With all eyes (or eyez) on Cam Newton, the Patriots started Day 2 of camp with some 2Pac on the soundtrack, with “Ambitionz Az A Ridah” and “2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted” (featuring Snoop Dogg, of course) blaring. Newton appeared to approve.
Julian Edelman, who made one of the top plays of Day 1, was limited, leaving shortly after practice started for an undisclosed reason. Ditto for fellow receiver Will Hastings. Rookie linebacker Anfernee Jennings, nose tackle Beau Allen, rookie receiver Jeff Thomas, and running backs Sony Michel (foot/PUP) and Lamar Miller (knee/PUP) all were absent for the second straight day. Defensive lineman Tashawn Bower was the only new player unaccounted for.
DRESS CODE: Full pads.
Much like Monday, the coaching staff spread out the first-rotation reps, with Jarrett Stidham, Brian Hoyer, and Newton all taking turns going first in different sessions.
It was a rough day for Stidham, who was picked off three times, once during 11-on-11s and on back-to-back plays during seven-on-sevens.
Michael Jackson got Stidham first, stepping in front of a pass down the right sideline intended for Damiere Byrd. Bad read by Stidham, nice reaction by Jackson, though we’ll stop short of calling it a thriller. (I’ll show myself out.)
Reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore victimized Stidham next, beating Devin Ross on a medium middle route. Rookie safety Kyle Dugger got Stidham on the next snap, skying to grab another sideline route to Byrd. Dugger’s instincts, tracking, and athleticism really stand out.
Unofficially, Stidham was 8 of 11.
Newton showed a little more zip during both individual and team drills. He overthrew Byrd on a deep route, but the arm strength was a good sign. He showed nice mobility and accuracy on a designed rollout, firing the ball across his body on a sideline route that glanced off Gunner Olszewski’s fingers.
Unofficially, Newton was 9 of 12, with two drops.
Hoyer had a nice day, connecting on deep passes to Olszewski and then a highlight bomb to Ross, who laid out to make a diving catch. Newton came over and fist-bumped Hoyer after the Olszewski bomb. He also hit Dalton Keene on a crossing route that prompted a hearty “Yeah, Hoyster!” from an unidentified teammate (though that is Newton’s official nickname for his fellow signal caller).
Unofficially, Hoyer was 9 of 11.
GOAL TO GO
Prior to heading to the conditioning hill, the Patriots ended the day with some goal line work, which led to some of the biggest reactions of the day.
Rex Burkhead muscled his way into the end zone on back-to-back plays, flipping to ball to the goal post in celebration on one and being mobbed by his mates on another. Newton hit Damien Harris (nifty fingertip concentration catch) and Devin Asiasi on a nice rollout for another TD before the defense closed out the drill by turning back Harris.
· Rookie linebacker Josh Uche had another strong day, timing a blitz perfectly that would have destroyed a draw in a real game. Defenders can hit the backs, but the general rule of thumb is to let them stay on their feet.
· John Simon, one of the club’s best edge-setters, crashed in and would have had a sack, but eased up.
· Tight end Alex Ellis made a nice diving catch of a Brian Lewerke throw against the first-team defense.
· Ross made a nifty sideline catch before sliding/crashing into the boards along the fence. He popped right up, however, and somewhere Bruce Cassidy was smiling.
ODDS AND ENDS
· Kicker Justin Rohrwasser and Hastings again were the first up on the practice field.
· Right tackle Jermaine Eluemunor (6 feet 4 inches, 335 pounds) and running back J.J. Taylor (5-6, 185) look funny standing next to each other, both in white No. 72 jerseys.
· Coach Jedd Fisch had an early tutorial with the quarterbacks, emphasizing footwork and release, going over things after each throw.
· Fullback Jakob Johnson is no stranger to throwing his weight around, but his athleticism is underrated, and he made some nice catches during individual drills.
· Rookie linebacker Keene ran through linebacker Terez Hall during individual battles.
· The Patriots worked on kickoffs for the first time, with Dugger and Olszewski also taking the reps.
· On punt returns, Olszewski, Taylor, and Isaiah Zuber took turns.
· It was reminiscent of a four-ring circus near the end of the session when the club worked on field goals (no actual kicks, however), the QBs and receivers worked end zone fades and back-shoulder grabs, the defensive backs laid out for interceptions landing on gymnastics pads, and the linemen belting the sleds simultaneously.
Wednesday: 9:15 a.m.