The Patriots held their first training camp practice inside Gillette Stadium on Monday, in order to get used to being under the Foxboro lights.
In addition to the new scenery, New England also had the best moment of camp thus far with Isaiah Wynn completing a task given to him by Bill Belichick to field a punt cleanly at the end of practice. If he did, then Tuesday’s practice would be canceled. After missing the first attempt, the Gillette Stadium crowd cheered for Belichick to give Wynn another shot and was able to come up with it to the jubilation of his teammates.
The in-stadium practice was open to season ticket holders and Foxboro residents as a sort of a tip of the cap to the local community and the fans who are at every home game. 17,425 fans showed up for the session.
Jordan Matthews was absent on Monday due to a hamstring injury. However, his condition isn’t too serious as it has been reported that the wide out is set to miss just a couple of days as he recovers.
Rex Burkhead has thrown his hat inside the punt returning competition as he joined the unit consisting of Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan, Patrick Chung, Braxton Berrios and Riley McCarron. The Patriots are giving Burkhead a chance in order to have someone on the opening 53-man roster who has experience fielding punts.
Ryan Lewis was among those who really stood out on Monday night. Along with intercepting Tom Brady, Lewis was also able to breakup a Brian Hoyer sideline pass intended for Julian Edelman.
Danny Etling kept struggling with accuracy, specifically in the short passing game. However, he did complete his best thrown ball of camp to Devin Lucien during the Monday session for the score.
Patriots’ new safety, Eddie Pleasant, made a pretty good first impression, rotating in with the starting unit, which is a great sign for his chances of making the opening 53-man roster.
Deatrich Wise – who has been making noise since camp opened – and his 2017 draft-mate Derek Rivers earned coach Bill Belichick’s praises.
“Nobody works harder than Deatrich and Derek,” Belichick said. “Those two kids are here all the time. They’re the first ones in and the last ones out. They’re extremely diligent, hard workers in the weight room, in the classroom (and) on the field.”
Phillip Dorsett continues to be one of the bigger surprises of camp, working as more of an inside receiver, rather than as a typical deep threat.