Patriots Practice Notes: How Cam Newton, Mac Jones Looked In OTAs

There were 25 players absent from practice


May 27, 2021

FOXBORO, Mass. — A somewhat surprising number of players were missing from the New England Patriots’ first spring practice open to the media.

The Patriots kicked off organized team activities on Monday, but reporters were first allowed on site Thursday. Overall, 25 players were not spotted for the unpadded practice.

— Here’s the full list of players absent from Thursday’s OTAs:

RB Brandon Bolden
RB Sony Michel
RB Rhamondre Stevenson
RB James White
WR Tre Nixon
TE Jonnu Smith
OT Trent Brown
OT Isaiah Wynn
DT Christian Barmore
DT Lawrence Guy
DT Byron Cowart
LB Terez Hall
LB Dont’a Hightower
LB Brandon King
LB Harvey Langi
LB LaRoy Reynolds
LB Kyle Van Noy
OLB Matt Judon
OLB Chase Winovich
CB Stephon Gilmore
CB JC Jackson
DB Myles Bryant
S Devin McCourty
S Adrian Phillips
K Nick Folk

— The Patriots typically have close to full attendance for offseason workouts. The NFL Players Association pressed its players to skip voluntary work this offseason.

— Among those players listed above, Nixon, Winovich, Hall, Bryant and Jackson were pictured at practice on the Patriots’ website Monday. It’s unclear why they did not practice Thursday.

— Linebackers Cameron McGrone and Anfernee Jennings and running back Damien Harris were present but didn’t participate. Safety Joshuah Bledsoe had his right arm in a sling and stayed on the sideline.

— Tight end Dalton Keene was a late arrival.

— Rookies wore numbers 50 through 61. No players had decals on their helmets.

— Ex-Patriots wide receiver Troy Brown, who was a running backs coach last season, spent more time with wide receivers and punt returners on Thursday.

— Retired Patriots football research director Ernie Adams was present for the session and spent significant time with head coach Bill Belichick. Former Patriots defensive coordinator and Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia, who’s back in a role with New England, also was in Belichick’s ear.

— Here’s how Patriots quarterbacks fared in 7-on-7s (in order):

Cam Newton: 4-of-4
Mac Jones: 2-of-3 (with a dropped pass by wide receiver Kristian Wilkerson)
Jarrett Stidham: 2-of-3
Brian Hoyer: 2-of-2

Hoyer completed a deep pass to wide receiver Nelson Agholor with cornerback Joejuan Williams in coverage. There wasn’t a lot to glean from the quarterbacks, but here’s how Newton and Jones looked in individual drills:

Jones certainly throws an accurate ball. Newton also looked improved in a small sample size from last season.

— The Patriots were extremely shallow at running back and linebacker. Only running backs J.J. Taylor and Tyler Gaffney and linebackers Ja’Whaun Bentley, Raekwon MacMillon and Josh Uche were participating. Gaffney caught four of the QBs’ 10 completions during 7-on-7 work.

— With Wynn and Brown absent, second-year pro Justin Herron and veteran Korey Cunningham saw extended work.

— The Patriots worked heavily on special teams Thursday. Taylor and wide receivers Gunner Olszewski and Jakobi Meyers caught punts.

Thumbnail photo via David Silverman/Patriots
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