Patriots training camp observations, Day 6: Cam Newton wins first day of full pads


FOXBOROUGH — Tuesday was a day many looked forward to, the first day of full pads for the Patriots on the upper grass fields behind Gillette Stadium.

The close to two-hour session had a big run-game focus and allowed the linemen to hit each other for the first time.

In terms of attendance, there was one change from Monday as after getting banged up during a 11-on-11 drill, defensive tackle Henry Anderson was not in attendance. Here is the full list of players not spotted besides Anderson: QB Jarrett Stidham, CB Stephon Gilmore, TE Dalton Keene, EDGE Chase Winovich, LB Cameron McGrone, LB Terez Hall, S Joshuah Bledsoe, OL Ted Karras, TE Devin Asiasi and DL Byron Cowart.

Kyle Van Noy continues to wear a red non-contact jersey.

Here’s our observations from the session.

— With there being a lot of focus on the run game, the quarterbacks didn’t get as many competitive reps as we’ve seen in recent days. With that being said, there was a clear edge to Cam Newton on Tuesday. He had arguably his best throw of the summer — a 50ish-yard touchdown strike to Nelson Agholor over Kyle Dugger. This was the play of the day.

— Newton had another nice connection with Jonnu Smith for a touchdown in 11-on-11 work. It was a nice grab by the tight end, as he was able to get both feet in bounds. The two of them getting on the same page is big for the offense. The same goes for Hunter Henry, who had a touchdown grab from Newton.

— Meanwhile, it was not the greatest day for Jones. The rookie threw his first interception of training camp. The throw was intended for Kendrick Bourne over the middle and linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley dropped back into coverage for an easy pick. Jones almost threw another one later in the practice, but Anfernee Jennings dropped it. He did several push-ups afterwards.

— Newton continues to have a consistent training camp, which is what is giving him the edge over Jones. It will be interesting to see if this trend continues now that the pads have come on. It will also be good to see how Jones bounces back Wednesday, as this was his worst practice of the summer.

— At one point Newton asked the crowd to make noise and challenged the different sides of the stands to make the most noise. Newton has been very involved with the crowd through the first week, something he could not do last year.

— Bill Belichick gathered the team for a full-team pep talk at the start of the practice. It appeared to be related to the pads coming on and perhaps looking out for each other when it comes to hits. A full referee crew led by Clete Blakeman was on site.

— New linebacker Raekwon McMillan got banged up in a special teams drill about two-thirds through the session and left the field with a trainer. Rookie defensive lineman Christian Barmore appeared to injure his foot late in the session during 11-on-11 work. He got some treatment from head trainer Jim Whalen and afterwards limped back to the rest of the defense. While he was on the ground for several minutes, it did not appear to be overly serious.

— With the pads coming on for the first time, it meant lots of 1-on-1s at several positions. In terms of wide receivers, N’Keal Harry and Kendrick Bourne stood out. Harry also got some 1-on-1 attention from Belichick at one point.

— There were lots of laps run by the linemen during their 1-on-1s relating to offsides and false starts penalties. This indicates things were not very sharp. Players who stood out included Josh Uche, Trent Brown, Deatrich Wise, Barmore and Bentley. Players who struggled included Will Sherman, R.J. Prince and Yodny Cajuste.

— Matt Judon had a nice first day in pads, as he was solid in 1-on-1s and would have sacked Newton on one play as he got into the backfield with ease.

— Rookie running back Rhamondre Stevenson made his presence felt by running over cornerback Myles Bryant in 11-on-11 work. With the pads on, you could hear the bang from the media tent. While Damien Harris remains in line to be the lead back, Sony Michel has put together a few nice days.

— Tedy Bruschi was a visitor for the second time this summer. He spent a lot of time talking with Matt Patricia. It was also notable to see him spending some 1-on-1 time with rookie linebacker Ronnie Perkins after the practice going over technique.

— Robert Kraft was an observer at the session and spent time mingling with a number of players and coaches.

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