Wednesday’s practice report: Heavy downpours put more emphasis on rushing attack for both Patriots and Eagles
|08.13.14 at 12:17 pm ET|
FOXBORO — The Patriots and Eagles finished up their second joint practice on the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium on a wet Wednesday morning. The workout was scheduled for roughly two and a half hours, but was called short around the two-hour mark due to the heavy rain. The practice was in full pads — it was the 15th practice of the summer for the Patriots, and the 11th of the summer in full pads.
— One of the notable absences for the Patriots for a second day in a row was linebacker Jerod Mayo. Mayo also missed Tuesday’s practice, but was a full participant in Monday’s workout.
Besides Mayo, the following players were among those not spotted at the start of practice: Defensive linemen Sealver Siliga and Chris Jones, running back Tyler Gaffney, linebacker Cameron Gordon, offensive lineman Chris Martin, tight ends Michael Hoomanawanui and D.J. Williams and wide receiver Jeremy Gallon. Also not present was cornerback Justin Green, who was reportedly traded to the Cowboys Tuesday night. Spotted at practice, but not in pads were: Safety Tavon Wilson, linebacker JaGared Davis as well as offensive lineman Bryan Stork.
— Once again Rob Gronkowski only participated in 1-on-1 drills early on in the practice. Once the contact and team drills got going the tight end became a spectator. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported early Wednesday morning that the tight end has not been cleared for contact yet as he is coming back from a torn ACL suffered last December.
— As for the practice itself, because of the weather, there was a lot of emphasis on the running game during 7-on-7s and 11-on-11s — even when the teams tried passing the ball the rain clearly had an impact. On one play, the ball slipped out of quarterback Tom Brady‘s hand before he even cocked his arm back to throw.
— With the running emphasis, rookie James White and Shane Vereen saw the bulk of the carries, with White seeing a lot of work when the team was working in the red zone. White, out of the University of Wisconsin, has shown some flashes during training camp and could play a major role in the offense this season.
— It wasn’t one of Brady’s heaviest passing days — seemingly because of the weather — but he did have a few good connections with Brandon LaFell, Kenbrell Thompkins and Julian Edelman. Edelman’s came in the end zone at the very end of practice and drew an emphatic spike from the sixth year wide receiver.
— Ryan Mallett practiced for a second day in a row — with a heavy sleeve/brace on his right leg like on Tuesday — after missing Sunday and Monday’s practices. The quarterback took more reps than he did on Tuesday. Like Brady, the weather had an impact on Mallett as at one point he was the victim of three straight drops (Brian Tyms, Brandon Bolden and Wilson Van Hooser) during 11-on-11 work. Jimmy Garoppolo saw less work than on Tuesday — both because of the weather and Mallett taking more snaps — but the rookie continues to look more comfortable than he did at the beginning of training camp.
— On the defensive side of the ball, there continues to be a number of players rotating next to Devin McCourty at the safety position with Patrick Chung, Duron Harmon and Logan Ryan all seeing time there with Chung getting the highest number of reps. Chung went against his former team — the Eagles — for a second straight day.
— The one big play from the Eagles came from wide receiver Jeremy Maclin when he beat Malcolm Butler on the right side and then was able to haul in roughly a 30-yard touchdown pass from Nick Foles with McCourty chasing him. Aside from that one play, Butler has had a strong camp. Maclin later left practice with a reported hamstring injury.
— Like we saw on Tuesday, defensive end Chandler Jones moved around on the field, once again dropping into coverage on a few occasions. He spoke after practice and acknowledged he did it a few times last season and did it consistently during his college days at Syracuse.
— With Mayo’s absence Darius Fleming saw more time at linebacker and Jamie Collins excelled on a number of plays in pass coverage against the Eagles’ running backs.
— Danny Amendola, Roy Finch and Edelman all saw time as punt returners. During one punt Brandon Browner and Ryan got tangled with Eagles cornerback Roc Carmichael — a few words were exchanged, but nothing escalated.
— There was also a significant amount of time devoted to the players at the backend of the rosters for both teams to show what they have in 11-on-11 situations as both fields were used at one point to give the coaches a good look at some players who might not see as much time on the field come Friday night.