FOXBOROUGH Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo had a shaky few weeks during organized team activities, but the rookie got in rhythm at mandatory minicamp. Garoppolo went 17-of-25 passing, spreading the ball to a variety of receivers.
He didn't have a perfect performance; there were some struggles to get the ball out quickly at times, resulting in a (non-contact) sack, and he fumbled a snap from center. He did, however, make the most perfect throw we've seen from him so far this spring, hitting wide receiver Jeremy Johnson in stride on a deep throw down the right sideline.
Here are some more observations from the first day of Patriots minicamp:
Missing from practice: Aaron Dobson, Alfonzo Dennard, Dominique Easley, Armond Armstead, Darius Fleming, Malcolm Butler.
Rob Gronkowski fully participated in the warm-ups and stretches with the rest of the team. He did not look to be laboring on his knee and was not wearing a brace. When stretches ended, he went straight to the Dana Farber field house to practice with the rest of the injured participants.
Others in the "rehab group": Matthew Slater, Travis Hawkins, DJ Williams, Justin Greene, Deontae Skinner, Logan Mankins.
Passing stats: Tom Brady went 14-of-21; Garoppolo went 17-of-25.
Noted drops: Shane Vereen (2), Brandon LaFell, Jeremy Gallon (punt)
Touchdowns: Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, Jeremy Johnson, James White, Justin Jones
With Matthew Slater in the field house, Josh Boyce and Kanorris Davis got some opportunities as the gunners on special teams drills. Boyce did a nice job of shedding the blocks and getting downfield. Davis' work at gunner began with a smaller practice drill that had him start from halfway downfield (underneath the punt) instead of running the full length of the field, in order to practice covering the punt returner and getting square in his face.
With Logan Mankins in the field house, Josh Kline and Jon Halapio got some good reps at the guard positions today. There's danger in reading too much into these practices due to their light nature and the lack of pads, but neither one looked out of place in their time on the field, regardless of alignment.
At one point, Darrelle Revis, Brandon Browner, Devin McCourty and Duron Harmon were all working on one side of the field together with some members of the coaching staff, while the rest of the team was doing special teams work on the other field. It would seem the starting safety job opposite McCourty is Harmon's to lose.
Defensive linemen Will Smith, Tommy Kelly and Vince Wilfork were all full participants for all two hours of practice. That's a promising sign for a defensive line rotation that was ravaged by injuries last season. Wilfork, in particular, has looked much improved over OTAs, where he appeared to be lumbering around a bit.
Stephen Gostkowski has done some nice work as a backup punter when asked, but today was not his finest hour in that regard. He tried to punt a ball back to Ryan Allen on the other side of the field, but instead sent it up into the bleachers where the reporters were seated.
Justin Jones and Asa Watson both made some impressive grabs in practice. Each has had his share of flashes of brilliance, but neither has stood out for an extended period of time.