FOXBORO, Mass. — New England Patriots cornerback Ryan Lewis is starting to live up to the offseason hype that admittedly was started right here on NESN.com.
Lewis had an interception and a pass breakup Monday night during the Patriots’ in-stadium night practice. He broke up another pass Wednesday morning intended for tight end Rob Gronkowski from backup quarterback Brian Hoyer.
The longer cornerbacks Cyrus Jones and Jonathan Jones stay on the physically unable to perform list and off the practice field, the better chance Lewis has at cracking the Patriots’ initial 53-man roster. If he keeps getting his hand on the ball, those odds will continue to improve.
Lewis spent last season on the Patriots’ practice squad but earned an active player’s salary.
Here’s what else we observed from practice Wednesday:
— Quarterback Tom Brady went 11-of-13 in 11-on-11 drills, while Hoyer was 12-of-15. One of Brady’s incompletions was a throwaway. The other was broken up by cornerback Stephon Gilmore. This was one of Brady’s better practices of camp.
— Tight end Jacob Hollister had his best practice among padded sessions. He made a diving grab in 1-on-1s over safety Duron Harmon. He also had two catches in team drills.
— Wide receiver Jordan Matthews, who reportedly was released by the Patriots, was the only player missing from the practice field.
— Players on PUP — Jonathan Jones, Cyrus Jones, wide receivers Kenny Britt and Matthew Slater and safety Nate Ebner — worked on conditioning out of uniform on a separate field. They were joined by wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell, running back Mike Gillislee and cornerback Keion Crossen. Defensive tackle John Atkins also worked on the lower field but was in pads.
— Offensive tackle Marcus Cannon and running back Sony Michel both left practice early with trainers.
— Running back Jeremy Hill got a lot of work with Gillislee and Michel off the main practice field. Offensive tackle LaAdrian Waddle filled in for Cannon at right tackle.
— During 1-on-1 pass rushing drills, defensive tackle Danny Shelton had two dominant wins. He’s a tough guy for one offensive lineman to hold in place.
— In those same drills, Waddle pancaked linebacker Kyle Van Noy, which led to a brief scrap. Defensive tackle Lawrence Guy beat guard Shaq Mason twice, which is no small feat. Rookie offensive tackle Isaiah Wynn stonewalled defensive end Adrian Clayborn once. Clayborn also was beat by offensive tackle Trent Brown but handled backup guard Nate Theaker with ease. Brown beat defensive end Deatrich Wise.
— Brown and defensive tackle Vincent Valentine both took laps for missteps. Valentine’s took a very long time and included some walking. Not a great look for a player trying to crack the 53-man roster.
— As the Patriots look for a fill-in punt returner while Julian Edelman serves a four-game suspension, rookie wide receiver Braxton Berrios and running back Rex Burkhead muffed punts. Safety Patrick Chung and wide receivers Chris Hogan and Riley McCarron also have handled those duties in camp. It will be interesting to see who wins the role if the Patriots would be willing to hand it to Chung, Hogan or Burkhead.
Thumbnail photo via Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports Images
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