Three Studs, Three Duds From First Patriots-Panthers Joint Practice

It was a busy, intense day in Foxboro


August 16

FOXBORO, Mass. — We typically reserve our “three studs, three duds” column for gameday, but Tuesday’s joint practice between the Patriots and Panthers warrants busting it out early.

Carolina and New England got after it, engaging in multiple fights — leading to five ejections — and participating in a slew of competitive team drills. It was a needed ramp-up in intensity following a relatively mild few weeks of Patriots training camp.

Overall, defense ruled the day for both teams, though the offenses had their moments, too. In particular, the much-maligned Patriots offense enjoyed their best practice since the first day of camp.

Here are three players who did especially well for New England, along with three who stood out for the wrong reasons:

CB Jalen Mills
Mills has been very good throughout camp, but Tuesday might’ve been his best performance yet. He registered three pass breakups, including one in the end zone. Mills also spent much of the day matched up against D.J. Moore, one of the best receivers in the NFL. Bill Belichick might not want to admit it, but Mills clearly is New England’s No. 1 cornerback.

WR DeVante Parker
This might’ve been Parker’s best day, too — and that’s saying a lot. The veteran receiver was a force all morning and made the play of the day, a deep sideline catch with Mac Jones at quarterback. It seems like he comes down with every contested ball unless the defender commits a penalty. We had Parker for five catches on seven targets Tuesday.

LB Matthew Judon
We could’ve gone with Deatrich Wise here, but Judon ultimately gets the nod. He was absolutely dominant, finishing with two sacks and one run stuff that looked like a 5-yard loss. Judon also brought plenty of energy and was praised by Wise for his role in calming things down after the fights.

Honorable mentions: Deatrich Wise, Jakobi Meyers, Trent Brown, Marcus Jones, Davon Godchaux, Ty Montgomery

WR Kendrick Bourne
Bourne’s strange, disappointing camp continues. He caught two balls, but there’s no excuse for throwing haymakers at players in helmets — especially when you’re one of the team’s top receivers. The last thing the Patriots’ offense needs is Bourne suffering a broken hand. Between his actions today and his quiet, clearly frustrating camp thus far, Bourne has been a tough player to read during the summer.

TE Devin Asiasi
Asiasi got extended run with the first-team offense after Hunter Henry left with an injury. He wasn’t bad, as he caught four balls on four targets, but the third-year tight end did have an ugly fumble during a 7-on-7 period. Asiasi overall has had a decent camp, but he’s dealt with some drops and, now, a fumble against the Panthers. He can’t afford those kinds of mistakes given his tenuous position on the Patriots roster.

OG Cole Strange
Almost talked ourselves out of this one, but Strange had a tough first joint practice. He was uneven during 1-on-1 drills and gave up at least one sack during competitive periods. New England’s first-round pick also was flagged for a hold. Strange has developed a habit of bouncing back after tough practices, so maybe he’ll do the same Wednesday.

Honorable mentions: Ronnie Perkins, Jonnu Smith, Josh Uche’s coverage of New England Patriots preseason is presented by Cross Insurance, protecting your team since 1954.

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