Friday Patriots training camp observations: What to take away from 'game simulation'


FOXBOROUGH -- On Friday afternoon, the Patriots held a "game simulation" inside Gillette Stadium.

The team tried to simulate a game as much as possible with substitutions, communication between the coaches and players with headsets, crowd noise, breaks, etc. The only thing missing was the actual play itself, as even though there was a Team Blue vs. Team White, it was essentially a walkthrough as there were no competitive plays. 

In terms of attendance, Chase Winovich, Cassh Maluia,Will Hastings and Lamar Miller (PUP) were not out there at all, while Allen, Devin McCourty, Adrian Phillips and Michael Jackson did not participate. This was Allen's first time on the field all summer.

Jakobi Meyers participated, but wore a red, non-contact jersey.

Here are some quick observations.

-- Cam Newton led Team Blue and here are some of the players he was working with: Julian Edelman, Mohamed Sanu, N’Keal Harry, Isaiah Zuber, Sony Michel, James White, J.J. Taylor, Ryan Izzo, Dalton Keene and Jakob Johnson. Also, Josh McDaniels was calling the plays for Team Blue, so this gave the two a good chance to communicate with one another in a game-like situation. This included talking on the sideline in between drives.

-- Team White had Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer share quarterback duties and here are the playmakers they had: Rex Burkhead, Damien Harris, Gunner Olszewski, Jakobi Meyers and Devin Asiasi.

-- The defense was split relatively evenly.

-- As for reps, Newton got six series, while Stidham and Hoyer each got 2.5. The half came when Hoyer pretended to go down with an ankle injury, which forced Stidham to hurry onto the field. The team really left no stone unturned in terms of what could come up in a game.

-- After suffering an injury Thursday, Joe Thuney was on the field, but he had his left wrist heavily wrapped.

-- The kickers probably had the most realistic day as this was the first time they kicked inside the stadium. Nick Folk hit from 50 yards out and missed wide right from 48 yard out. Meanwhile, Justin Rohrwasser was 2-for-5 with his three misses being from 49 yards and up. It is worth noting Bill Belichick iced him on two of them by blowing the whistle right before the ball was snapped.

-- There was crowd noise pumped in, which sounded a lot like a baseball crowd in between pitches. It didn't sound all that great, but it could be the new normal this season. In addition, music was played in between possessions and following scores.

-- The coaching staff got a ton of valuable work from communicating on the headsets to even looking at the tablets on the sideline in between series. With no preseason games, the coaching staff will not get any chance to practice game-like situations, so this was as close as it will come.

-- It appears Friday was the last training camp practice open to the media. The team is off Saturday.