FOXBORO, Mass. — The Patriots are back from their week of joint practice and preseason action in Philadelphia and they started things back up in Foxboro at half speed.
The players were in shorts and shells running through drills, specific situations and special teams all afternoon. The action is expected to pick up on Tuesday when the Buccaneers come to town. The Patriots will have joint practices with Greg Schiano and the Bucs Tuesday through Thursday.
During Friday’s preseason game, Michael Jenkins, Mark Harrison, Ras-I Dowling, Devin McCourty, Alfonzo Dennard, Nate Ebner, James Develin, Brandon Ford, Marcus Cannon, Dan Connolly, Tyronne Green, Kevin Haslam, Rob Gronkowski, Jermaine Cunningham, Armond Armstead and Markus Zusevics were all inactive.
McCourty was back out in the red non-contact jersey with full participation. Dowling, Dennard, Jenkins, Ebner, Connolly, Green, Haslam and Zusevics were spotted in uniform, but limited in action. Harrison and Gronkowski were in sweats. Develin was a full participant and Cannon, Cunningham and Armstead were not spotted. Ford was waived/injured on Monday afternoon. Jason Vega was also not spotted, though he played against the Eagles.
Ryan Mallett practiced fully after getting hurt against Philadelphia.
–Kenbrell Thompkins made some more nice plays out there with the first and second units. One diving catch was notable. He continues to look like the best rookie wide receiver out of the bunch.
–Josh Boyce and LeGarrette Blount had some notable drops. Boyce’s came off a Tom Brady pass with Kyle Arrington in coverage.
-Blount was also back returning kicks. He took one to the house (with the opposition running at half speed) and did the Neon Deion dance in the end zone. That LeGarrette Blount is quite the character.
-Mallett has yet to really flash at a practice. He’s not as good as Brady and he’s not nearly as bad as Tim Tebow, but overall, he hasn’t been overly impressive, which hasn’t helped his trade stock.
–McCourty was back to playing cornerback in some reps. While he was playing corner, Duron Harmon was playing the deep-high safety role with the first team. It’s unlikely McCourty takes a ton of snaps at cornerback this year, and that exercise will likely end once Dowling and Dennard return.
-The Patriots were running some three-man front looks while playing nickel. Marcus Benard was taking some reps at five-technique defensive end while Adrian Wilson was lining up in a hybrid-linebacker role. Wilson appeared to be playing the “money” role that Tavon Wilson held last season. The younger Wilson has not had a strong camp thus far.
-With a limited supply of cornerbacks, Marquice Cole was getting some reps in the first-team defense, playing the “star” or slot role.