FOXBORO, Mass. — After holding a closed organized team activity Monday, the New England Patriots reopened their doors to reporters Tuesday morning, practicing in front of the media for the second time this spring.

Here’s everything we observed at the team’s second of three open OTAs:

Helmets and shorts.

The following players were absent from the voluntary practice:

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WR JuJu Smith-Schuster
WR Tyquan Thornton
WR Kendrick Bourne
OLB Matthew Judon
OT Trent Brown
OT Conor McDermott
G Mike Onwenu
DT Lawrence Guy
K Nick Folk
P Bryce Baringer

Thornton, Bourne, McDermott and Baringer were new absences. Rookie cornerbacks Christian Gonzalez and Isaiah Bolden, defensive tackles Christian Barmore and Davon Godchaux, and long snapper Joe Cardona all were present and participating after missing last Wednesday’s open OTA.

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These players were in attendance Tuesday but did not participate:

WR DeVante Parker
RB James Robinson
S Adrian Phillips
ST Cody Davis
OL Chasen Hines

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Cornerback/return man Marcus Jones and tight end Scotty Washington were limited, retiring to a side rehab field after warmups. Rookie linebacker Marte Mapu continued to practice in a red non-contact jersey, and running back/wide receiver Ty Montgomery mostly observed.

As you can gather from those lists — which feature New England’s projected top four receiver — the Patriots were seriously shorthanded at one important position. Their only available wideouts were Kayshon Boutte, Demario Douglas, Tre Nixon, Raleigh Webb, Malik Cunningham and newcomer Ed Lee, an undrafted rookie out of Rhode Island who signed Monday. That group has combined to play a total of one regular-season offensive snap at the NFL level (by Webb, a special teamer, last season).

Mac Jones again was the clear QB1 for New England, leading every drill and taking the vast majority of snaps with the first-team offense. He was an efficienct 7-for-8 in competitive 11-on-11s, with safety Jabrill Peppers forcing his lone incompletion with a diving pass breakup.

Backup Bailey Zappe saw more reps than Jones (9-for-13 in 11s) but repped with the offensive reserves. Three of his incompletions came on a batted pass by Christian Barmore, a drop by Cunningham and a deep ball to tight end Matt Sokol that featured blatant defensive pass interference by Bolden.

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Third-stringer Trace McSorley went 4-for-6 in limited 11-on-11 action. There were no 7-on-7 periods in this practice.

— Bill Belichick said before practice that the Patriots would “tempo things down” in this session after a “big day” Monday in which they “ran a lot of plays.” This practice featured fewer competitive periods than the one reporters attended last Wednesday, and several big names sat out.

— Will Gonzalez be a Day 1 starter? Things seem to be trending that way.

After missing the Patriots’ first open practice last week, New England’s top 2023 draft pick repped with the top defensive unit Tuesday, lining up opposite Jonathan Jones in the first 11-on-11 period. Jack Jones repped with the twos to start, though he later replaced Jonathan Jones and worked opposite Gonzalez for several drills later in practice.

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There’s obviously a long way to go before Week 1, and it’s far too early to predict exactly what the Patriots’ starting lineup will look like. But it’s clear they view the highly touted Oregon product as someone who can immediately contribute at cornerback.

The early word on Gonzalez, according to his teammates: tall, athletic, fluid and soft-spoken.

“It’s pretty effortless just the way he does everything,” safety Kyle Dugger said after practice.

— Jalen Mills started in the slot with the first-team defense and later repped at free safety, as well. After playing almost exclusively as an outside cornerback in his first two Patriots seasons, Mills said after practice he’s excited to take on a more versatile role. He’s one of several candidates to replace the retired Devin McCourty, who’s helped advise Mills during his position change. That list also includes Dugger, Phillips, Peppers, Joshuah Bledsoe and a new entrant in that roster battle, Mapu.

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The third-round rookie played linebacker in last week’s open practice, but he saw action at free safety on Tuesday, showcasing the multipositional ability that made him an FCS standout at Sacramento State. Mapu showed off impressive closing speed when he chased down running back Pierre Strong on a swing pass.

— Tight end Mike Gesicki led all pass-catchers with three receptions, including two from Mac Jones. Tight ends Hunter Henry, Anthony Firkser and Matt Sokol, running backs Rhamondre Stevenson, Pierre Strong and Kevin Harris, and Douglas all caught two passes each, with Nixon, Lee and Boutte adding one apiece. Nixon was the only wideout to catch a pass from Jones in competitive drills.

We’ve seen Henry and Gesicki on the field together a lot this spring. While it’s hard to project what the Patriots’ offense will look like when all of their pass-catchers are healthy and available, two-tight end looks seem like they’ll be a staple of Bill O’Brien’s scheme.

— The Patriots’ four rookie wideouts (Boutte, Douglas, Lee and Cunningham, a converted quarterback) ran routes and caught passes from Jones, Zappe and McSorley for more than 20 minutes after practice concluded. Jones then put in another five or 10 minutes of individual work before exiting toward the locker room. He was the second-to-last player to leave the field, outlasted only by defensive end Deatrich Wise, who went back to practice on a blocking sled after speaking with reporters.

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— A brief scuffle broke out during 11-on-11 drills, with Cole Strange and Anfernee Jennings engaging in some post-whistle shoving. During that scrum, Barmore appeared to throw a punch at the back of Strange’s head, prompting David Andrews to get in the defensive tackle’s face.

No players were ejected, but Strange — who was at the center of multiple dustups last spring and summer — seemingly was disciplined. He did not take another rep, watching the rest of practice from behind the offense. Barmore also was held out of the ensuing drills.

— Fifth-round rookie Atonio Mafi replaced Strange at left guard after the latter’s removal. Mafi, a bruising, big-bodied former rugby player who played for the Patriots’ coaching staff at the East-West Shrine Bowl, also took reps at right guard earlier in practice, rotating for Bill Murray. That’ll be Onwenu’s spot once he’s healthy, but Mafi should be squarely in the mix for one of the top interior reserve spots.

— Montgomery is yoked.

— Boutte, who was limited in last Wednesday’s practice, caught an earful from offensive coordinator O’Brien for lining up incorrectly during an unopposed offensive drill early in practice.

— Notable guests in attendance included ex-Patriots Patrick Chung, LeGarrette Blount and Aaron Dobson, former running backs coach Ivan Fears and former director of football research Ernie Adams. Coaches from several college programs, including Cincinnati, also were on hand to watch practice.

The Patriots’ final two OTAs are scheduled for this Thursday and Friday. Friday’s practice will be open to the media. New England then will hold its three-day mandatory minicamp next Monday to Wednesday before breaking for the summer.

Featured image via Zack Cox/NESN