Day 15: Patriots and Titans get a little steamed
The Patriots and Titans worked on red zone and two-minute drills for a good portion of Thursday’s joint practice at steamy Saint Thomas Sports Park in Nashville. The conditions were hot (92 and muggy) and so were the tempers. Here are some observations from Day 15 of training camp:
■ WR Maurice Harris, who was dinged up Wednesday, wasn’t spotted. WR Cam Meredith (PUP), TEs Matt LaCosse (sprained ankle) and Stephen Anderson, and OT Yody Cajuste (NFI) also were not in attendance.
■ WRs Julian Edelman (NFI) and Demaryius Thomas (PUP) were not in uniform but did some work on their own and with fitness guru Alex Guerrero.
■ WRs Phillip Dorsett and N’Keal Harry were in uniform but they left after warm-ups and returned near the end of practice as spectators.
■ LB Jamie Collins returned after missing Wednesday’s practice.
DRESS CODE: Full pads.
A CALL TO ARMS
Tom Brady was 18 of 28 during team drills, including a solid 15-of-20 start before an ugly 3-of-8 finishing series in the two-minute offense. He did throw two TD passes to Braxton Berrios in the set. He was particularly sharp during the one-on-ones red zone exercise . . . Brian Hoyer was 7 of 8 during 11-on-11s and 2 of 3 in the sevens . . . Rookie Jarrett Stidham was 1 of 6 and had a pair of passes batted down at the line of scrimmage by Brent Urban during his only 11-on-11 series. He was 2 of 2 in the sevens.
A depleted receiving corps meant all the down-the-depth-chart deep guys got to work with Brady . . . Berrios had a mostly solid day, highlighted by his two TD catches, but he did run the wrong route on one play . . . Gunner Olszewski drew a defensive pass interference call when he beat a Titan defender across the middle . . . Dontrelle Inman scorched Malcolm Butler during individual drills and made a leaping catch from Brady in the end zone . . . Jakobi Meyers made a nice full-stretch catch at the goal line from Brady.
TIGHT END COVERAGE
New guy Eric Saubert caught a pass from Stidham during 11-on-11s. He also had a short tutorial side session with tight ends coach Nick Caley and Brady as he tries to get up to speed . . . Benjamin Watson caught a 50-yardish TD from Brady on a beautiful seam route. Watson had one Brady bullet go off his fingertips in the end zone during seven-on-sevens. Titans coach Mike Vrabel was there to lovingly remind Watson that he never dropped passes in the end zone . . . Lance Kendricks had one catch from Hoyer but did throw his weight around effectively as a blocker.
The Patriots defensive backs had their way with Titans QBs Marcus Mariota and Ryan Tannehill, consistently getting their hands on balls and deflecting them . . . CB Duke Dawson had perhaps his finest day, chalking up pass breakups in both the individual drills and team drills . . . J.C. Jackson just missed a pick-6 for the second straight day, unable to hold on . . . Rookie Joejuan Williams dominated Corey Davis in a one-on-one matchup . . . Fellow rookie Ken Webster is surging.
ODDS AND ENDS
■ Brady presented Vrabel with a small statue before practice with the score of last year’s game (the Titans won, 34-10), and their friendly and sometimes biting banter went on throughout the day. “I wouldn’t describe it as civil,’’ said a smiling Brady. “Obviously, we’ve been friends for a long time.’’
■ Things got testy when Stephon Gilmore and A.J. Brown got into it after a play during 11-on-11s. Devin McCourty intervened and was shoved for his efforts. That set off a mini-donnybrook and everybody jumped in. It was defused quickly, however, as Vrabel and Bill Belichick arrived on scene. Vrabel had some pointed words for his receiver, Tajae Sharp of UMass fame, but nobody got the heave-ho.
■ Isaiah Wynn got a little hot under the collar after a nice battle with Jayon Brown during pass-rush drills. Again, cooler heads prevailed.
■ Wynn and Dan Skipper continued to rotate at left tackle. Both struggled during the final two-minute drill and likely would have given up sacks if the QBs weren’t off-limits.
■ Dont’a Hightower had a nice pass breakup on Ryan Tannehill in the middle of the defense.
■ Matt Cassel, who has backed up both Brady and Mariota, caught up with both quarterbacks at different times.
■ Patrick Chung had a tutorial session — it looked like proper hand technique was the subject — with fellow safety Obi Melifonwu.
■ As receivers worked with the JUGS machine, J.C. Jackson waved his hand in their face to help with concentration.
■ Adam Butler, Williams, and Tennessee’s LaDarius Wiley, all of whom went to nearby Vanderbilt, posed for pictures with family and friends.
Thursday: Joint practice with Titans in Nashville, 9:50 a.m.
Saturday: Exhibition game vs. Titans in Nashville, 7 p.m.