FOXBORO, Mass. — Summer break officially came to a close for the New England Patriots as they returned to practice on the fields behind Gillette Stadium on Thursday.
The Patriots held a non-padded session in front of a packed house of fans. Unsurprisingly, the biggest cheers were saved for quarterback Tom Brady and wide receivers N’Keal Harry and Julian Edelman. But 2018 seventh-round pick Danny Etling was the biggest story.
Here’s everything we noticed in Day 1 of training camp:
— Center David Andrews and defensive end Michael Bennett were the only unexpected absences on Day 1 of training camp. Rookie offensive lineman Yodny Cajuste, who is on the non-football injury list, and offensive lineman Cole Croston, who is on the physically unable to perform list, also were absent.
— Running back Sony Michel, safety Nate Ebner, wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, defensive end Deatrich Wise Jr. and cornerback Ken Webster, all of whom are on the PUP list, and wide receiver Julian Edelman (NFI) were present but not in pads or jerseys.
— Safety Patrick Chung wore a red non-contact jersey.
— Etling, who was drafted as a quarterback last year, shed his red non-contact jersey to work with skill-position players and on special teams. He mostly worked with wide receivers. He’s big, 6-foot-3, 222 pounds, but doesn’t appear to have the speed or quickness needed for the position. He was going to need to change positions in an attempt to make the Patriots’ roster after New England selected Jarrett Stidham in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft.
— Brandon Bolden, Phillip Dorsett, Braxton Berrios, Gunner Olszewski and Jonathan Jones were returning kicks.
— Jones, who’s competing for a starting job in the Patriots’ base nickel defense, was a standout in practice. He intercepted Brady during 2-on-2 drills in a target to wide receiver Braxton Berrios. He broke up another Brady pass to Berrios.
— Two undrafted wide receivers tend to catch everything thrown their way: Jakobi Meyers and Olszewski. Olszewski is a converted defensive back. He was particularly impressive in 2-on-2 drills.
— Brady was 9-of-11 in 4-on-4 drills, 12-of-15 with the interception in 2-on-2 drills and 8-of-11 in 11-on-11s. Brian Hoyer was 6-of-9 in 4-on-4s and 5-of-7 in 11-on-11s. Jarett Stidham was 3-of-5 in 11-on-11s.
— Cornerbacks JC Jackson and Keion Crossen had pass breakups in full-team drills.
— Left guard Joe Thuney spent the majority of practice at left tackle as Isaiah Wynn continued to sit out full-speed team drills. Ted Karras has been filling in at left guard whiles James Ferentz has been snapping the ball at center.