FOXBORO, Mass. — Some notes and nuggets from Day 13 of New England Patriots training camp:
— Thirteen was an unlucky number for Tom Brady and the Patriots’ offense.
Brady completed just 15 of 28 passes in 11-on-11 drills during Monday’s practice and had a deep ball to Phillip Dorsett intercepted by rookie cornerback J.C. Jackson. His receivers, meanwhile, dropped a staggering 10 passes, including a team-high three by recently signed wideout Eric Decker.
“You want to say yeah (the wet weather contributed to the drops), but at the end of the day, who really (expletive) cares, you know what I mean?” said Devin Lucien, whose two drops spoiled an otherwise productive practice for the 25-year-old receiver. “No one really cares. You’ve just got to take it how it comes and catch every ball that comes to you.”
The sloppy play frustrated the Patriots’ signal-callers. Backup quarterback Brian Hoyer could be heard barking at his teammates following an illegal motion penalty, and Brady became so frustrated after misfiring on a pass to James White that he collected the ball, turned toward the end zone and punted it into the stands.
Brady’s display of leg strength came after his final competitive rep of the day. The 41-year-old quarterback also spent time leading New England scout-team offense — a responsibility that typically falls to Hoyer or rookie Danny Etling.
— Decker, who has worn No. 87 throughout his career, was asked why he chose No. 81 upon his arrival in New England.
“Of the options I had, I thought it looked the most slimming,” he said with a smile.
Patriots star tight end Rob Gronkowski wears No. 87, forcing Decker to make the switch after the Patriots signed him earlier this month.
“I told Rob I might throw a little white permanent marker (on the 1) on game day,” he joked.
— Linebacker Dont’a Hightower played 27 defensive snaps in New England’s preseason opener against the Washington Redskins (45 percent), eighth-most among all Patriots defenders.
Players of Hightower’s caliber typically take on smaller workloads in the first week of the preseason. But after going down with a season-ending torn pectoral muscle last October, Hightower appreciated the extra reps.
“Just looking to get more snaps,” he said Monday. “Practice and game, it’s a little different. I felt good when I was out there, though. Looking forward to more practicing and getting to the game on this Thursday. But it’s been a while — still got to knock a little rust off of me. You can do some of that in practice, but there’s nothing like a live game. So (I) definitely will take advantage of what I’ve got left.”
— Patriots cornerback Ryan Lewis has been limited in practice for the last two days. The exact nature of his injury has not been reported, but he did take a helmet off the wrist during last Thursday’s game.
Lewis laid a devastating hit on Redskins wide receiver Trey Quinn early in that game but found himself on Bill Belichick’s bad side after failing to block Washington’s Simmie Cobbs on Geneo Grissom’s 53-yard fumble return. Cobbs raced past Lewis, who already had begun celebrating, to chase down Grissom at the 1-yard line.
— Safety Eddie Pleasant received some 1-on-1 instruction from position coach Steve Belichick during team drills.
Pleasant, a 29-year-old veteran who spent the last six seasons with the Houston Texans, is battling Jordan Richards for a roster spot behind starters Devin McCourty, Patrick Chung and Duron Harmon. He played 26 defensive snaps against Washington, plus another 15 on special teams, finishing with four tackles.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images