FOXBOROUGH — The Patriots celebrated their heroes of the past and reached out to the fans on Monday. First, the team inducted Tedy Bruschi and Gil Santos into the Patriots Hall of Fame, then it held a 2½-hour practice under the lights at Gillette Stadium for 20,543 season ticket-holders and Foxborough/Walpole residents.
The practice was either a sloppy day for the offense or a great day for the defense. The team focused on one-on-one drills for receivers and cornerbacks, both in coverage and in open-field tackling. The linemen didn’t do much in terms of one-on-one, but there was full contact in seven-on-seven and 11-on-11 drills.
With that, let’s get to the practice report:
Physically unable to perform: Rob 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.
Missing: RB Brandon Bolden was nowhere to be found. DL Cory Grissom (undisclosed) was once again missing. Armstead had surgery to clear out an unspecified infection and his return is unknown. G Dan Connolly sat out practice again for the second straight day.
The Patriots appeared to avoid any significant injury Monday, although Bolden’s absence was unexpected.
Full pads (including knee and thigh pads).
■ WR Matthew Slater made a beautiful diving catch over the middle on a square-in from Tim Tebow.
■ Alfonzo Dennard made a great play to break up a slant pass from Tom Brady intended for Aaron Dobson.
■ Dobson got the better of Aqib Talib and made a great one-handed catch over the middle on a pass from Brady.
■ Danny Amendola made a great catch in traffic against Talib on a back-shoulder throw from Brady.
■ Brady threw an absolute laser to TE Daniel Fells over the seam that would have gone for a 55-yard TD.
CB Logan Ryan: Rookie third-rounder started off camp slowly but made several nice plays on the ball in one-on-one drills Monday.
Dobson: Other than Amendola, he has been the most consistent receiver and is always open by 2-3 yards.
LB Jamie Collins: Rookie second-rounder continues to get work with the first unit at a variety of roles.
WR Kenbrell Thompkins: Rookie created a lot of buzz the first few days and has been running with the first unit, but he had three bad drops and muffed a punt Monday.
LB Jerod Mayo: Got burned badly in coverage by Fells, who isn’t exactly the swiftest tight end.
RB Stevan Ridley: Took more of a back seat to Shane Vereen Monday after fumbling twice Sunday.
Tebow threw a real pretty slant pass over the middle to Quentin Sims, but he overthrew a wide-open Lavelle Hawkins by 5 yards on a deep pass. Fans also chided Tebow when he skipped a pass while throwing on the run. Tebow once again participated in the tackling drill, which as Josh McDaniels explained, is a drill for any player who might have the ball in his hands at some point. Tebow also worked as the punt protector a handful of times, a role he played unsuccessfully last season with the Jets. After practice, Tebow signed autographs for about 45 minutes. The entire team signed, but Tebow continues to go above and beyond in this regard.
ODDS AND ENDS
■ Brady was picked off twice in practice, both times by Talib. His second one was Brady’s final pass of the day, and was returned for a touchdown.
■ Pretty ugly day for Ryan Mallett and second-team offense. In an 11-on-11 hurry-up drill, Mallett went 0 for 3 passing with a couple of drops and a really bad underthrow on a deep fade. In another team drill, Hawkins dropped a pass, and Mallett had one pass swatted down by a tennis racket held by a coach at the line.
■ Will Svitek once again took some snaps at right tackle in Sebastian Vollmer’s spot, in case the Patriots need to shuffle the offensive line this season.
■ The second-team offensive line once again (L to R): Kevin Haslam, Markus Zusevics, Josh Kline, Tyrone Green, R.J. Mattes. Marcus Cannon continues to get work at right guard with the first unit.
■ WR Kamar Aiken played mostly with the first unit on the first day of practice, but Thompkins appears to have leap-frogged him for now, often paired with Dobson and Amendola. But that may change after a sloppy practice by Thompkins.
■ The Patriots’ top three CBs — Dennard, Talib, and Kyle Arrington — were solid in coverage all night and have had great camps thus far.
■ The crowd gave a big cheer when Leon Washington returned a punt for a touchdown. His abilities as a kick returner could make WR Julian Edelman, out with a foot injury, expendable.
Tuesday’s practice: 2-4:15 p.m.
Thursday: TBDBen Volin can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @BenVolin