Patriots: Sights, sounds & thoughts from Day 7 of training camp

We’re officially a week into the 2022 season and few questions have been answered.

Wednesday’s practice was probably the lightest one so far, with any drills or team periods being ran anywhere between 50-75% speed. Still, a few things stood out as we head towards the first preseason game a week from Thursday…

-Seven for seven. Terrance Mitchell kept the clean sheet going for arrivals as he was the first guy out yet again.

-Marcus Jones and Tre Nixon were on the field early receiving some punts with Troy Brown near by. I will say this every single day until I’m blue, but the Patriots absolutely need contributions in the return game this year if they’re going to be successful.

-The Cathedral team from Boston was on hand to watch practice, wearing black and green shirts while sitting in the vip area next to the media tent on the hill. I’m actually surprised more teams haven’t made it a bonding experience this close to the season starting.

-Cathedral cheered wildly for Kendrick Bourne as he made his way out and he did the arms-waving-up-and-down motion to get the guys even more fired up. Bourne and Damien Harris continue to provide the early and consistent energy every practice.

-During the initial light positional drill work DaMarcus Mitchell (DL) had to run arguably the earliest lap in camp history.

-The crowd was bigger and louder than the one on Tuesday and brought more energy as well, even in the ridiculous heat. The Pats also went with no pads.

-One’s v. two’s in half-speed 11-on-11 work started at 10:06. Nothing too crazy. Jonnu had a nice catch from Mac on a seam route, Damien Harris was back to finishing off full-field runs after a nice backside cut and Nelson Agholor had a nice catch on a slant.

-Nixon, Jones and Myles Bryant all stood back for punt return work and we finally got some more Bailey bomb hang time tracking from 10:10:13-10:22. I believe the best recorded was 5.25 seconds as far as hang time.

-Slowed down run game work (walk through speed) for the next few minutes. Felt like more of a coaching period than anything else as the O-line continues to struggle.

-At 10:30 another 11-on-11 session started and Bailey Zappe was almost instantly “sacked” by Davon Godchaux on one of the first snaps.

-Jalen Mills came up with an interception on a double-pass and it was actually pretty impressive as he high-pointed the throw.

-The two’s continued to get a lot of reps on Wednesday, most likely because once joint practices roll around Mac will be shouldering the load. Mac and Mack Wilson shared a few dance moves and a laugh towards the end of the period.

-7-on7 started up for a bit at 10:37 and lasted about 10 minutes. Zappe again took a lot of the reps, and Mac was side-by-side with Bill Belichick for a bit chatting while the O-line continued to allow free rushers, forcing Zappe to throw a pass away. Tough look in 7-on-7.

-Robert Kraft was on hand but left around this time, just as Arlington Hambright (OL) had to run a lap.

-Kristian Wilkerson had a nice day on Wednesday, hauling in a few grabs in various periods, his speed felt more evident than it has in a while.

-Highlighting the frustration within the offense, Mac completed a short pass in one of the final reps of 7-on-7, but threw his hands up in disgust as it took quite a while for anyone to get open.

-It was back to a slow-paced 11-on-11 period at 10:47 with music cranking. Damien Harris made a nice one-handed lunging grab and Wilkerson made a nice grab underneath, but that was about it. Pressure from Godchaux forced a dump off from Mac, Matt Judon IMMEDIATELY started jamming out to “this is how we do it” and Justin Herron had to run a lap.

-Mitchell picked off Mac in the latter part of the period as Nick Folk booted field goals into and over the media tent. Folk’s young kids went and retrieved the balls and sprinted back to dad with them each time for a good laugh.

-Wilkerson’s best play of the day was a leaping grab over Shaun Wade in coverage that drew the biggest reaction from the crowd.

-Some light Red Zone work wasn’t pretty. Routes weren’t crisp and guys were ultimately carrying their defenders into other receivers, causing clusters in the end zone. JJ Taylor had a short rushing TD and did a somersault into the end zone in one of the final reps for a bit of entertainment.

-Downing punts inside the five was a point of emphasis in the final five minutes or so of practice, fun to watch when Bailey is showing off the boot and his ability to place it wherever he wants almost every time.

Simply put, Thursday should be much more telling than Wednesday was. The offense probably needed a bit of a “slow down” period so this was more about coaching and getting in reps without the pads on. With the temperature rising and another glorified walkthrough practice coming up on Friday night, Thursday should be another physical, important day.

As always, keep checking out for all things New England Football.