While there might have been a rainstorm today in Foxboro, it didn't slow down the Patriots. Training camp was a wild ride, as Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett both got fired up, Chris Hogan left practice with an injury, and rookie Malcolm Mitchell returned and impressed.
From the start to the end of practice, the rain was coming down hard. At certain points, the turf was like a slip-n-slide. However, nothing could stop the tight end duo of Gronk and Bennett. Both scored a TD, with Gronk hauling in two, and hyped up the crowd with their celebrations. At one point Gronkowski ran along the grandstand with his finger raised, and later in the practice Bennett imitated him, working the crowd as Gronk ran out for a celebratory chest-bump. Even rookie Bryce Williams got in on the fun, as he scored a TD and immediately got a bear hug from Gronk. If you haven't gotten the memo already, Rob pretty much ran the practice.
On a worse note, new wideout Chris Hogan appeared to injure his shoulder early in the practice and left. He initially tweaked it in a 1-on-1 blocking drill, and tried to tough it out but ended up sitting the rest of the day out. While it doesn't seem that serious, it is interesting considering how the injuries keep piling up for the Pats. Along with Hogan, Jonathan Cooper, Shaq Mason, Josh Kline, Keshawn Martin, and Bryan Stork were all absent because of injuries, and that doesn't include all the players who aren't participating due to injury rehab (Dion Lewis, Danny Amendola, Clay Harber, Tre' Jackson). Hopefully those players return in the coming weeks, but in the meantime the Patriots are running shorthanded.
Finally, a trio of names returned to camp today, including two rookies: DT Vincent Valentine, RB Brandon Bolden, and WR Malcolm Mitchell. In particular, Mitchell performed very well, catching multiple passes each from Tom Brady and Jacoby Brissett. At one point, he made a nice grab in traffic from Brady, and he even caught the future Hall-of-Famer's last two passes of the day. If he can continue to grasp the playbook and maintain his solid hands and savvy route-running, he could become one of Brady's favorite targets this year.
Overall, it was a muddy but productive day for New England at training camp. If the team keeps up the happy-go-lucky attitude and the outstanding production on both sides of the ball, the sky is the limit this season.
Via The Boston Herald
Photos courtesy 24/7 Sports and ESPN
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