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Friday’s Patriots practice report: Game-like situations introduced, but nothing at full speed

Punter Jake Bailey (7) loosens up prior to the opening kickoff to Friday's practice at Gillette Stadium.Barry Chin/Globe Staff

FOXBOROUGH — No need to fret over those reports that the Patriots looked like they were stuck in slow motion during their in-stadium practice Friday night at Gillette.

They were doing it on purpose.

Bill Belichick held a simulated game on the eighth day of training camp as he introduced more game-like situations, much to the delight of the crowd of season ticket-holders and Foxborough residents.

Belichick and Matt Patricia monitored things on the field from about 20 yards behind the line of scrimmage (alternating between the offense and defense). Plenty of notes were taken.

While things seemed basic enough, David Andrews said these sessions have a lot of value.


“Working with different people and different situations. You can kind of hit on a lot of different things,’’ the center said. “Obviously, it’s not a huge physical practice, but a lot of different situations where you’ve really got to think with the defense kind of challenging us and doing some different looks maybe here or there. So, you just have to think really about the rules.’’

Andrews said he was also happy to have the fans back.

“I think it’s really exciting to have some people back in the stands and feel that energy,’’ he said. “That’s not the only reason you play the game but it’s definitely part of the reason. The energy and the crowd makes it all fun. We’re excited.”

Gunner Olszewski pulls in a pass inside Gillette Stadium on Friday.Barry Chin/Globe Staff


Not participating: QB Jarrett Stidham (PUP); TEs Devin Asiasi (COVID-19 reserve list) and Dalton Keene (PUP); RB Brandon Bolden; WR Devin Ross; OL Ted Karras; DLs Christian Barmore, Akeem Spence, Chase Winovich (PUP) and Byron Cowart (PUP); LBs Raekwon McMillan, Terez Hall (PUP) and Cameron McGrone (non-football injury list), CB Stephon Gilmore (PUP) and D’Angelo Ross; and safeties Adrian Colbert and Joshuah Bledsoe (NFI); K Nick Folk.


This was Colbert’s first missed practice after leaving Thursday’s session early for an undisclosed reason.

It was Bolden’s first missed practice of camp, while Davis returned after missing one day.

Barmore, Spence, Cowart, Karras, Folk, and Keene watched from the sideline.


DRESS CODE: Helmets and sweats.


It would be foolish to draw any conclusions based on this exercise as only phantom defense was played. Both Cam Newton (white team) and Mac Jones (blue team) completed a great majority of their passes, which is to be expected when defensive backs and linebackers let pass catchers run free. It was entertaining for the fans, however, who appreciated the accuracy and deep shots.

Cam Newton interacts with the fans at the start of Friday's practice.Barry Chin/Globe Staff


It appeared as though Josh McDaniels (offense) and Jerod Mayo (defense) ran things for the blue squad. It was unclear who was calling the shots for the white, though Bo Hardegree (offense) and DeMarcus Covington (defense) were animated at times on the sideline.

Quinn Nordin went through an extensive pregame session with long snapper Joe Cardona and holder Jake Bailey as the rookie kicker got his first taste of kicking in the stadium.

Team White even tried to freeze Nordin on one PAT — Slater jumped up and called timeout — but he nailed it anyway.

Tough to pick a player of the day in a simulated game but it would be Nordin, who hit all 10 of his kicks (nine field goals and a PAT). He blasted field goals of 55 and 57 yards with plenty of room to spare. “I couldn’t tell you the first thing about kicking a football, but he did a good job,’’ said Andrews.


J.C. Jackson wasn’t always on board with the no defense policy as the cornerback had an interception and a pass breakup.

The assistant coaches set up the pregame warm-ups just as they would a regular game.

The blue captains (Andrews, Lawrence Guy, and Ja’Whaun Bentley) met the white captains ( Slater, Devin McCourty) at midfield before the kickoff.

Korey Cunningham (74), Mike Onwenu (71), Damien Harris (37), and David Andrews (60) all took part in Friday's practice for the fans at Gillette.Barry Chin/Globe Staff

Staffers served as officials and dressed the part. Only one flag was dropped.

Robert Kraft took in the action from the sideline and addressed the crowd during the simulated halftime. “You’re the backbone of this,’’ he told the fans. “Let’s have a great season and thank you for your support.’’

Song of the night: “Welcome back” by Mase. Somewhere, the Sweathogs were smiling.


Saturday: No practice.

Sunday, Monday, Tuesday: Afternoon practices, 3 p.m.

Wednesday: Off.

Thursday: vs. Washington, 7:30 p.m.

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