FOXBORO, Mass. — Emptying the notebook on everything we observed at the New England Patriots’ second training camp practice, which took place Thursday morning outside Gillette Stadium:

Helmets and shorts. Fully padded practices are not allowed during the first week of training camp.

Head coach Bill Belichick said the Patriots essentially are “still on OTAs” in terms of practice setup, since the rules governing what they can and can’t do are the same as they were in the spring.

The same three players who missed Wednesday’s practice were absent again Thursday: guard Mike Onwenu, special teamer Cody Davis and offensive tackle Calvin Anderson.

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Onwenu and Davis are on the physically unable to perform list. Anderson is on the non-football illness list. Davis watched practice in workout clothes with a sleeve on his leg.

Outside linebacker Matthew Judon, running back Rhamondre Stevenson and defensive lineman DaMarcus Mitchell were limited participants. Judon and Mitchell have yet to take part in team drills.

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Mac Jones: 0-for-4 in 7-on-7s; 6-for-10, INT in 11-on-11s

Bailey Zappe: 3-for-4; 5-for-10

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Trace McSorley: 0-for-2; 3-for-5

Jones opened competitive drills with an ugly round of 7-on-7s, with four straight passes into the corner of the end zone falling incomplete. (DeVante Parker caught one over Marcus Jones but couldn’t get both feet down in bounds against the 5-foot-8 cornerback’s tight coverage.) The Patriots appeared to be repping one specific concept during that series, and the timing between Jones and his receivers wasn’t there.

Zappe, who’s worked exclusively with offensive reserves through two days of camp, hit Matt Sokol for a contested touchdown over Jalen Mills in the same period and had two completions to Kayshon Boutte and Kevin Harris.

Jones’ effectiveness improved in 11s. He fired a good ball to Parker for a touchdown on his first rep and later hooked up with JuJu Smith-Schuster on a pair of scores. His day ended inauspiciously, however, when he tried to throw across his body after rolling to his right on his final competitive rep of practice. His pass went straight to safety Kyle Dugger, who grabbed his second interception of camp. Dugger also picked off Jones’ first pass in Wednesday’s practice.

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McSorley was consistently inaccurate. The third-stringer has not been impressive since signing with the Patriots in March.

— The defense has outplayed the offense in both camp practices thus far, but it’s important to take the structure of those sessions into account. The Patriots placed a heavy emphasis on red-zone work on Days 1 and 2, with every competitive rep taking place inside the 20-yard line and most occurring inside the 10.

When players aren’t wearing pads and nearly every play is a pass play, the defense has a clear advantage in that setting, as receivers have much less room to operate and passing windows are tighter.

In short: Wait until the Patriots open things up before making any judgments about Bill O’Brien’s new offense. The red-zone issues will need to be ironed out before the season starts, though. New England converted red-zone visits into touchdowns at the lowest rate in the NFL in 2022.

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— Pass-blocking without pads is difficult, but New England’s pass rushers have spent a lot of time in the backfield this week. Jones and Zappe each had at least one play blown up by a “sack,” and blitzing safety Jabrill Peppers quickly got to Jones on his touchdown pass to Parker.

Peppers, about whom Belichick raved this spring, also had a would-be quarterback takedown in Wednesday’s practice. He looks poised to play a much larger role in New England’s defense after a solid debut season in Foxboro.

— Linebacker Jahlani Tavai broke up a pass for the second straight practice and also had a sack.

— Gonzalez, New England’s promising first-round draft pick, looks poised for a starting role at cornerback. On Thursday, he was joined on the first-team defense by Marcus Jones, who slotted in as the other outside corner. Jonathan Jones, who filled that spot on Day 1, saw action in the slot and at safety.

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Mac Jones went at Gonzalez in the opening minutes of full-team drills. He broke up a pass to Smith-Schuster in the end zone but allowed touchdowns to Parker and Smith-Schuster. Marcus Jones was in coverage on Smith-Schuster’s other score.

Marcus Jones’ small stature seemingly makes him a better fit for the slot — he had issues against taller receivers last season, most notably Cincinnati’s Tee Higgins — but the Patriots haven’t been shy about deploying him on the perimeter.

