RICHMOND – Another day of practice in the books, and another fantastic day for Tom Brady and his receivers against the defense.
"Brady was surgical, carving up the secondary in seven-on-seven and 11-on-11 drills with incredible accuracy, and his receivers were borderline dominant."
No, that's not a report from the Patriots' practice on Tuesday against the Redskins. That's what we wrote almost exactly a year ago (Aug. 7) when the Patriots held a joint practice with the Eagles.
We bring this up as a reminder for Patriots fans to quell your expectations for the regular season. Brady and the Patriots offense were fantastic on Tuesday – possibly the best we've ever seen in the last two training camps. He put on a clinic in 11-on-11 drills, particularly in the hurry-up offense, when he connected over and over with Danny Amendola, Julian Edelman and Brandon LaFell and left the Redskins' defense in tatters.
Brady and the Patriots looked fantastic last training camp, too. But when the lights came on in the regular season, the offense struggled to move the football, particularly with Rob Gronkowski out of the lineup.
So, yes, the Patriots' offense looked like world-beaters on Tuesday. But doing it in the regular season is a whole lot different than doing it against last year's 30th-ranked defense on a Tuesday in August.
Tuesday's practice was a lot of fun to watch – the starters got most of the work, and the practice lasted almost 3 hours in the hot Richmond sun, the longest practice of training camp to date.
"This is probably one of the longer practices I can remember," Brady said. "We did a lot of situational stuff. It was a lot to do. I think we're going to learn a lot from today's practice."
With that, let's get on with today's practice report:
Physically unable to perform: WR Aaron Dobson, WR Jeremy Gallon.
Non-football injury: DL Dominique Easley, OL Chris Martin.
Missing: TE Rob Gronkowski, TE Michael Hoomanawanui, RB Brandon Bolden, C Bryan Stork, S Jemea Thomas, LB Cameron Gordon.
Limited/Non-contact: CB Alfonzo Dennard, WR Matthew Slater.
New injuries: DT Sealver Siliga left practice early and returned to the sideline with what looked like a cast on his left wrist.
Full pads and full contact.
■ Tom Brady dropped a deep corner pass perfectly into Danny Amendola’s hands for a 35-yard touchdown in the left corner of the end zone with cornerback EJ Biggers in coverage. Brady also burned DeAngelo Hall badly on a similar deep corner touchdown pass to Edelman.
■ NT Vince Wilfork picked off Robert Griffin III on a quick drag over the middle after Santana Moss juggled the pass several times. Nice hands by the big man.
■ LB Jerod Mayo had the best hit of camp so far when he jacked up Redskins RB Alfred Morris going over the middle, dislodging the ball from Morris’s hands for an incomplete pass.
■ CB Darrelle Revis had an awesome leaping pass break-up on a deep end zone pass for DeSean Jackson.
■ RG3 hit a wide-open Andre Roberts for a 40-yard touchdown. Brandon Browner blew the coverage on the play.
■ Redskins TE Jordan Reed had an awesome tip-toe catch along the sideline with Mayo in coverage.
■ Danny Amendola, Julian Edelman, and Brandon LaFell: The Patriots top three receivers were phenomenal. I didn’t see any drops and each scored at least one touchdown. Amendola especially was impressive, with five catches and two touchdowns in team drills.
■ OL Marcus Cannon: Got some work at guard and right tackle and looked good in 1-on-1 pass rush drills.
■ DL Chandler Jones: Sacked RG3, and for the second day in a row worked in 7-on-7 drills, covering the tight end. His usage will be something to watch.
■ Siliga: Seemingly had one of the top backup DT spots locked down, but any sort of extended injury to his hand could hurt his chances of cracking the rotation.
■ DE Will Smith: Went 0 for 3 in OL-DL drills for the second straight day. Not sure how much he has left in the tank.
■ LB James Anderson: Brought here to be a cover linebacker, he had problems all day staying with Reed, who caught a couple of touchdowns on him.
Rob Gronkowski did not make the trip and is rehabbing back in New England.
Odds and ends
■ The Patriots didn’t fare too well in OL-DL drills. Chandler Jones got stoned badly by LT Trent Williams, though he did better against rookie OT Morgan Moses. Smith lost all of his battles, Jamie Collins was owned by Moses, Rob Ninkovich lost to OT Tom Compton but swam right past OT Tyler Polumbus, Jake Bequette also got stood-up by Compton, Marcus Forston couldn’t get anything going against G Spencer Long, rookie DE Zach Moore lost badly to G Adam Gettis, and Wilfork was able to bullrush G Cory Lichtensteiger but lost out to Long.
■ Most of the team work focused on the hurry-up offense, and Brady was pretty unstoppable. Ryan Mallett had a nice day, and had a really nice throw where he stepped up in the pocket in the face of the pass rush and delivered a strike to Derrick Johnson over the middle. He also had a gorgeous throw down the right seam to TE Asa Watson that would’ve been a huge catch-and-run. I had Mallett as 8 for 12 in team drills.
■ RG3 did OK in the hurry-up offense, but refused to throw the ball away, which will be interesting to watch with him this year. He had a few nice scrambles to the outside and made some nice improvisational plays. He loves looking to Reed in the Red Zone.
■ Revis played 98 percent of his snaps on the left side again, but did match up with Santana Moss a couple times in the slot. DeSean Jackson caught a few comeback routes on Revis and found holes in the zone defense, Revis gave up a touchdown WR/TE Niles Paul, and Revis also was flagged for pass interference once.
■ Brandon Browner got chippy again, butting heads a few times with Washington WR Aldrick Robinson. The Redskins seem to go after Kenbrell Thompkins a lot, and on Tuesday CB David Amerson delivered a cheap shot that Thompkins didn’t take kindly to.
■ Interesting that the Patriots run sprints after every practice, including Tuesday’s marathon session, and the Redskins don’t. They’ve got to prepare for that Week 1 game in the furnace that is Miami.
■ The Patriots showed some 3-4 fronts with Collins at inside linebacker and Donta Hightower and Jones/Ninkovich on the outside.
■ TE Justin Jones got a lot of work with the offense again with Gronk and Hooman out, but Jones was busted for a false start on a field goal attempt and had to run a penalty lap.
Wednesday: Practice in Richmond, 8:45 a.m.
Thursday: Preseason game No. 1 at Washington, 7:30 p.m.
Friday: Off day.