FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Actual football has finally arrived. After a week of working out in shirts and shells, the pads came on to start the second week of Patriots training camp on Monday. Naturally, these more physical workouts give us a better look at how the 2022 squad is coming along as they more resemble what players will face in the preseason and eventually during the regular season.
Below, you’ll find all the highlights from Day 5 of Pats camp:
First full-padded practice
As we noted above, the physicality ramped up on Monday with the pads coming on. That was evident during the 1-on-1 pass rushing drills, Trent Brown had one of the standout plays for the offensive line as he was able to hold firm against Josh Uche, putting him to the ground on one rep. As for the defensive side, second-year lineman Christian Barmore made his presence felt against 2022 first-round pick Cole Strange as he had him moving backward during the session as well.
Tyquan Thornton working the deep ball
Second-round pick Tyquan Thornton had a couple of moments that stood out Monday that show the rookie is coming along. During 1-on-1 drills with wide receivers going against a defensive back, Thornton was able to haul in a deep shot from Mac Jones in the end zone with corner Joejuan Williams draped over him. Thornton was initially knocked off his route but was able to recover and burst down the sideline to make the leaping catch just before falling out of bounds.
It’s worth noting that Thornton was practicing with the first-team offense and received a decent amount of reps throughout the session.
One of the better back-and-forth battles on Monday came between corner Malcolm Butler and wideout DeVante Parker. The two were competitive immediately during 1-on-1 drills. Parker was able to get up and over Butler for a 40-yard catch from Bailey Zappe. Then, during 11-on-11s, Mac Jones moved up in the pocket to avoid pressure and uncorked a 50-yard pass to Parker, who’d beat Butler and score the touchdown.
While the Jones-Parker combo may have gotten the better of Butler on that play, the veteran corner did respond well. Later on during team drills, he had a pass breakup in the end zone against Parker and added another to his tally only while covering rookie Tyquan Thornton.
How the QBs fared
It was another up-and-down day for the quarterbacks. As has been the case throughout camp thus far, both Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe have been efficient during 7-on-7s, but have struggled to carry over that consistency when things ramp up during 11-on-11s. On the first play of the day in 11-on-11s, Isaiah Wynn committed a false start. The very next snap after that penalty, Jones dropped back to pass and targeted Tyquan Thornton, but the ball was picked off by corner Terrance Mitchell.
This was more of a run-heavy day for the offense, but Jones finished 5-of-8 in 11-on-11s and 5-of-6 in 7-on-7s. Meanwhile, Zappe was 5-of-9 in 11-on-11s and 5-of-6 on 7-on-7s. Zappe’s highlight of the day came in the form of a touchdown to tight end Devin Asiasi as he scrambled around in the pocket during 7-on-7s.
Jake Bailey inks new deal
Just before practice began, a report from ESPN surfaced that punter Jake Bailey had reached an agreement on a four-year contract with the Patriots that runs through the 2025 season. The $13.5 million contract also included $6.5 million guaranteed, which makes Bailey one of the NFL‘s highest-paid punters.
“I’m just so happy, blessed I get a few more years here,” Bailey said after practice.
“I was just on the phone with my agent and it was like ‘Alright, that’s it. We’re good with that,'” he continued when asked what it was like when he found out the deal was done. “It wasn’t like a crazy big moment, but it’s a huge milestone in my life, and just thankful God put me in this position.
Bailey was entering the final year of his rookie contract.
“Anytime there is uncertainty, you know, it’s something in the back of your head, but at our position, you just have to be able to compartmentalize and go out on the field and execute. If you’re not able to do that with whatever is distracting you, you’re not going to play for very long.”
The 25-year-old had a lofty $4.05 million salary cap charge for the year, but this new contract reportedly reduces his cap hit by roughly $1.85 million.
Monday’s first padded practice saw the return of a handful of players. The secondary, in particular, got a boost as cornerbacks Myles Bryant and Jonathan Jones, along with safety Jabrill Peppers all returned from the PUP/NFI list.
Meanwhile, quarterback Brian Hoyer (undisclosed) missed his third consecutive practice, and pass rusher Deatrich Wise also did not participate. Running back James White (PUP list) along with guards Chasen Hines (NFI list) and Andrew Stueber (NFI list) were also sidelined.