New England Patriots Training Camp Takeaways – August 12, 2018

New England Patriots Training Camp Takeaways

Following their 26-17 preseason win against the Washington Redskins, the New England Patriots returned to work. With several roster battles still remaining, the Patriots underwent the first of three consecutive open practices on Sunday. Here are the New England Patriots training camp takeaways from their August 12th practice session.

August 12, 2018 – New England Patriots Training Camp Takeaways

Tom Brady Is Fine

Some minor panic surrounded Patriot Nation when it was announced that Tom Brady was suffering from a minor back injury. However, Brady put all those fears behind him during practice.

While the Patriots never officially gave an update on Brady’s back, the actions spoke louder than words. Brady took a heavy workload today and reportedly looked like his typical self. As long as Brady is healthy, all is well in Foxboro.

Marcus Cannon Will Be Fine Soon

All the way back on August 1st, starting right tackle Marcus Cannon was forced out of practice with an undisclosed injury. At the time, it wasn’t seen as anything major, and ESPN’s Mike Reiss stated that there was no reason for long-term concern.

Fast forward almost two weeks, and Cannon still has yet to return to practice. The Patriots organization, unsurprisingly, has remained quiet on the state of his injury. However, The Athletic‘s Jeff Howe reported that Cannon is still on pace to return for the regular season opener, if not sooner.

Isaiah Wynn Drives Up the Depth Chart

In a somewhat related matter, first-round pick Isaiah Wynn saw time with the starting offense at the right tackle position. While Trent Brown is firmly entrenched at left tackle, swing tackle LaAdrian Waddle had seen the lions share of the right tackle snaps with Cannon sidelined.

Wynn’s ceiling is considerably higher than Waddle, but Waddle has shown the ability to get the job done in the past. If Wynn has already passed Waddle on the depth chart, it means that Wynn is ahead of schedule in his development. Even if Cannon can’t come back soon, Patriots fans should rest easy knowing that the coaches trust Isaiah Wynn to keep Tom Brady upright.

A New Running Back Injury

The Patriots added a new name to the injury list, as running back Rex Burkhead missed Sunday’s practice session. Burkhead didn’t see any snaps in Thursday’s preseason game, so the source of this injury is unknown. Additionally, the Patriots have not released any information regarding the nature or severity of the injury.

Burkhead and Sony Michel entered training camp as the top two backs, and now both aren’t practicing. This opens the door for players like Jeremy Hill and Ralph Webb to make their case for the roster. If these injuries are considered serious, the Patriots could carry an extra running back on their Week One roster.

A Series of Receivers Impress

Wide receiver is arguably the weakest position on the roster when factoring in Julian Edelman’s four-game suspension. Fortunately, Kenny Britt returned to practice and reportedly put on a good show. The 10th-year wide receiver started camp on the Physically Unable to Perform list but officially returned to action last Monday. Britt showed good chemistry with Brady in minicamp, and Brady could use every reliable weapon he can get.

Braxton Berrios, meanwhile, reportedly had a good day as well. The sixth-round rookie has the opportunity to win the starting slot role outright with a strong camp, and he continued to help his case in Sunday’s practice.

According to reporters onsite, Berrios managed to haul in a difficult one-handed pass midway through practice. By all accounts, this wasn’t an easy catch and was of the more impressive plays of the day. Additionally, Berrios dove out and caught two more difficult passes.

Devin Lucien also made some impressive deep receptions from quarterback Danny Etling. Combined with his strong preseason opener, Lucien now has an outside shot of making the opening day roster. Another strong week or two of camp and he could earn one of the last spots.

Eric Decker Struggles

While the aforementioned three receivers performed well, the newest Patriot receiver did not. Wide receiver Eric Decker reportedly had multiple drops and struggled with communication in a side session with the quarterbacks.

Decker had a disappointing 2017 and isn’t the player he once was. If he can’t get on the on the same page with the quarterbacks, he doesn’t offer any unique to the team. Despite the name recognition, don’t count Eric Decker as a roster lock.

Ja’Whaun Bentley Shines

Ja’Whaun Bentley was one of the brightest stars in the Patriots first preseason game of the season, recording 11 total tackles. The Patriots rewarded this strong performance by rotating Bentley in with the first-team defense.

While he was still third (at best) on the pecking order, this is obviously good news for Bentley. The depth behind linebackers Dont’a Hightower and Kyle Van Noy is highly questionable, so there’s certainly a spot available for Bentley should he continue to shine.

Jason McCourty Has His Best Practice

Jason McCourty hasn’t stuck out much during the early weeks of Patriots training camp. Acquired from the Browns for a seventh-round draft pick, McCourty has been outplayed by fellow cornerback Eric Rowe for the majority of camp.

However, McCourty had his best practice of the season on Sunday. The 10th-year cornerback broke up two passes during Sunday’s practice, including a slant intended for wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson. Hopefully, McCourty can continue to build on this positive outing.

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