Patriots Training Camp Observations: Rob Gronkowski Advances To Contact

Rob GronkowskiFOXBORO, Mass. — Rob Gronkowski took one step closer to making a full recovery from a torn ACL.

The New England Patriots tight end participated in contact drills for the first time this summer, just in time for training camp to come to a close. Gronkowski caught passes in 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills Monday afternoon in the Patriots’ final training camp session of the summer.

Gronkowski moved well and didn’t suffer any setbacks as he took hits from linebackers and defensive backs while running routes. Gronkowski hasn’t advanced to taking contact in team blocking drills yet.

Gronkowski said after Monday’s session that it’s still his goal to play in all 16 regular-season games and that he expects to increase his participation in practice even more on Tuesday.

Check out the rest of NESN.com’s practice observations from Monday afternoon:

– Brady went 9-of-11 passing in 7-on-7s and 13 of 18 in 11-on-11s, Mallett was 7 of 8 in 7-on-7s and 6 of 10 in 11-on-11s, and rookie QB Jimmy Garoppolo went 4 of 5 in 7-on-7s and 5 of 8 in 11-on-11s.

– Brady was picked off by linebacker James Anderson in 11-on-11s. Brady’s pass was intended for wide receiver Danny Amendola, but Anderson jumped the route. Cornerback Brandon Browner intercepted a Mallett pass in team drills.

– Running back Stevan Ridley received the first handoff in 11-on-11s despite fumbling Friday night in the Patriots’ preseason win over the Philadelphia Eagles.

– Rookie defensive tackle Dominique Easley participated in 11-on-11s for the first time this summer. The first-round draft pick might be close to playing in a preseason game.

– Rookie cornerback Malcolm Butler made two stand-out plays. He stripped Gronkowski after the big tight end made a reception in 11-on-11s. Butler also picked off Brady in 3-on-2 drills, where Brady had two receiver options and was going against two cornerbacks and a safety.

Here are the results from those drills:

Garoppolo hit wide receiver Josh Boyce over cornerback Kyle Arrington

Browner over wide receiver Kenbrell Thompkins and Garoppolo

Garoppolo overthrew wide receiver Julian Edelman over Arrington

Safety Tavon Wilson interfered with wide receiver Brian Tyms on a Garoppolo pass

Brady hit wideout Matthew Slater over safety Patrick Chung

Brady hit Amendola over cornerback Alfonzo Dennard

Butler picked off Brady on a pass intended for Tyms

– Running back Shane Vereen, tight end Steve Maneri, linebacker/fullback Taylor McCuller and wide receivers Tyms and Derrick Johnson dropped passes during practice.

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