FOXBOROUGH — Patriots backup quarterback Ryan Mallett was one of seven players missing from organized team activities Thursday.
Thursday marked the team’s ninth OTAs practice and third open to the media for observation. Friday will mark the last Patriots OTAs session before mandatory minicamp June 17-19.
It was Mallett’s first missed session open to the media. Also missing were WR Aaron Dobson (foot), WR Brandon LaFell, CB Alfonzo Dennard, DL Dominique Easley (knee), DT Tommy Kelly, and DL Armond Armstead. Dobson, Dennard, and Armstead have not been spotted at any of the voluntary workouts while LaFell, Easley, and Kelly have taken part at one point or another.
It was also the first practice session for the Patriots draft pick Cameron Fleming, the rookie offensive tackle out of Stanford. Fleming had been unable to participate in OTAs until he graduated from college.
Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski warmed up with the team before removing himself to continue his rehab.
Notes from the practice:
– Julian Edelman only knows one speed. The Patriots top wide receiver was showing up the other 10 wideouts at Thursday’s practice with his hustle and drive. He caught a sweet diving pass in 7-on-7s that put the effort of his peers to shame. But in 11-on-11s, he let a Tom Brady pass hit his hands and fall to the ground.
– Kyle Arrington got burned by Danny Amendola in the slot for a touchdown in 7-on-7s. Business as usual.
– Shane Vereen was giving Jamie Collins hell in practice while catching passes out of the backfield. While Collins is considered the Patriots cover linebacker, he’s still a step slow when it comes to covering the speedy Vereen.
– Jimmy Garoppolo looked solid in 7-on-7s. A swift pass to Wilson Van Hooser and a nice strike to Justin Jones showed some improvement in his decision-making, even if Jones dropped his pass. He found Josh Boyce on an in-route for a touchdown to go 3-for-4 to finish his last drive in the session. In 11-on-11s, he had harder time staying on the same page as his receivers. He whiffed on three straight passes with no receiver in sight before finding Brandon Bolden on a check-down. (Jones made up for his dropped pass later in 11-on-11s.)
– Not much to glean from James Anderson, the Patriots’ new linebacker. He still seems to be soaking up his surroundings. In 11-on-11s, he did not have any kind of impact.
– Of the Patriots’ undrafted rookies, Reggie Dunn has appeared to be the only one to flash his talents in drills. The speedy wide receiver caught a nice pass in coverage from Garoppolo.
– Rookie center Bryan Stork got an earful from Brady, missing the count.
– Jon Halapio, the Patriots’ other rookie offensive line pick, got some play at left guard. He had previously worked his entire collegiate career at right guard for Florida.