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monday's patriots training camp report

Monday’s Patriots training camp report: Defense has the last laugh

Bill Belichick oversees Monday's training camp session in Foxborough.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

The Patriots put it all on the line at the end Monday’s practice — the goal line, that is.

In a must-score situation — fourth down in tight on the final play of the session — the defense came up with the stop, which meant the entire offense and offensive coaches had to run a lap around the two practice fields.

Cam Newton’s inside slant to Nelson Agholor was just a bit off-target — though a case could have been made that defensive back Jalen Mills was a little too handsy in coverage. The offense certainly thought so. From this vantage point, it looked like clean defense.

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“Always good to see [the offense] run,” said linebacker Raekwon McMillan with a smile before he described the intensity of the play.

“Man, yeah, whenever you say, ‘Gotta have it!’ you think about 50,000-60,000 people in the stadium and it’s the last play of the game,” he said. “We’re either going to walk in that locker room happy or mad. That’s what I think about.’’

ROLL CALL

Not participating: QB Jarrett Stidham (PUP); TEs Devin Asiasi (COVID-19 reserve list) and Dalton Keene (PUP); OL Ted Karras; DTs Chase Winovich (PUP) and Byron Cowart (PUP); LBs Terez Hall (PUP) and Cameron McGrone (NFI); CB Stephon Gilmore (PUP); and S Joshuah Bledsoe (NFI).

Karras has been out since tweaking his left knee last week.

A number of players, including Gilmore, Winovich, and Cowart, worked out on the lower field.

INJURIES: DL Henry Anderson got tangled up setting the edge on a late-session pitch to James White and suffered an upper-body injury. He was checked out by the training staff, which appeared to be working on his chest and/or left shoulder.

Dont'a Hightower is back, one year after opting out because of COVID-19.Steven Senne/Associated Press

LB Dont’a Hightower was stretched out by the medical staff following the initial stretching and jogging session. He spent the first period on the stationary bike but participated fully from then on.

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DRESS CODE: Helmets and shells.

TOP PLAYS

▪ Isaiah Zuber’s 45-yardish touchdown pass from Mac Jones was among the best plays of the first five sessions. Zuber raced downfield and held his concentration to snag the ball between defenders Dee Virgin and D’Angelo Ross.

Isaiah Zuber had a big catch from Mac Jones during Monday's workout.John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

▪ Inside linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley showed some serious ups to snag a Cam Newton pass intended for Jakobi Meyers for his first interception of camp.

ODDS AND ENDS

▪ Meyers had a sizzling morning, catching six balls, including three in the final red zone sessions. He beat J.C. Jackson, Jonathan Jones, and Jalen Mills for those catches and looks supremely confident in the slot.

▪ McMillan had a pair of pass breakups as he continues to impress on defense and special teams coverage units.

▪ Punter Jake Bailey continues to make life miserable for the return men, pounding moon ball after moon ball.

▪ In a funny pre-practice scene, 6-foot-6-inch, 320-pound offensive lineman R.J. Prince and 6-1, 196-pound kicker Quinn Nordin, both wearing white No. 61 jerseys, bumped into one another and then hugged.

▪ Offensive lineman Alex Redmond ran the dreaded double lap after a false start. Nelson Agholor also took a penalty lap.

▪ Matthew Slater lost his balance trying to down a punt inside the 5-yard line and heard about it from his special teams brethren.

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▪ Adrian Colbert picked off Mac Jones during a half-speed team session.

Adrian Colbert notched a defensive highlight Monday with a pick of Mac Jones.John Tlumacki

▪ When the offense took its lap at the end of practice, assistant running backs coach Vinnie Sunseri and running back Damien Harris led the way before Sunseri separated himself to finish the jog first. Both are Alabama alums.

▪ Rhamondre Stevenson and Devin Ross each fumbled twice during the ball-security drill in which a defender jogs the length of the field trying to pry the piggy loose.

▪ Ronnie Perkins, Rashod Berry, Harvey Langi, Tashawn Bower, and Colbert would have recorded sacks had they been allowed to hit the quarterback.

▪ Newton gave a spectator a ball after scrambling in for a touchdown.

▪ Monday’s crowd was the smallest and quietest since camp opened and possibly in the last seven seasons on the beat.

UP NEXT

▪ Tuesday-Thursday: Practice, 9:45 a.m. (open to public)

▪ Friday: In-stadium practice, 6 p.m. (open to season ticket-holders and Foxborough residents).


Jim McBride can be reached at james.mcbride@globe.com. Follow him @globejimmcbride.