FOXBOROUGH — Patriots season ticket holders got to see a heavy dose of rookie quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. They got just a small dose of what we've seen throughout training camp: struggles and inconsistency.
Someone needs to install a stopwatch in his head. He holds onto the ball far too long on a consistent basis, and ran into trouble again in 11-on-11 work where he was flushed from the pocket once, and "sacked" on the next play. It happened again during 11-on-11 red zone work at the end of practice, resulting in another sack.
The 2014 second-round pick went an underwhelming 1-for-9 with an interception in team drills. He would have completed two passes, were it not for a brutal drop by rookie wide receiver Derrick Johnson at the end of practice — a fitting end for two players who have struggled to this point in camp.
"It's training camp, so everybody's got some good and some they'd like to have back," said head coach Bill Belichick about the play of Garoppolo and Ryan Mallett. "That's part of the process: just trying to learn and improve and keep working at it, so we'll find out a lot next week where we're at."
What we've found out so far has not been good. Garoppolo has not had a lot of help from his receivers, but the struggle is real. He has a lot of work to do before he is ready for a meaningful role in the NFL, but it could be a long time before a meaningful role becomes a real possibility.
Here are some more notes and observations from practice:
— TE Michael Hoomanawanui (unknown), DB Jemea Thomas (unknown)
- RB Tyler Gaffney (meniscus), C Bryan Stork (unknown), LB Cameron Gordon (unknown), WR Aaron Dobson (foot, PUP), OL Chris Martin (unknown, NFI), DL Dominique Easley (knee, NFI), WR Jeremy Gallon (unknown, PUP), and LB Deontae Skinner (unknown, NFI) were not spotted at practice.
— Drops (team drills): TE Justin Jones, WR Derrick Johnson
— Interceptions (team drills): CB Logan Ryan
— DL vs. OL results: There was one session of pass-rush drills, with 13 repetitions. The defense won these drills by a score of 7-6.
— DL results: DT Chris Jones (1-1), DT Marcus Forston (1-2), DT Joe Vellano (1-1), DE Zach Moore (2-0), DT Eathyn Manumaleuna (0-1), DT Sealver Siliga (1-0), DT L.T. Tuipulotu (0-1), Michael Buchanan (1-0)
— OL results: OG Josh Kline (1-2), OT Jordan Devey (1-2), OG Jon Halapio (2-0), OT Cameron Fleming (1-1), OL Chris Barker (1-1), OL Braxston Cave (0-1)
— The wide receivers were taking turns running seam routes in the early stages of practice. WR Danny Amendola appeared to run the most impressive of these, with a nice stutter step at the start of the route before breaking full-speed downfield. Next up were the in-routes, where WR Kenbrell Thompkins appeared to run his routes a little lazy, rounding off the cut instead of making a hard cut. That wasn't as bad as rookie WR Derrick Johnson, who slipped and fell in the middle of his break.
— The Patriots have been mixing up their looks in the front seven during practice, perhaps showing the potential for even more scheme versatility than we've seen in years past. Specifically, Chandler Jones continues to move around the front seven, which continues a trend we saw last season.
— DT Marcus Forston showed up in 9-on-7 drills by getting into the backfield on the two first plays of the running drill. He used a nice swim move on OG Josh Kline on the first one,l and bull-rushed OT Cameron Fleming into the backfield on the other. Forston has spent the past two years on and off the practice squad, and could be a surprise candidate for a roster spot.
— During those 9-on-7 drills, there were some 1-on-1 drills between wide receivers and defensive backs. DB Travis Hawkins came down with an impressive interception off QB Tom Brady in the back corner of the end zone while in coverage of WR Brian Tyms.
— Hawkins and RB James White were the top options on kickoff returns on Friday. Hawkins has not been seen participating in kickoff drills as a returner to this point in camp. He did a nice job of setting up his blocks and finding the clearest path downfield.
— During 11-on-11 punt drills, WR Brandon LaFell was the top option as the return man. S Patrick Chung got his opportunity at the end of practice, but had a hard time tracking the ball on his first rep and ended up letting it bounce past him. Chung has not been spotted in that role at any point this summer.
— QB Ryan Mallett threw an interception to CB Logan Ryan on his first pass of 11-on-11 work. He overshot a wide open Derrick Johnson on a deep throw down the left sideline on his next attempt.
— In between those two misfires by Mallett, he threw a screen pass to RB Roy Finch to the right. LB Steve Beauharnais chased him down as he headed to the sideline, and knocked him into a group of players that were standing on the edge of the field. Trainers tended to Finch, who had a noticeable limp in his right leg as he walked around the sideline.
— DT Sealver Siliga had a strong practice, as well, with a dominant rep against OL Braxston Cave in 1-on-1s and a hard charge into the backfield to wrap up RB Jonas Gray in 11-on-11 work. The Patriots continue to shuffle the pieces on the defensive line, and it looks like Siliga will be given every opportunity to make an impression.
— Rookie OL Jon Halapio and Cameron Fleming haven't had the most stellar training camps so far, but they really shined in 11-on-11 work at the end of practice. They cleared the way for RB Stephen Houston on a long gain off the right side, and Halapio showed the ability to block on the move by pulling from right to left to block LB Ja'Gared Davis in the hole on the next play.
— LB Chris White showed some nice moves in coverage during 11-on-11 drills by breaking up a pass from Garoppolo intended for TE Justin Jones on a post route over the middle. His success was short-lived, however, as he was cleared out of the way on a run to the right on the very next play.
— The second-to-last drill of practice involved red zone 11-on-11 work. Mallett seemed to be taking a cue from Garoppolo on that drill, holding onto the ball too long on two consecutive reps.
— Practice closed out with field goal work, where Stephen Gostkowski went 4-for-4 before media was sent down to the field for a Q&A with Belichick.