FOXBOROUGH — The Patriots returned to the practice field for their second day of joint workouts with the Buccaneers, and the story of the day obviously revolved around injuries. Tom Brady leaving practice with a left knee injury was the big story of the day. Patriots president Jonathan Kraft said in the hallways of Gillette Stadium about an hour after practice, “I’m under the impression that it’s probably not that serious, but that’s not a definitive answer.” Two league sources later said Brady suffered a sprain and the injury is not considered serious.
Two other pieces of injury news: LB Brandon Spikes returned to practice after being absent Tuesday, while TE Daniel Fells was not present Wednesday for an undisclosed reason.
With that, let’s get on with the report:
Physically unable to perform: TE Rob Gronkowski (back); WR Mark Harrison (foot); DE Armond Armstead (non-football illness).
Red non-contact jersey: S Devin McCourty.
Not participating: TE Daniel Fells, CB Alfonzo Dennard (limited), OL Marcus Cannon (limited), WR Michael Jenkins (limited), CB Ras-I Dowling (limited), OL Dan Connolly (limited), DB Nate Ebner, OL Tyronne Green, OL Kevin Haslam, and DE Jermaine Cunningham.
Full pads, full contact.
■ Brady threw a nice middle post to WR Kenbrell Thompkins, placing it perfectly among four defenders in zone coverage.
■ CB Marquice Cole intercepted Tampa Bay QB Josh Freeman on a crossing pattern.
■ CB Logan Ryan had a pick-6 against Freeman, stepping in front of a deep out pass and taking it 70 yards the other way for a touchdown.
■ CB Aqib Talib had a pick-6 on Freeman as well, stepping in front of a pass intended for WR Mike Williams.
■ WR Julian Edelman caught a great touchdown over the middle from QB Ryan Mallett on which he first bobbled the ball and then corralled it in front of two defenders.
S Steve Gregory: Fighting for a roster spot, he did drop a certain interception in 11-on-11 drills but also had a really nice jumping breakup on a pass from Freeman to WR Vincent Jackson.
Thompkins: Continues to make tough catches over the middle, and makes it look easy.
Mallett: It’s your time to shine, kid, at least through Friday’s preseason game.
Fells: Seems to have fallen behind Zach Sudfeld and perhaps Jake Ballard on the tight end depth chart, and missing Wednesday’s practice doesn’t help matters.
LT Nate Solder: Forget the fact he tripped up Brady, which led to the injury. The fact he was so badly bull-rushed by DE Adrian Clayborn is not a good sign.
Cunningham: Can’t get back on the field, and might not be long for the Patriots with DE Marcus Benard having a solid camp.
Tim Tebow took a few more snaps because of Brady’s injury but still was mostly an observer during team drills. He had a really nice throw to Sudfeld over the middle among three defenders, fired a bullet to Thompkins over the middle to bring the offense into the red zone, threw a touchdown to Edelman, had a pass dropped by RB Brandon Bolden, and threw a corner fade too far for Edelman. Tebow also fumbled a snap.
ODDS AND ENDS
■ Rookie Ryan Allen, battling Zoltan Mesko for the punting job, had a punt blocked. Mesko fumbled a snap.
■ CB Kyle Arrington and S Steve Gregory had a much better day against Jackson, keeping him out of the end zone in team drills.
■ Two small fights broke out, though the participants were not identified.
■ Spent some time watching the one-on-one OL/DL drills. The results:
Sebastian Vollmer did a nice job slowing down Clayborn.
Solder was able to stop DE Daniel Te’o-Nesheim.
C Matt Stankiewitch stonewalled DT Matthew Masifilo.
DE Jake Bequette absolutely destroyed T Demar Dotson.
G R.J. Mattes did a nice job slowing down DE Markus White.
DE Chandler Jones was stopped by OT Donald Penn.
Benard easily beat G Adam Smith.
DT Marcus Forston was stonewalled by OL Jace Daniels.
LB Rob Ninkovich easily got through G Gabe Carimi.
Great inside move by Benard to get past G Jeremy Zuttah.
Clayborn got around Vollmer with a nice speed rush.
Bequette was stopped in his tracks by T Jamon Meredith.
DE Michael Buchanan had a nice bull rush to get through Carimi.
■ Mallett wasn’t particularly sharp, and had a few awful-looking throws to WR Aaron Dobson during team drills. He was also intercepted by LB Mason Foster.
■ Freeman was just as bad as Mallett, though, and that’s not a good sign for the Buccaneers. In two days of practice, Freeman has had some beautiful throws, and a lot of bad ones that make you shake your head. Continued...