FOXBOROUGH — The weather was much more cooperative for the second day of Patriots training camp, with practice under clear blue skies and temperatures in the mid-70s. Not coincidentally, the second day was much sharper than the first, which was held in rain. Rob Gronkowski made an appearance, watching from the sideline, and Tim Tebow spent a good 20 minutes after practice working on his throws with a coach and wide receiver.
With that, let’s get to the practice report:
Physically unable to perform: Gronkowski (back); WR Julian Edelman (foot); WR Mark Harrison (foot); OL Nick McDonald (undisclosed); DE Armond Armstead (non-football illness).
Red jersey: S Devin McCourty.
Returning to action: WR Kenbrell Thompkins.
Missing: DL Cory Grissom.
The Patriots appeared to emerge with none.
Shells. Sunday’s practice will be the first in full pads.
■ WR Michael Jenkins made a beautiful leaping catch over the middle against S Adrian Wilson on a pass from Ryan Mallett.
■ Mallett threw a deep pass that bounced off S Tavon Wilson’s hands, and WR Josh Boyce snatched the deflection for an 80-yard touchdown.
■ TE Daniel Fells made a beautiful fingertip grab on a square-in pass over the middle from Tom Brady.
■ Rookie WR Aaron Dobson drew big cheers from the crowd after making a leaping sideline catch over Aqib Talib and tapping his toes inbounds.
■ Thompkins also made a beautiful catch in traffic over CB Logan Ryan on a deep pass up the left sideline from Brady.
Dobson: Rookie second-rounder caught pretty much everything thrown his way, including a few impressive catches in traffic.
DL Justin Francis: Undrafted rookie got a little work with the first team.
CB Alfonzo Dennard: Still in the starting lineup despite recent DUI arrest, and made several impressive plays, including an interception of Mallett on a deep ball.
G Dan Connolly: Three-year starter appears to have fallen behind Marcus Cannon on the depth chart, at least initially.
Wilson: Got toasted deep a few times.
Tebow: Pretty horrible day throwing the ball. See below.
It’s no secret that Tebow isn’t the best practice player or seven-on-seven passer, and his deficiencies were on full display.
In one drill, two of his three passes were swatted down by racquets used at the line of scrimmage. He badly skipped a few throws in the dirt in other drills, at one point drew sarcastic cheers from the crowd. In 11-on-11 drills, he held on to the ball for 10-12 seconds before finally scrambling out of the pocket.
To his credit, Tebow threw a really nice deep ball to Lavelle Hawkins down the left sideline. Tebow spent 20 minutes working with a coach after practice, then snuck out the back entrance away from media and straggling fans.
ODDS AND ENDS
■ Thompkins, an undrafted rookie, took some reps with the first unit alongside Danny Amendola and Dobson. Kamar Aiken, who played mostly with the first unit on Friday, played mostly with the second unit on Saturday alongside Michael Jenkins, Josh Boyce, and others.
■ Brady, ever the perfectionist, emitted a primal scream after overthrowing a wide-open Matthew Slater on a deep pass.
■ Steve Gregory continued to take a few repetitions with the first unit at safety alongside Devin McCourty, while Dennard, Talib, and Kyle Arrington mostly worked with the first team at cornerback.
■ Rookie second-rounder Jamie Collins is being thrown right into the fire, getting work with the first unit at several positions, but mostly linebacker. Collins, who arrived at Southern Mississippi as a safety, could end up being the Patriots’ nickel linebacker used in pass coverage, even though he finished college as a pass rusher.
■ Cannon appears to have supplanted Connolly at right guard, at least for now. The rest of the offensive line is what you’d expect (L to R): Nate Solder, Logan Mankins, Ryan Wendell, and Sebastian Vollmer.
■ Punt returners: Leon Washington, Boyce, Hawkins, Amendola.
■ DT Tommy Kelly worked at several positions across the defensive line.
Sunday’s practice: 9-11:30 a.m. (full pads).
Monday’s practice (in stadium, season ticket-holders only): 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Tuesday’s practice: 1:30-4 p.m.
Wednesday: Off.Ben Volin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @BenVolin