8 notes and observations from Day 2 of Patriots training camp

Tom Brady's absence gave the backup quarterbacks an increased profile for the day.

Patriots quarterbacks Tom Brady
Quarterback Tom Brady, left, with Brian Hoyer and Josh McDaniels while watching Jarrett Stidham during practice during Patriots training camp. Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff

FOXBOROUGH — The second day of Patriots training camp resembled the first in many ways. Perfectly clear skies, warm — but not too warm — temperatures, and a vocal crowd of fans served as a pleasant background to another grueling practice session for the defending champions.

Of course, there was one major difference between Thursday and Friday: Tom Brady didn’t practice on day two. With Julian Edelman, Sony Michel, and Demaryius Thomas also still out, it left an opportunity for other players to have their moment on offense.

Here’s a glance at Day 2:

Tom Brady did not practice, but was present.

The first and most prominent observation from Friday’s practice was that Brady wasn’t in pads. Always conspicuous given his Hall of Fame resume and red non-contact jersey, Brady not being dressed for practice was obviously noticed instantly.


No specific reason was given for why the soon-to-be 42-year-old wasn’t participating. That said, Brady was still present, helping backup quarterbacks Brian Hoyer and Jarrett Stidham warm up.

Brady was potentially given the day off simply to manage his workload.  Mike Giardi of NFL Network offered some possible explanations:

Jarrett Stidham was up and down with increased reps.

Drafted in the fourth round earlier in 2019, Stidham is currently third on the Patriots’ quarterback depth chart.

In his first NFL training camp, the former Auburn quarterback was given an increase in snaps on Friday with Brady out. The results were characteristic of a rookie, with some good and some bad.


In total, Stidham threw three interceptions in drills against the defense, making a few rookie mistakes. On the other side, he also displayed the talent that led the Patriots to draft him in the first place.

Stidham scrambled to his left on one play before throwing across his body into the back of the end zone to find Maurice Harris for a touchdown. It was a throw that produced a cheer from the crowd. He also lofted a perfectly thrown wheel route touchdown to James White over the coverage.

Tight ends continue to audition in the post-Gronkowski era.

While Tom Brady and Julian Edelman were both out of practice on Friday, another notable absence continues to loom over training camp. Rob Gronkowski remains retired, and replacing him is probably an impossible task in the short term.


The Patriots have an array of tight ends in camp, all vying for a limited number of spots.

One standout play came from Matt LaCosse, a tight end signed in March. With linebacker Elandon Roberts covering him fairly effectively, LaCosse plucked Brian Hoyer’s pass from over Roberts’s shoulder to make an impressive catch that the crowd appreciated.

Stephen Anderson, who was signed by New England in Sept. 2018, made a nice back shoulder catch over safety A.J. Howard. It wasn’t all good news for Anderson though, as he fumbled in a ball security drill at the hands of linebacker Jamie Collins.


Ben Watson continued to show steady production, while others  — including newcomer Lance Kendricks — are trying to make an impression.

Other observations

  • The Patriots used loud music to simulate crowd noise in 11-on-11 drills. Given Bill Belichick’s Bon Jovi fandom, it was no surprise that the first song on the playlist was “Livin’ on a Prayer.”
  • The entire offense had to take a lap towards the end of practice, apparently because of a false start by rookie receiver N’Keal Harry.
  • Coaches from the University of Iowa were present to watch the Patriots’ practice system.
  • Enormous defensive tackle Danny Shelton played some left tackle for the scout team.
  • Possible play of the day: Brian Hoyer made a perfectly weighted toss to speedster Phillip Dorsett on a post route that went for a touchdown against rookie cornerback Joejuan Williams.