. After the play, Brady went over to Meriweather and put his arm around his former teammate as the two walked to the sidelines together.