Sunday’s Patriots practice report: Backups, rookies get more reps
Physically unable to perform: WR Aaron Dobson, CB Alfonzo Dennard, WR Jeremy Gallon, WR Matthew Slater.
Non-football injury: DL Dominique Easley, OL Chris Martin, LB Deontae Skinner.
Missing: CB Daxton Swanson, S Jemea Thomas.
Non-contact: TE Rob Gronkowski, DT Tommy Kelly.
Roster moves: Signed WR Brian Tyms and WR Cole Stanford; waived/injured WR Greg Orton.
TE Michael Hoomanawanui seemed to favor his left leg at the end of practice, but not sure if it was too serious.
Full pads and full contact.
■ Jimmy Garoppolo fired a bullet over the middle to WR Derrick Johnson in 7-on-7 drills, threading the ball perfectly through the outstretched hands of LB Ja’Gared Davis and just out of the reach of CB Justin Green.
■ Garoppolo also had a gorgeous deep fade pass down the right sideline, dropping it perfectly into the hands of TE DJ Williams and just over the outstretched arms of DE Michael Buchanan, who chased Williams downfield in coverage.
■ Awesome throw and catch by QB Ryan Mallett and WR Josh Boyce on a fly pattern down the left sideline, with Boyce making a great catch over CB Brandon Browner.
■ Browner lowered the boom on rookie RB James White, dropping him with a thud in 11-on-11 drills and unleashing a primal scream after the hit.
■ FB James Develin: The Patriots are raving about his play and versatility, and he had another crushing lead block in a goal-line drill Sunday, springing Stevan Ridley for an easy touchdown.
■ Boyce: Had a solid day catching the football and got behind the defense a couple of times.
■ CB Malcolm Butler: Had an interception in his second straight practice, is getting more opportunities to play, and has replaced Swanson as the most impressive young defender so far in camp.
■ Bryan Stork: Fumbled a snap with Garoppolo for the second straight day, and had to jog a lap around the field as punishment.
■ WR Kenbrell Thompkins: While Boyce stood out Sunday, Thompkins continues to drop the ball at an alarming rate, with at least three more.
■ G Cameron Fleming: Rookie fourth-round pick got toasted by DE Jake Bequette a couple of times in pass-rush drills. Fleming missed most of the offseason workouts because of Stanford’s late graduation and has some work to make up.
Gronkowski participated in a half-speed 11-on-11 drill with no contact, but otherwise kept to the same routine: He participates in individual and positional drills, and takes mental reps during 7-on-7 and full team drills.
Odds and ends
■ WR Brandon LaFell had a ridiculous one-handed catch with his left hand on a deep post over the middle from Garoppolo. It looked like LaFell had Krazy Glue on his hand.
■ Ridley had his first fumble of camp when he dropped a handoff early in practice, and Garoppolo also had a nice talk from Ryan Wendell after messing up another handoff exchange.
■ Second-year offensive lineman Josh Kline is getting work at several positions — a good sign that the Patriots are preparing him to be one of the top backups, or even the starter at right guard. Sebastian Vollmer is also getting work at both tackle spots, just in case.
■ Interesting that through four days of practice, Darrelle Revis has only played left cornerback. The Patriots don’t have him matching up with any one receiver, and instead have him stick to one side as the team goes back and forth between man and zone coverage. Revis also has done a lot of special teams work, and spent Sunday working on the punt return team, blocking the gunner.
■ Fun watching G Logan Mankins and DT Vince Wilfork go at it on OL-DL drills, with Mankins driving Wilfork into the ground on one play.
■ RB Jonas Gray showed really nice burst and cut-back ability on an inside run in 11-on-11 drills. He has a chance to crack the 53-man roster and fill the “LeGarrette Blount” role as the Patriots’ big running back.
■ RB White continues to get a ton of work in both running and passing drills, and RB Shane Vereen probably has gotten the most targets of any receiver in camp.
■ One downside for Boyce — he tripped over his own feet and fell down as Mallett threw him a slant pass in 7-on-7 drills. Coach Bill Belichick hates it when players can’t stay on their feet.
■ S Kanorris Davis, a key special teams contributor last season, has not been participating in full-team drills, but has been getting a lot of 1-on-1 tutoring off to the side, presumably about playing the gunner role on special teams.
■ Young LBs Cameron Gordon and Steve Beauharnais both drew Belichick’s ire for jumping offsides on one play and were forced to run a lap.
■ The first fight of training camp involved Hoomanawanui and rookie LB Taylor McCuller, who locked horns well after the play ended in a catch-and-chase drill.
Monday: Off day.
Tuesday-Saturday: Practice TBD.
Sunday: Travel to Richmond, Va., for joint practices with the Redskins.