FOXBOROUGH — DeVante Parker decided to add a little levity to the proceedings after a somewhat heated practice between the Patriots and Panthers Tuesday morning.
“There was a fight? I didn’t even see it,” the New England receiver deadpanned following a session that included several dustups that led to players being ejected. “No, we’ve just got to control our temper.”
The first of three skirmishes was the biggest, and it led to the ejections of Patriots receivers Kristian Wilkerson and Kendrick Bourne and Panthers safety Kenny Robinson.
Following a Mac Jones completion to Wilkerson along the Panthers’ sideline, the receiver was shoved by a Carolina staffer as he tried to stand up, and he took exception.
Panthers players reacted, and players from both teams and both fields jogged to the action (think bullpen guys coming out to take part in a baseball brawl). Bourne and Robinson exchanged blows before it was quelled.
Two plays later, New England tackle Trent Brown got into a mini-shoving match with Carolina defensive linemen Brian Burns and Marquis Haynes Sr.
Several plays later during the same period, Carolina’s Phil Hoskins and Frankie Luvu appeared to have a problem with James Ferentz finishing his block, and another kerfuffle ensued.
Hoskins was tossed immediately, and after some discussion among the officials, Ferentz was shown the door as well.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick and Carolina coach Matt Rhule then called their teams together for a lengthy chat, and there were no more skirmishes.
Asked what Belichick’s message was to the group, Parker said, “You can’t be doing that. That was really it.”
Rhule, who said after practice, “We didn’t come here to fight,” had similar thoughts for his troops.
“We don’t want to do that; it wastes a lot of time,” said Carolina safety Jeremy Chinn. “It’s not a good thing to just be fighting over and over again. We want to get the reps in. We want to get the practice in and play ball.”
Not participating: OTs Isaiah Wynn (undisclosed) and Justin Herron (undisclosed), CBs Joejuan Williams (shoulder) and Malcolm Butler (undisclosed), OLs Bill Murray (undisclosed) and Andrew Stueber (non-football injury list).
Belichick labeled Wynn “day to day.”
TE Dalton Keene (undisclosed) was limited.
INJURIES: TE Hunter Henry exited for an undisclosed reason before taking part in team drills. OL Yasir Durant also didn’t finish the session.
Carolina C Bradley Bozeman was carted off after getting tangled up with Matthew Judon. Rhule had no update after practice.
DRESS CODE: Full pads.
It was Parker again. The 6-foot-3-inch receiver skied to high-point a sideline pass from Jones, plucking the piggy despite double coverage from C.J. Henderson and Xavier Woods. Parker’s ability to win 50-50 balls has been a consistent theme throughout camp. He feels 50-50 balls are more like “80-20″ in his favor. Parker said his mind-set is: “When the ball’s in the air, it’s mine.”
▪ Pretty strong day from Jones, who was 21 of 30 during full-team drills and 7 of 7 during the seven-on-seven periods (all numbers unofficial). He faced a decent amount of pressure but showed good foot speed and decision-making, using his checkdowns when the deeper ball wasn’t there.
He likely would have taken one sack (Matt Ioannidis) and his lone interception came on the final rep of a two-minute drill when Luvu snagged a ball meant for Jonnu Smith. Panthers linebackers also deflected a pair of Jones passes.
▪ Jalen Mills continues to impress at corner, dominating his matchups during individual drills (he wore out Panthers top cats Robbie Anderson and Ra’Shaun Henry) and registering a goal-line pass breakup on Anderson during the final team period.
▪ Deatrich Wise called it a “dominant” day for New England’s defense, and the best evidence came during a late stretch in which the unit would have registered four straight sacks. Baker Mayfield would have been planted by Kyle Dugger, Wise, and Christian Barmore (tremendous midair ballet move to avoid contact), and Sam Darnold would have been buried by Anfernee Jennings.
ODDS AND ENDS
▪ Referee Brad Allen’s crew, which will work Friday’s game, was on hand. Belichick had a lengthy chat with Allen during an early period, and it appeared the emphasis on the holding rule was the topic of conversation. The two tugged on one another’s sleeves and on the back of their jerseys during the chat. There were nods and smiles when all was said and done.
▪ Tyquan Thornton put Kalon Barnes in a blender, using a stutter-step move to spin the Carolina corner like a top before hauling in a deep Jones pass during one-on-ones.
▪ Jakobi Meyers dusted Sean Chandler on a sideline route before snagging a dime from Bailey Zappe.
▪ Shaun Wade picked off a Darnold pass that was deflected (possibly by Jennings) during a two-minute drill.
▪ Wade was called for pass interference on the next snap but it was bogus.
▪ Brian Hoyer hit Devin Asiasi with a touchdown pass to cap a two-minute drive and the practice. Asiasi and Matt Sokol got extra reps with Henry down.
FACES ON THE FIELD
▪ Patriots owners Robert and Jonathan Kraft.
▪ Panthers owner David Tepper.
▪ Patriots alumni Tedy Bruschi and Patrick Chung.
▪ Former Raiders general manager Mike Mayock.
Wednesday: Joint practice with Panthers, 9:30 a.m. (Gates open at 8).
Thursday: Off day.
Friday: Exhibition Game 2 vs. Panthers, 7 p.m.