On Thursday, the New England Patriots concluded their three-day mandatory minicamp at the practice fields, adjacent to Gillette Stadium. This ‘sneak peek’ at the defending Super Bowl Champions provided a great deal of insight on some Foxborough’s new faces, as well as its familiar ones. With Training Camp set to open in just over a month, the Pats took the field for June’s last mandatory workout.
Here are some of the day’s highlights:
New England Solidarity
In the unlikely event that New Englanders were unaware that their beloved professional hockey team was facing a pivotal Game Five in the Stanley Cup Final tonight, wide receiver Julian Edelman provided an eye-catching reminder. The Super Bowl LIII MVP arrived at practice sporting a number 13 Boston Bruins jersey, which had been personalized for teammate Phillip Dorsett. Quarterback Brian Hoyer and head coach Bill Belichick also wore Bruins hats to practice. Finally, in a show of solidarity between New England captains, quarterback Tom Brady offered his words of encouragement and admiration for Bruins captain Zdeno Chara, who was expected to play in Thursday’s game, despite suffering a severe injury to his jaw in Game Four.
Pats Putting Points on the Board
In addition to being immortalized by teammate Julian Edelman, receiver Phillip Dorsett made the consensus catch of the day. Dorsett got the best of cornerback Joejuan Williams on a corner route to the back of the end zone, despite the rookie providing tight coverage. Dorsett, Edelman as the second receiver and camp standout Maurice Harris spent much of the day as the top three receivers. Harris, who has thoroughly impressed this week, did so again on Thursday when hauling in a deep reception from Tom Brady on a corner route.
Linebacker Jamie Collins seems determined to make the most of his second tour of duty in New England. Known for his athleticism, Collins has looked impressive throughout the course of the three-day camp. For his Day Three highlight, Collins rushed from the edge and batted down a short perimeter throw from Tom Brady.
Not to be outdone, the Patriots defensive backfield had several sinning moments during Thursday’s practice session. Cornerback Stephon Gilmore once again demonstrated his defensive prowess, by batting the ball away from Julian Edelman, after picking up a goal line read. Slot corner Jonathan Jones knocked away a deep ball also intended for Edelman. Cornerback Duke Dawson,capped off a stellar week of practice by breaking up a pass intended for Dorsett on an out-breaking route.
Brady Sets the Record Straight
Following Thursday’s practice, Tom Brady addressed the media for the first time during minicamp. The Patriots quarterback covered a myriad of topics including his absence during OTAs, his contract status and his feelings on the “Tom Terrific” moniker:
On his presence at OTA:
“I have a family at home and I think they get some of my time and energy. My wife is a very ambitious woman and she travels a lot, so just trying to divide some responsibility at home. She supports me a lot, my family supports me a lot and my kids aren’t getting any younger. So just trying to spend the time with them when I can and still get the other things done that I need to get done and be ready to go when it’s time to go.”
On his contract status (Brady is entering the last year of his contract):
“I don’t think about it too much. I think those things work themselves out,”
When he was asked if a contract extension has been negotiated during his visit to Foxborough for minicamp, Brady jokingly replied:
“That’s none of your business,” (laughter) Seriously, I’ve never really talked about my contract or anything like that so I don’t really want to start doing that now,”
On his desire to play football beyond 2019:
“I think you set goals for yourself and you have to have short-term and long-term and the reality is, this year is the most important one and that’s the one that I’m focused on. I hope there is a lot of football beyond this, but it’s a contact sport. I’ve said that for a long time, too, and I don’t think that you can take those things for granted. I try to work hard to put my body in the best position possible to withstand the hits and so forth, make all the throws and I feel like I’m in a good place right now for that.”
On trademarking “Tom Terrific”
“It’s unfortunate. I was actually trying to do something because I didn’t like the nickname and I wanted to make sure no one used it because some people wanted to use it. I was trying to keep people from using it and then it got spun around to something different than what it was. Lesson learned and I’ll try to do things a little different in the future.”
Brady made it clear that he had no intention of besmirching neither Seaver’s name, nor his legacy. His decision to file for the trademark was made to prevent people from calling him “Tom Terrific.” Brady said:
“I didn’t want people associating me with that. It’s something I didn’t want to have happen. I don’t like the nickname. I don’t like when people probably give me many nice compliments, certainly that. It wasn’t something I was trying to do out of any disrespect or any ill manner.”
Brady finished minicamp with a stat line of 28-of-42 passing in 11-on-11 drills. He was 40-of-57 passion overall.
The Patriots have two additional Organized Team Activities (OTAs) scheduled for Monday and Tuesday. Following those practices, the team will adjourn for the summer They will reconvene for Training Camp in July.
–Mike D’Abate is a Managing Editor and National Columnist for Full Press Coverage Sports Media. He covers the New England Patriots and provides NFL editorial content. Follow him on Twitter @mdabateFPC