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patriots training camp report

Patriots training camp report: Dialing it back on a clean-up day

Mac Jones and his mates were back in shorts and shells after a couple of days of full-pads practice.John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

FOXBOROUGH — After two days in pads, the Patriots dialed it back Wednesday, sporting shorts and shells in a lighter practice.

Coach Bill Belichick said the team wanted to “try to clean up a few things,” from communication to technique to specific adjustments. The offense struggled through the first two days of padded practice, so Wednesday’s session focused heavily on making corrections.

Even the 11-on-11 portion of practice, typically an extremely competitive part of the day, featured a lower intensity and slower pace.

With 95-degree temperatures in the forecast for Thursday and Friday, the weather may be a factor in upcoming practices.

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ROLL CALL

Not participating: S Jabrill Peppers, RB James White (PUP), TE Dalton Keene (undisclosed), and OL Chasen Hines and Andrew Stueber (non-football injury).

Peppers, who is recovering from a torn ACL, was activated off the PUP list Monday.

QB Brian Hoyer, who had missed four straight practices, returned in a limited capacity. He joined S Devin McCourty, CB Malcolm Butler, DE Deatrich Wise, and WR Lil’Jordan Humphrey on the lower field.

RBs Rhamondre Stevenson and Pierre Strong were also limited.

Damien Harris hauled in a pass at Wednesday's workout.John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

INJURIES: None.

DRESS CODE: Shorts and shells.

TOP PLAY

Given the lack of contact and full-speed drills, there weren’t many plays worthy of the highlight reel. Rookie quarterback Bailey Zappe, who has logged a large share of the reps in Hoyer’s absence, connected with Kristian Wilkerson for two nice catches. Cornerback Terrance Mitchell also intercepted Mac Jones on a pass intended for DeVante Parker.

ODDS AND ENDS

▪ Running back Damien Harris is still making sure he reaches the end zone on every carry. No matter where the offense is on the field or how the play shakes out, Harris will always take the ball all the way. He started doing so last season and has kept up the habit.

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▪ Safeties Myles Bryant and Marcus Jones were the two primary punt returners, with wide receiver Tre Nixon also getting in the mix. There’s an open competition at the position, following the departure of Gunner Olszewski, but Jones sure seems like a natural choice.

▪ Running back/wide receiver Ty Montgomery continued to make a strong impression. His versatility will be welcomed. Said Belichick, “It looks like he can do a lot. We’ll see how all that goes together, but he’s a smart kid and learns well.”

▪ Nick Folk’s four children, all wearing No. 6 jerseys, helped retrieve the football after his field goal attempts. Folk’s family still lives in Texas but occasionally comes up to visit.

▪ At the end of practice, the team sang “Happy Birthday” to defensive end Henry Anderson.

Birthday boy Henry Anderson spent a little time with his 10-month-old child. John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

▪ Owner Robert Kraft was on the sidelines, as was former Patriots executive Scott Pioli, who now works as analyst for NFL Network and CBS.

▪ Members of the Cathedral High School football team were among the fans in the bleachers, wearing their team gear and enthusiastically cheering on the players.

UP NEXT

Thursday: Practice, 9:30 a.m.

Friday: In-stadium practice open to Foxborough residents and season-ticket members, 7 p.m.


Nicole Yang can be reached at nicole.yang@globe.com.Follow her on Twitter @nicolecyang.