Patriots: 5 observations from day two of joint practices with the Panthers

The Patriots and Panthers held day two of joint practices today. The practices were once again marred by another fight that broke out early in the practice. Unfortunately the fight spilled into the crowd at one point and that is a bad look for both teams as far as I am concerned.

Enough about the fighting. There was plenty of stuff that happened on the field that we need to talk about.

Here are my five observations from today’s second joint practice.

1. Run game was much better: I thought the Patriots ran the football much better today. Damien Harris scored a red zone team period touchdown on an outside zone play while Rhamondre Stevenson scored on a toss. The offensive line did a good as well of getting into their blocks and getting a push. The running game has been much maligned but it was good today.

2. Defense not as dominant: The Patriots defense was not as dominant today as it was on Tuesday. Carolina ran the ball effectively and wide receiver D.J Moore was a problem both in red zone skelly and red zone team periods.

The Patriots were able to get consistent pressure on Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold which is good but the secondary struggled at times in group settings.

3. Marcus Jones impresses: The rookie cornerback has gotten progressively better as camp has gone on and today was perhaps his best practice yet. He did a great job maintaining body position in coverage all practice long. He also showed off his speed by jumping routes routinely and make plays on the ball. Jones made a ridiculous play in skelly on a ball he tipped and then intercepted.

The Patriots announced on Tuesday that Malcolm Butler and JoeJuan Willams are out for the season. That opens the door for a player like Jones to step up and play a bigger role. Judging by today, he is ready for the challenge.

4. Nelson Agholor impresses: Nelson Agholor had another terrific practice today. For all the people that want to run him out of town because he makes too much money, they should be forced to watch the end zone catch Agholor made today against triple coverage. The play was proof that the veteran receiver is not only talented but comfortable and poised for a bounce back season.

The Patriots have been using Agholor in the slot, at flanker and on the line. His alignment versatility coupled with his speed and hands make him a valuable player poised to have a good season.

5. Practice was a draw: I thought this practice was a draw. Both teams did some good things and both teams struggled at times.

Carolina was definitely better today, in all three phases.That was the difference. That doesn’t mean the Patriots had a bad practice but they were not as sharp as they were yesterday.