FOXBORO, Mass. — Opposing running backs and tight ends might have trouble catching passes against the New England Patriots this season.
Linebacker Jamie Collins has been fantastic in pass coverage during Patriots training camp, and Saturday’s session might have been his best of the summer. Collins broke up a pass intended for running back Brandon Bolden and picked off backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in 7-on-7 drills. Collins also perfectly tracked tight end Rob Gronkowski during goal-line drills and ripped a ball out of tight end Jimmay Mundine’s hands during 11-on-11s.
— Garoppolo was 11 of 14 with an interception during 7-on-7s and 14 of 17 during 11-on-11s. Garoppolo looked better on the practice field than he did in Thursday’s preseason opener against the Green Bay Packers, despite the turnover. He appears to be making decisions more quickly on the practice field.
— Starting quarterback Tom Brady was 9 of 13 in 7-on-7s and 15 of 20 in 11-on-11s.
— Third-stringer Ryan Lindley was 6 of 12 in 11-on-11s with an interception to cornerback Bradley Fletcher — his first of camp.
— Collins, Fletcher, cornerback Robert McClain, linebacker Darius Fleming and safety Tavon Wilson had pass breakups during Saturday’s session.
— Linebacker Dont’a Hightower and wide receivers Matthew Slater and Brian Tyms shed the red non-contact jerseys and were more heavily involved in practice. Slater caught a deep touchdown from Brady during practice and Tyms had seven catches.
— Gronkowski led the team in catches during practice with 11.
— Injured Patriots wide receivers Julian Edelman and Brian Tyms; running back Dion Lewis; offensive linemen Marcus Cannon, Bryan Stork and Nate Solder; tight end Scott Chandler and linebacker Eric Martin were spotted at practice but were limited to working on the lower practice field away from the rest of the team.
— Defensive tackle Malcom Brown and offensive lineman Ryan Groy got into a fight near the end of practice and both left the field. Brown came back to do sprints after practice.
— Veteran cornerback Tarell Brown left the field midway through practice and didn’t return. He was joined by a trainer as he slowly walked off the field with his shirt off.
— With the Patriots running low on cornerbacks, they had to reshuffle their secondary and use a safety on the edge. It’s nothing to dissect too much until those cornerbacks return to the field and the safety stays down on the edge.
Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images