Patriots Training Camp Observations: Kenbrell Thompkins Stands Out

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Kenbrell ThompkinsFOXBORO, Mass. — The New England Patriots eased back into practice during Day 1 of training camp.

The Patriots went without pads or shells Thursday, which meant no contact and no 1-on-1 drills. The weather cooperated as well, with mild temperatures in the 70s.

Training camp practice was run much like organized team activities and minicamp, with individual drills followed by 7-on-7 and 11-on-11s. The players were wearing jerseys with what looked to be a new number font.

Here are observations from Day 1:

— Wide receiver Kenbrell Thompkins continued his strong offseason with a number of receptions from quarterback Tom Brady. Thompkins laid out for a diving catch in the end zone, though it appeared he was unable to stay in bounds.

— Receiver Brandon LaFell, on the other hand, struggled with drops, which for fans of the Carolina Panthers is a familiar phrase. Head coach Bill Belichick stressed during his pre-practice news conference not to judge a player based on one practice, however, so LaFell still can improve.

— Brady went 4-for-9 passing in 7-on-7s and 12-for-16 passing in 11-on-11s. Quarterback Ryan Mallett went 4-for-7 with a drop in 7-on-7s and 1-for-6 in 11-on-11s with a drop. Rookie signal-caller Jimmy Garoppolo went 2-for-5 with a drop and an interception in 7-on-7s and 3-for-5 in 11-on-11s. Mallett had a sleeve on his left knee.

— Brady worked with wide receivers Thompkins, Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola and tight end Rob Gronkowski on end-zone fades and goal-line passes during individual drills. Edelman continues to look strong.

— Brandon Browner swatted a Brady pass intended for Edelman. Dont’a Hightower, Patrick Chung and Malcolm Butler also made impressive plays in pass coverage.

— It appears position battles aren’t settled in the secondary or along the offensive line, which is to be expected this early in camp.

Photo via USA Today Sports Images

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