After a relatively light practice in pads Saturday morning, the Patriots ratcheted up the intensity Sunday on Day 4 of training camp.
Michael Bennett made his debut, quarterback Tom Brady and wide receiver Maurice Harris connected for a touchdown, and Celtics coach Brad Stevens and forward Jayson Tatum attended the practice as guests.
Here’s a closer look at what transpired:
Michael Bennett was present.
The newly acquired defensive end flew in from Hawaii early Sunday morning and attended Day 4 of training camp.
He thanked head coach Bill Belichick for allowing him to skip the first three days of training camp due to a family issue. Bennett said witnessing that empathy first-hand makes him want to play even harder for Belichick.
Michael Bennett flew in from Hawaii this morning (insert arms tired joke here). Said he appreciates Bill Belichick seeing him as a human as he dealt with a personal matter. #Patriots pic.twitter.com/TFsaNrA5CO
— Jim McBride (@globejimmcbride) July 28, 2019
“I had a personal reason,” Bennett told reporters. “I didn’t retire, I heard everybody said that I retired. I was laughing at home – laughing – like no, I didn’t retire. No, I just had a family issue that I had to go take care of.”
NESN’s Doug Kyed reported that Bennett looked strong in his return to the field in the run and pass game. Bennett said he didn’t feel like he had to make up any ground because of the time he missed, but he’s excited to show his teammates how much he loves the game.
“I grew up and this game has been a part of my life for over 20 years,” said Bennett. “So every time I step on the field and I’ve got teammates who believe in me, I just want to come out and show them that in every single moment, I’m going to try to go as hard as I can.”
Tom Brady and Maurice Harris hooked up for a touchdown.
Quarterback Tom Brady found wide receiver Maurice Harris in the end zone in 11-on-11 action, and Brady reportedly went over to Harris and banged his helmet with both hands to celebrate.
ESPN’s Mike Reiss believes the two are starting to develop a rapport. Harris has stood out so far in training camp, hauling in several passes and perhaps helping his chances of earning Belichick’s trust in the regular season. The 6’3, 205-pound target is entering his fourth year in the NFL after spending the first three with the Washington Redskins.
Tom Brady to Maurice Harris for a touchdown in 11-on-11, and a fired-up Brady comes up to Harris after and bangs his helmet with both hands in celebration. The two developing a bit of a rapport.
— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) July 28, 2019
Brady finished the day 10-of-13 in 11-on-11s and 14-of-17 overall. Hoyer was 7-of-11 with an interception in 11s and 9-of-13 overall. Rookie Jarrett Stidham went 1-of-2 in 11s and 2-of-4 overall. The last play of the day was a touchdown toss from Hoyer to Gunner Olszewski.
Brad Stevens and Jayson Tatum were in the house.
Stevens and Tatum both attended Sunday’s practice.
The head coach walked in alongside the team’s offensive coordinator, and his friend, Josh McDaniels, and both members of the Celtics chatted with head coach Bill Belichick and wide receiver Julian Edelman, among others.
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) July 28, 2019
Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse, who is fresh off an NBA championship, was there as well.
There’s no shortage of height at tackle.
With Isaiah Wynn still limited due to a lingering Achilles injury, and Joe Thuney back at left guard, Dan Skipper and Cedrick Lang reportedly spent significant time at tackle Sunday.
Skipper, a 6’10, 320-pound menace from the University of Arkansas, reportedly saw more first-team reps at left tackle. Lang, a second-year player out of the University of Texas at El Paso who’s not much smaller at 6’7, 300 pounds, got reps at left and right tackle.
It’s unclear whether either will play a role in the regular season, but Kyed called them interesting projects.
N’Keal Harry and Troy Brown are bonding.
First-round draft pick N’Keal Harry and former star Troy Brown have connected during training camp.
He called Brown “one of the greatest” to play in New England and said he’s trying to learn as much from him as possible.
N’Keal Harry says he is trying to learn as much as possible from Troy Brown, and says he is well aware of Brown’s history as one of the Patriots’ all-time great receivers. pic.twitter.com/ZLiuV1pCFP
— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) July 28, 2019
While Harry is 6’4, 225 pounds and Brown was last measured by the NFL at 5’10, 196 pounds, Harry said the relationship has already benefited him greatly.
One thing I noticed about N’Keal Harry today is the Patriots aren’t moving him around much. He usually lines up on the right side, and rarely if ever does pre-snap motion. Patriots are trying not to overwhelm him with too much
— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) July 28, 2019
Julian Edelman is still out.
Though he was present once again, wide receiver Julian Edelman didn’t participate at all.
Edelman – who is dealing with a thumb injury – wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, cornerback Ken Webster, and safety Nate Ebner were reportedly not in uniform.
Patriots training camp Day 4
Absent: Inman, Cowart
PUP: Ebner, Thomas, Ebner, Webster
NFI: Edelman, Cajuste
Red jersey: Chung
— Mark Daniels (@MarkDanielsPJ) July 28, 2019
The Patriots return to the practice field later in the day Monday at a to-be-determined time. Patriots Hall of Fame induction ceremonies for Rodney Harrison and Leon Gray, which are open to the public in the plaza outside the Patriots Hall of Fame, will take place at 4:30 p.m. Belichick is scheduled to speak to the media at 6:15 p.m., and selected players are scheduled to do the same at 8:30 p.m.