Patriots minicamp observations: Mac Jones progresses, while Cam Newton struggles


FOXBOROUGH — The Patriots had their first of three scheduled minicamp sessions Monday morning on the upper grass fields behind Gillette Stadium, which took place in a steady rain for the entirety of the two-plus hour session.

In terms of attendance, the team got number of players back who did not participate in the voluntary workouts this spring. Some of the players spotted for the first time Monday included James White, Sony Michel, Brandon Bolden, Lawrence Guy, Isaiah Wynn, Jonnu Smith and Nick Folk.

There were a few players missing, none bigger than cornerback Stephon Gilmore, who it appears will not be attending at all this week. While it isn’t officially a “holdout,” it does seem to be contract related since he’s only scheduled to have a base salary of $7 million.

Here’s the full list of players who were not seen: Gilmore, Chase Winovich, Byron Cowart, Terez Hall and Rashod Berry.

Also, two players were in for tryouts — a wide receiver (No. 87) and an offensive lineman (No. 63.

Here are our observations from the session.

— In terms of quarterback play, the rain certainly played a role, but it was evident that the elements had more of an impact on Cam Newton than the other three players at the position. The veteran was erratic and had a number of overthrows, which included in both 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 work, as well as goal-line throws. Newton did miss the last week with a hand injury, but he wasn’t wearing a brace or anything like that.

— Mac Jones and Jarrett Stidham were not as bothered by the elements and made several strong, accurate passes, particularly in 11-on-11 work. In terms of reps, Newton led off every drill with Jones going second and Stidham third. It was a lighter day for Brian Hoyer as he was skipped over on a few occasions.

— Specific to Jones, he is showing signs of progress when it comes to being comfortable with the offense and taking more chances with throws down the field.

— Stidham had the throw of the day, although it was incomplete intended for Nelson Agohlor. The speedy receiver ran a go-route up the left side in 11-on-11 work and Stidham threw a very nice ball roughy 40 yards downfield, but it fell off his fingertips.

— Hoyer threw an interception on his first pass in 11-on-11 work. Kyle Van Noy had it and trash-talked the offense afterwards, including tossing the ball in the direction of Stidham and the other Patriots QBs.

— Overall, the defense got into the backfield a lot in 11-on-11 work, which would have resulted in several sacks if hitting/tackling was allowed.

— Jakobi Meyers was the best receiver on the field, which has been the case for the majority of the spring.

— Newcomer Kendrick Bourne has been battling the drops this spring and it continued Monday. This is something to watch as the summer progresses as it was an issue with the 49ers, too. Isaiah Zuber took a step back after a solid session last week. N’Keal Harry was more involved than he was in last week’s session open to the media, which is a good thing, but he still isn't showing up as much as many would like.

— With Wynn back in action, the Patriots had him at left tackle, Trent Brown at right tackle and then Michael Onwenu, David Andrews and Shaq Mason inside. Ted Karras saw time at both left guard and center.

— In terms of filling in for Gilmore, JC Jackson and Jalen Mills saw the most action at corner. One player to keep an eye on is Michael Jackson Sr., who has had a nice spring and will certainly be competing for a roster spot at the position come training camp.

-- The Patriots worked on field goals at the end of the session and even with the rainy conditions, Bill Belichick dumped water on the football at one point to make it harder on long-snapper Joe Cardona and holder Jake Bailey.

— Ernie Adams was once again present and at one point in 11-on-11 work had a long conversation with Newton going over what he was seeing.

The Patriots are scheduled for two more minicamp practices, Tuesday and Wednesday.