Jack Jones again ran with the reserves and had a productive day in coverage, breaking up a pair of Zappe passes intended for Demario Douglas and Jalen Hurd. Jones’ ongoing legal situation — he’s due back in court on Aug. 18 after his June arrest on gun charges — has not impacted his participation level in camp.

Expect some mixing and matching in the secondary over the course of training camp as the Patriots experiment with different combinations. They’re deep at both corner (assuming Jack Jones is not suspended) and safety and have a host of defensive backs who can play multiple positions.

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— Rookie edge rusher Keion White got some looks with the defensive regulars. He’s a big, fast, versatile player who will be exciting to watch once the pads come on.

— Through two days of camp, the Patriots have a clear and unsurprising top four at receiver: Smith-Schuster, Parker, Kendrick Bourne and Tyquan Thornton.

Smith-Schuster has been the busiest of the bunch thus far, seeing six targets from Jones in competitive drills and catching three of them. Jones targeted the marquee free agent addition with four of his 10 throws in 11-on-11s on Thursday (two completions), plus another in 7s (incomplete).

Parker has seen two targets (one catch), and Bourne and Thornton have one apiece, both of which came on Day 1 and resulted in incompletions.

It’s early, but Douglas looks like he has a healthy lead over the other fringe wideouts for the WR5 spot. He’s the only roster-hopeful receiver who’s gotten work with the top offense, though most of his competitive reps have come with Zappe behind center.

— During one kickoff period, Smith-Schuster, Parker, Bourne and Thornton worked alone with the Patriots’ three QBs on two-man red-zone passing concepts, with assistant coaches standing in for defensive players.

— Smith-Schuster dropped a pass during a non-competitive team period against the scout-team. Boutte and Raleigh Webb also had drops during a concentration drill that featured receivers coach Troy Brown swinging a pad at receivers as they caught quick hitches.

— Tight end Hunter Henry has been Jones’ most productive target so far, catching four of six passes through two days. He and Mike Gesicki frequently have shared the field in two-tight end sets, which O’Brien’s offense is expected to heavily emphasize.

— Sokol, one of four players competing for a roster spot as the third tight end, was one of the top performers on Day 2. In addition to his touchdown against Mills, he also made a diving catch with Joshuah Bledsoe in coverage. Both passes came from Zappe.

— With Stevenson sitting out team drills, the Patriots’ reserve running backs all had opportunities to work in with the first-team offense.

Pierre Strong caught his lone target from Jones, and J.J. Taylor looked smooth as a receiver on a handful of throws from Zappe and McSorley, including a touchdown catch from the latter against linebacker Olakunle Fatukasi.

Ty Montgomery, who’s lined up at receiver and in the backfield this week, was slow to get up after colliding with linebacker Terez Hall while trying to haul in an errant McSorley pass. He returned to the field for the next period but did not appear to finish practice. His status will be worth monitoring, especially since he’s coming off an injury that wiped out nearly all of his 2022 season.

Even if the versatile Montgomery is fine, the Patriots would benefit from the addition of another veteran running back to complement Stevenson. Director of player personnel Matt Groh had high praise for Dalvin Cook on Wednesday, and ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported the Patriots have spoken with the free agent back “about setting up a possible visit.”

— The Patriots opened practice with a lengthy conditioning period, with all non-linemen running a series of 50-yard sprints followed by a corner acceleration drill and a slalom through a series of poles jammed into the practice field nearest to the fan bleachers.

Belichick closely watched all of these workouts.

— Montgomery, Dugger, Marcus Jones and seventh-round rookie Isaiah Bolden took turns returning kicks.

— Undrafted rookie Jourdan Heilig has been on the Matthew Slater plan since the start of spring practice, running through specially tailored kicking-game drills while the rest of the team worked on offense or defense.

On Thursday, Heilig and Slater were joined by cornerback Ameer Speed, a sixth-round rookie who was best known for his special teams work in college. Speed’s best path to a roster spot is as a gunner and kick-coverage player, so his inclusion in that select group was notable.

The Patriots will practice again Friday before enjoying their first off-day of camp on Saturday. They’re then scheduled to practice five straight days from Sunday through next Thursday.

Featured image via Eric Canha/USA TODAY Sports Images