Patriots OTAs Observations: Martellus Bennett Among Standout Performers


May 26, 2016

FOXBORO, Mass. — Rob Gronkowski sat out the New England Patriots’ first organized team activities session open to the media, but that just gave fellow tight end Martellus Bennett more time to shine.

OTAs are unpadded and non-contact sessions, but no one could cover Bennett on Thursday. His most notable catch came when quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo fired a ball to Bennett in the end zone as safety Patrick Chung was draped over him. Bennett pulled in the reception basket-style.

Bennett also used his length and athleticism to pull down passes during team drills. He did have to take a lap after fumbling early in team drills.

Here are other observations from OTAs:

— QB Tom Brady was 8 of 9 in 11-on-11s and 19 of 22 overall in team drills. Needless to say, it doesn’t appear Deflategate is distracting him.

— Garoppolo was 8 of 9 in 11-on-11s and 24 of 29 overall in team drills. He looks like he has taken massive strides since last spring and summer, when he was holding onto the ball too long. He appears to have a great grasp of the offense and is going through his progressions much more quickly.

— Rookie QB Jacoby Brissett was 4 of 6 with an interception in 11-on-11s and 9 of 20 overall in team drills. Brissett struggled early, going 0 of 4 in 2-on-2 drills, but he had reeled in his accuracy by the end of the session, despite throwing the pick.

— Rookie cornerback Cyrus Jones pulled in the lone interception of the OTA session when he picked off a Brissett pass.

— Chung made two pass breakups during team drills.

— Receivers Chris Hogan, Malcolm Mitchell and Aaron Dobson all made nice grabs during the team drills. Hogan pulled in a one-hander, and Mitchell dove for a catch.

— Rookie running back D.J. Foster is by far the quickest running back in camp. He showed off nice footwork in pass-catching drills.

— Bennett, tight end Clay Harbor and fullback James Develin earned some alone time with Brady. During another drill, Bennett, Nate Washington, Dobson and Mitchell worked with the quarterbacks while other receivers participated in special-teams drills.

— Despite being a projected starter, Hogan concentrated heavily on special teams.

— Cyrus Jones, V’Angelo Bentley, DeAndre Carter, Chris Harper and Keshawn Martin all fielded punts while Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola were absent from practice.

Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images

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