10 takeaways from Patriots training camp: DeVante Parker dominates the red zone, Matt Patricia has the walkie-talkie


FOXBOROUGH — Day one of training camp is in the books…done.

New England returned to the backfields of Gillette Stadium for a 75-minute session to get their feet wet, and the biggest storylines were a veteran receiver shining in the red zone and an assistant coach with a walkie-talkie who seemed to be calling the offense.

So without further ado, here are the top 10 takeaways from summer training camp:

1. Patricia has the walkie

The Patriots coaches didn’t have headsets on Wednesday morning, but for every (somewhat) competitive offensive period, Matt Patricia picked up a walkie-talkie to relay plays in the huddle for Mac Jones. Although listed as a line coach, it is becoming more and more likely that Patricia is coordinating the overall attack.

At the training points, Patricia worked with other parts of the attack while Billy Yates supervised the line. It could also be the case on game days, as Patricia moves into a call-to-play role while Yates is in constant contact with the linemen. Trent Brown said he doesn’t mind the new dynamic at all.

“AIO: Adapt, improvise, overcome,” the tackle said. “Whoever’s there, we have to listen, pay attention and write down all the details… (Yates) has played here, he knows everything we’re supposed to do and how it’s supposed to be done. The patriot way.

2. DeVante dominates the red zone

Although it wasn’t an intense practice – the players only wore helmets and shorts – DeVante Parker was the star of the day, especially in the red zone. He used his 6-foot-3, 220-pound frame to catch a pair of touchdown passes in 7-on-7 drills, and sprinted to the stands after beating Jack Jones and tapping his toes into the confines of the second, electrifying the crowd. He also added a third touchdown later in the session.

“Shout to him he’s doing really well, he’s adjusting well to the team, he’s fitting in well,” Kendrick Bourne said. “It’s exciting to see.”

It’s (very, very) early, but Parker looks like the player the Patriots hoped N’Keal Harry would be: a wide player who’ll go down with popped balls.

3. Mac gets in on the action

On the subject of Patriots emotion, Jones was feisty after his final practice-ending touchdown pass to Nelson Agholor. With Malcolm Butler on cover, Agholor stepped on a fade and Jones placed a touchdown ball perfectly.

Attack and defense had been betting push-ups on the play, as the defensive players hit the turf, Jones sprinted across the pitch screaming as he searched for Agholor. He’s clearly getting more and more comfortable being himself in his second season – and the crowd ate him up.

4. Clubhouse leaders revealed

Defensive positional battles will rage on for months to come, but to open camp on Wednesday, Terrance Mitchell and Jalen Mills started at outside cornerback with Shaun Wade in the slot. Jonathan Jones is currently on the PUP roster, so it will be interesting to see who he moves when he returns. He’s been one of the best slot corners in the league for years, but if Bill Belichick thinks he’s got more value on the outside, maybe he’s walking away. As an inside linebacker, Raekwon McMillan was given the go-ahead alongside Ja’Whaun Bentley.

5. Kendrick catches punts

With a vacancy after Gunner Olszewski left for Pittsburgh, Kendrick Bourne was back to catching punts again, alongside Kyle Dugger, Tre Nixon, Marcus Jones and Jack Jones. It’s intriguing to see Bourne and Dugger getting significant reps there, as they’re also expected to both play significant roles in the first three tries.

6. Tackles remain reversed

Trent Brown again protected Mac Jones’ blind spot at left tackle, while Isaiah Wynn was on the right.

“I feel like home,” Brown said. “Feeling like home. »

Brown said there were no talks of the switch during free agency and he was happy to play wherever the team needed him. James Ferentz took reps at center with David Andrews on the PUP roster, while Cole Strange and Michael Onwenu were back on guard.

7. No surprise absence

All of the Patriots missing Wednesday had already been placed on a reserve list.

PUPPIES: Jonathan Jones, David Andrews, James White, Jabrill Peppers.

IFN: Myles Bryant, Chasen Hines, Andrew Steuber, Jake Bailey.

Pierre Strong was also a limited participant; he trotted to the lower fields at the start of the session.

8. It’s not Groundhog Day

Bill Murray was trying something new when training camp opened. A defensive lineman on the practice squad for the past two seasons, Murray went on offense and wore number 62. He didn’t see many reps during squad periods, but stepped in in custody with a placement unit.

One of the hardest workers on the roster – Murray constantly stays late after practice for extra work – it wouldn’t be surprising if he could work his way unorthodox to the 53-man roster as a reserve offensive.

9. New Helmets

Sometimes the Patriots looked like a pack of turtles – and it had nothing to do with their speed. The team is sporting new-looking protective shells on the helmets of players who see a lot of contact during training. Seems like a smart way to limit head injuries, but it will take some getting used to.

10. No superyacht here

As Washington commanders Dan Snyder cruised international waters, Robert Kraft watched his team’s first day of practice from the sidelines. At 81, Kraft seems more intrigued than ever by what this new Patriots season will bring.

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