FOXBOROUGH — Sony Michel made a one-handed catch while tightroping along the sideline during a one-on-one drill at Thursday’s OTA session.
The acrobatic move combined speed, grace, concentration, and body control and certainly was the kind of play the Patriots envisioned when they drafted the rookie running back in the first round.
In fact, Michel got instant feedback on the play, although it wasn’t the kind most observers were expecting, as a staffer reminded the former Georgia star that he had cut short his route.
It may have been a bit of a “Welcome to the NFL” moment, but Michel wasn’t the least bit fazed.
“Attention to detail is important in football, period,’’ said Michel. “Whatever you do, you want to focus on the little things. Try to get better. You want to learn from things like that. And that’s what I try to do, I try to soak in information, soak in the coaching, and just try to learn.’’
Michel actually appreciated the constructive criticism.
“For him giving me some type of coaching tip, that’s what’s helping me improve and move forward,’’ he said.
Despite being the 31st overall pick and the third back chosen in April, Michel finds himself at the back of the line during most drills as he works to find his niche in a deep group.
Along with the deep instruction he’s received from the coaches, Michel has appreciated the bond he’s developing with his new teammates.
“Right now, just support,’’ he said when asked about the feedback he’s received in the locker room. “Teammates, it’s a family, each one having the others’ back. I think that’s what we’re doing right now. Just holding each other accountable, having each others’ backs, pushing each other every day.’’
It was a much crisper day for quarterbacks Brian Hoyer and Danny Etling, both of whom were considerably sharper than they were in last week’s practice that was open to the media.
Unofficially, Hoyer was 23 of 27 during 11-on-11 work, including 11 of 11 during a half-speed, two-minute drill toward the end of the workout. Etling was 11 of 12 on the opposite field during the same late period. Overall, the rookie showed nice zip in going 13 of 18 during 11-on-11s, though he was victimized by a couple of drops during a 2-of-6 stretch.
The quarterbacks are expected to have company when Tom Brady arrives for the start of minicamp Tuesday.
Up to speed
Julian Edelman spent the entire practice on the upper field but didn’t take part in team drills until the aforementioned half-speed hurry-up offense when he caught one ball from Hoyer. Edelman doesn’t appear to have lost a single step as he returns from a torn ACL . . . The absent players were Brady, tight end Rob Gronkowski, receivers Malcolm Mitchell and Cody Hollister, running back Brandon Bolden, cornerback Cyrus Jones, safeties Nate Ebner and David Jones, and guard Joe Thuney . . . Linebacker Dont’a Hightower, defensive end Trey Flowers, and cornerback Jonathan Jones were on the field after missing last week . . . Cornerback Keion Crossen, the star of last week’s session, spent his time on the lower field, where players who are “limited” usually practice. Tackles Marcus Cannon, Isaiah Wynn, and Trent Brown also were on that field. Rookie receiver Braxton Berrios bounced back and forth, working on punt returns on the upper field but heading back down during team drills.
Break it up
Safety Damarius Travis had a nice diving interception of a ball tipped by rookie Duke Dawson . . . Rookie linebackers Christian Sam and Ja’Whaun Bentley also had pass breakups. It was a split decision on Bentley’s, with some believing Kyle Van Noy had the breakup. Both were wearing blue No. 53 jerseys . . . Eric Rowe knocked away an Etling pass in the end zone during a red zone drill . . . Rookie Corey Bojorquez continues to scrape the ozone layer with his punts . . . Hightower showed off a strong sock game, with stars on one and stripes on the other . . . A bunch of staffers wore boxing gloves as they tried to beat the football out of the backs and receivers as they ran through a gauntlet drill. Only one ball hit the ground . . . Asked about Bon Jovi’s recent election to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Bill Belichick smiled and said, “It was about time.”