1. Anyone who has watched Tom Brady and Cam Newton play knows they are two completely different quarterbacks. Newton likes to make plays with his feet, while Brady is purely a drop-back passer. Just by watching training camp practices the last two weeks, those differences are abundantly clear, but two other differences have emerged. Julian Edelman’s comments on The Greg Hill Show Friday stood out. Edelman was asked about working with Newton, especially when the two aren’t on the same page with something. “I think it’s an open forum with him," he said. "‘Hey, what do you see here, what do you see there.’ I have played a lot of football in this league too, and he’s played a lot of football. It’s more of a team — ‘What do you see here? I think here is this, that.’ It’s pretty cool, I guess.” With Brady, it was always more of what he wanted and what he believed. Another thing that has been noticeable is how Newton addresses the media compared to Brady. With Brady, it was cliche after cliche and very rarely was anything truly learned. Often times you had to try and read in between the lines to figure out exactly how Brady was feeling. Newton is the exact opposite as he’s extremely genuine and shows a personality. This week Newton was asked about the state of the country and he gave a long, thought out, real answer. That would have never happened with Brady, as he often shied away from giving a real opinion/thoughtful answer when it comes to things outside of football. No one expected the two to be the same, but those are two big differences that should continue to play out over the course of the season.
2. While the quarterback competition is what everyone wants to talk about with the Patriots, the competition with the running backs is the real one. With Sony Michel coming off PUP this week, Damien Harris, Rex Burkhead and Michel are all competing for carries. Harris made the most of his increased reps with Michel sidelined, proving he’s deserving of playing time after only getting into two games last season. He’s more similar to Burkhead with his ability to make cuts, as well as catching passes out of the backfield. From our perspective, Harris should be given the opportunity to be the lead back, but we won’t really know until Week 1 against Miami.
3. N’Keal Harry is one of the most intriguing players on the Patriots roster. One word to describe him over the last two weeks has been inconsistent. He missed a few practices, struggled the day he returned, and then had two of his best training camp practices on back-to-back days. The second-year wide out made several nice catches on jump-balls and then on some back-shoulder throws. Clearly, he has the talent, it’s just a matter of putting it all together every single day. It is also worth noting several Patriots defensive backs seemed to be able to get under his skin with trash-talk this week. We’ll see if that continues with opposing defensive backs once the games start.
4. Friday’s “game simulation” inside Gillette Stadium wasn’t just for the players. In fact, it may have been more beneficial for the coaches and support staff. Everything that happens during a game was in place, including coaches using headsets, coaches looking at the tablets in between series, crowd noise along with music being played inside the stadium, even players getting water on the sideline and on the field during timeouts. With no preseason games, there will be no chance to practice any of these things before Week 1, so doing this made a ton of sense.
5. One player who has done a lot for himself over the last week or so is safety Terrence Brooks. He’s made a number of plays in the secondary and is making a solid run at earning a potential starting role at the position. Adrian Phillips not getting on the field at all is another thing helping his cause. We'll see how things play out.
6. Two positions to keep an eye on following rosters getting trimmed down next weekend are tight end and wide receiver. The Patriots certainly will be keeping an eye on players released at these positions across the league and could add one or two, especially at tight end when there are really just rookies in the mix, along with Ryan Izzo. Also, do not rule out a potential trade to add a veteran at either of these spots.
7. Sunday afternoon’s practice will be the last session open in full to the media this year. Beginning Monday, it will be a regular-season like setup when the media is only allowed to see the first few minutes of practice, which is just enough to take attendance. The Patriots, and every other team in the NFL, will need to cut their roster down to 53 players by Saturday at 4 p.m.