FOXBOROUGH — One sick grab after another. That's the best way to describe the day for wide receiver Julian Edelman, who wowed the crowd with catches that showed exactly the competitive spirit we've come to expect from him.
He had a trio of impressive grabs in one-on-one work. On the first, he got away from cornerback Darrelle Revis on an in-route in the back of the end zone, making the grab with Revis right in his hip pocket.
The next was perhaps the highlight of training camp. Edelman climbed the ladder over cornerback Kyle Arrington in the back corner of the end zone, reaching up with one arm and flexing his bicep around the ball to tuck it away as he fell to the ground
Finally, he showed his competitive resiliency against cornerback Malcolm Butler. The rookie corner got a good jam on Edelman at the line, but they went again and Edelman was able to get away from Butler this time around, winning on a back-shoulder fade down the left sideline. Edelman turned against his momentum while leaping to make the catch as he fell to the grass.
He also got wide open on a deep corner route in 11-on-11 work, beating cornerback Logan Ryan to the sideline for an easy catch.
Edelman had a good offseason program, and seems to be picking up right where he left off during organized team activities and minicamp, where he was by far the best receiver on the field.
Here are some more notes from Tuesday's practice, the fifth of training camp and the third in full pads.
— OL Dan Connolly (unknown) and TE Michael Hoomanawanui (unknown) were additions to the absentee list, along with newly acquired RB Tyler Gaffney (meniscus) who was claimed off waivers from the Carolina Panthers. OL Chris Martin (unknown, NFI) and DB Jemea Thomas (unknown) were also absent.
— WR Aaron Dobson (foot, PUP), WR Matthew Slater (unknown, PUP), LB Deontae Skinner (unknown, NFI), DL Dominique Easley (knee, NFI) and WR Jeremy Gallon (unknown, PUP) were spotted at practice but did not participate in team drills and were dressed in shorts and t-shirts. Those five took part in conditioning drills, working on ellipticals and step machines.
— CB Daxton Swanson missed the past two practices of camp, but made his return on Tuesday. CB Alfonzo Dennard (shoulder) participated in his first practice of training camp.
— Drops (team drills): TE Asa Watson, RB Shane Vereen, TE Justin Jones, WR Derrick Johnson
— Interceptions (team drills): DB Travis Hawkins
— Take a lap: DE Will Smith (offsides)
— OL vs. DL results: There were two sessions of 1-on-1s today, with 14 repetitions each. Continuing Sundays trend, the offensive line won these matchups by scores of 8-6 and 10-4.
— OL results: Nate Solder (2-1), Logan Mankins (2-1), Ryan Wendell (3-1), Sebastian Vollmer (2-0), Marcus Cannon (4-0), Josh Kline (1-1), Jordan Devey (1-1), Jon Halapio (0-2), Braxston Cave (1-1), Cameron Fleming (1-1), Chris Barker (1-1)
— DL results: Chandler Jones (0-3), Vince Wilfork (1-1), Sealver Siliga (2-0), Tommy Kelly (1-1), Rob Ninkovich (0-2), Chris Jones (1-1), Joe Vellano (1-1), Zach Moore (1-1), Will Smith (0-2), Michael Buchanan (0-1), Jake Bequette (2-0), Marcus Forston (1-1), Eathyn Manumaleuna (0-1), L.T. Tuipulotu (0-2), Dont'a Hightower (0-1)
— Some highlights from the 1-on-1 pass-rush drills: a slick outside-inside double-move by defensive end Jake Bequette rushing against left tackle Nate Solder; a nice pancake block by Sebastian Vollmer against Rob Ninkovich; center Ryan Wendell got low pad level and anchored well against defensive tackle Vince Wilfork.
— Once again, Patrick Chung, Tavon Wilson, and Duron Harmon continued to split reps as the strong safety with the first team defense.
— There were a lot of interesting drills taking place today. One drill had receivers running a pivot route (break one direction, pivot against their momentum and run the opposite way) in the back of the end zone, with a trainer waving a tennis racket while the receiver was asked to track the ball in the corner of the end zone and make the grab. Coach Bill Belichick talked about focusing on situational work this week, and this drill could be the start of some goal line work to come.
— Another interesting drill had defensive backs and linebackers against running backs and receivers, with one man from each side lying on his back, getting up and charging at one another. The offensive player was carrying the ball, and the defender had to hit him. Safety Devin McCourty made a nice hit on running back Roy Finch during these drills, and was able to strip the ball loose.
— Brandon Browner struggled in 1-on-1 coverage drills, allowing three receptions on three repetitions in one session. Two receptions were allowed to Kenbrell Thompkins, and the other went to Brandon LaFell. Logan Ryan did not allow a reception on his two repetitions in 1-on-1s.
— LaFell had an up-and-down day, but mostly up. He missed the ball while in coverage on a squib kick in special teams work, and he had to quickly turn around and fall on the ball. He also slipped and fell on his route on the first rep of 11-on-11 work, and drew the ire of Tom Brady. He had one of the plays of the day in a later drill, with a great catch on a long throw from Brady while Malcolm Butler and Nate Ebner both surrounded him in coverage.
— Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo's struggles continued, as the rookie passer held onto the ball far too long during his first rep of 11-on-11 work and took a (non-contact) sack as a result. He also threw the only interception of team drills, with defensive back Travis Hawkins coming down with a leaping pick.
— The Patriots signed two wide receivers recently, adding Brian Tyms and Cole Stanford to the roster. In the little we saw of Tyms, he has long strides, quick feet, and soft hands. He ran a crisp post route during some individual work early in practice, and made a solid catch away from his frame. He also had a nice one-handed touchdown grab against cornerback Darrelle Revis on a pass from Garoppolo.
— Matthew Slater continues to not participate in team drills, but he was doing quite a bit of running around on Tuesday and did not appear slowed down in any way. He was pantomiming covering punts at the goal line, running close to full speed down field and then hesitating as he got nearer to the end zone.
— Several players had been sharing the responsibilities of returning kickoffs during the first four days of camp, but Roy Finch took a majority of those reps on Tuesday.
— With Dan Connolly out of practice, Marcus Cannon took over reps as the first-team guard in team drills.
— A lot of different players have earned reps at defensive tackle next to Vince Wilfork in the first-team grouping, but a new name in that mix is Marcus Forston, who was the first man in at defensive tackle next to Wilfork in 11-on-11 work on Tuesday.
— Near the end of practice, the team worked on goal line drills. It was mostly focused on running, but there was one noteworthy pass attempt from Ryan Mallett to tight end Justin Jones. Mallett rolled to his right after a play-action fake, and threw to Jones on a corner route. The rookie tight end climbed the ladder and got his hands on the ball, but dropped it as he was coming back down to the ground.
— The team finished practice by working on field goals in team drills, and rookie Tyler Ott was the long-snapper for these drills. The battle rages on between Ott and Danny Aiken.
— After practice, the defensive line, wide receivers and running backs took turns doing sprints up the hill behind the practice field.
UPDATE, 9:51 p.m. — A second set of results in the one-on-one pass-rush drills was provided by Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston.