FOXBORO, Mass — The kids in The Sandlot had their annual July 4 night practice under the fireworks. The Patriots have their annual first Monday of training camp night practice at Gillette Stadium.
Of the four training camp practices, this was the sloppiest so far. Wide receivers were dropping passes, linemen were missing blocks and Tim Tebow was being, well, Tim Tebow.
If anything, Michael Hoomanawanui was the star of the show, beating defenders in one-on-ones and even taking in a one-handed grab.
Rob Gronkowski, Nick McDonald, Mark Harrison, Cory Grissom and Julian Edelman were spotted in sweats. Armond Armstead and Brandon Bolden were not spotted. That’s new for Bolden.
-After three strong practices, Kamar Aiken and Kenbrell Thompkins took a step back. Both had drops and failed to get separation outside. Both players were taking snaps on the first team, so they’re facing off against the top corners on the team in Aqib Talib, Alfonzo Dennard and Kyle Arrington. Thompkins read the defense wrong in 11-on-11s, which allowed Talib to pick off Brady.
-Tebow was lining up as the second-team punt protector.
-Leon Washington was the fourth running back we’ve seen in the past two days take snaps at wide receiver.He was lined up in the slot. Josh Boyce was also lined up in the slot.
-Marcus Cannon continued to look effective in one-on-ones. He’s using his massive size to his advantage.
-Boyce juked his defender after taking a screen pass out of the slot. Agility is a strong suit of Boyce’s.
-Zach Sudfeld has been a solid contributor every practice. He was strong in one-on-ones against linebackers and safeties.
-Ryan Mallett struggled under the Gillette lights. He hasn’t had a very strong training camp in general so far.
-Dont’a Hightower and Jerod Mayo came around unblocked during a Tebow snap. He would have got sacked if contact were allowed.
-Hightower was taking a lot of snaps in the nickel.
-Marcus Benard was impressive again in one-on-ones, he also spent time playing outside linebacker during seven-on-sevens.
-Joe Vellano was surprisingly solid in one-on-ones. He was consistently beating his man with a single move. Tommy Kelly continued to impress, too.
-Jermaine Cunningham struggled in one-on-ones. He failed to get past Cannon and Tyronne Green.
-Hightower swatted a pass intended for Shane Vereen in one-on-ones. If Hightower can improve his pass-coverage skills, he could beat out Jamie Collins and Brandon Spikes.
-Ras-I Dowling would have got called for obvious pass interference on a throw intended for Matthew Slater. Dowling won an offseason award, but his preseason has been spotty so far.
-Duron Harmon gets his first mention of the training camp for picking off an errant pass from Mallett.