FOXBORO -- We typically reserve our Postcard series for training camp, but we figured why not fire it up for three days of minicamp? This way you know exactly where to get a look at all of our observations from the fields behind Gillette Stadium this week.
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WHO WAS THERE
Tom Brady was present and accounted for at Day 1 of his team's mandatory workouts. He bounced up the steps alongside fullback James Develin, officially embarking on his twentieth year of practices with the Patriots. He wore a smile and was audibly engaged during drills. Ryan Allen, who missed the OTA practice open to reporters two weeks ago, was back. Isaiah Wynn, Michael and Kyle Van Noy, also missing from the last open session
WHO WAS NOT
Austin Seferian-Jenkins was not around for the first day of minicamp. It'll be interesting to if he's left behind at all at a pretty wide open tight end position group whenever he does make his way back. Sony Michel, Yodny Cajuste and Demaryius Thomas (who's still recovering from a torn Achilles) were also absent from the session.
Robert Kraft was out on the field early on. Additionally, the University of Iowa football program had several staffers making a visit to town to take in the proceedings. Hawkeyes head coach Kirk Ferentz has a relationship with Bill Belichick that extends back to their days in Cleveland when Ferentz was an assistant under Belichick. Ferentz's son James is one of two former Iowa players (along with Cole Croston) on the Patriots roster. Brian Ferentz, now the offensive coordinator at Iowa, was the tight ends coach for the Patriots in 2011. Troy Brown and Deion Branch were in attendance as well, continuing the run of former Patriots chipping in as assistants this spring. Two weeks ago, at the OTA open to reporters, Brown and Kevin Faulk were in attendance.
FAKE FOOTBALL, REAL NOTES
We've got our first Gillette Stadium practice-field hangout between Tom Brady and N'Keal Harry. During a punt-focused practice period, Brady pulled aside Harry, Ben Watson and James White to work on some red-zone passing. Brian Hoyer was also mingling with the group.
Brady later missed a quick slant to Harry during a team period in what was their first attempted connection against some defense. Their next attempted hookup -- a deep ball down the sideline with Harry in tight coverage -- bounced off of Harry's outstretched fingertips. Late in the practice, during a period in which defensive players didn't seem to be contesting passes, Brady hit Harry near the sideline for a good gain on a ball that was placed between a safety and cornerback. Brady hit Harry again deep down the field in an uncontested situation. In one of Brady's last attempts to Harry, Harry tried to make a diving grab near the sideline. It wasn't completed, and Harry remained on the turf, face down for a moment, apparently a little frustrated with himself.
Harry did not field punt during that period despite working with the punt returners in the last open OTA session. Julian Edelman, Braxton Berrios, Phillip Dorsett, Maurice Harris and Gunner Olszewski were among the punt return men Tuesday. Troy Brown and Deion Branch seemed to be coaching up the return men during one punt period.
Berrios made the catch of the day when he laid out, fully extended, to reel in a Brian Hoyer pass floated deep down the sideline. The reception got a huge reception from teammates immediately after the fact. It'll be hard to top that one this week.
The longest completion Brady made was on a throw down the sideline to Harris, who got a step on Duron Harmon.
No pads, as is always the case during minicamp, so the offensive line wasn't much of a focus Tuesday. It was worth noting, however, that Joe Thuney continues to get reps at left tackle with Wynn unavailable for drills and Cajuste missing. That was the case at the open OTA session two weeks ago. Thuney, who did not miss a snap at left guard last year, played some left tackle at NC State.
Jarrett Stidham throws a good-looking football, but he has to have possession of it before he can launch it. One David Andrews snaps sailed off of Stidham and rolled around behind him late in the practice, earning both players laps.
Andrew Beck, the undrafted rookie who received the largest signing bonus among this year's rookie free agent class, worked out as a fullback during a brief running game period. James Develin and Jakob Johnson were also leading the way for backs during that stretch.
James White (off a Jarrett Stidham throw), N'Keal Harry (off of a Brian Hoyer toss that was thrown slightly behind) and Ben Watson (from Tom Brady) all had drops in team periods. Jakobi Meyers had a touchdown along the back end line glance off his hands when Stidham sent one his way. Jake Bailey also muffed a snap during one punt period.
Brian Hoyer had one pass batted at the line by Kyle Van Noy that was snagged by Ja'Whaun Bentley for a pick. JC Jackson nearly had a pick of Hoyer later in the workout. Keion Crossen had a nice pass breakup on Stidham soon thereafter.
Most Patriots rolled down to "The Hills" (or "Mount Belichick") after the workout for some conditioning. Edelman, Harry, Dorsett and Burkhead got reps off the JUGS machine as punt-returners. Matthew Slater, Keion Crossen, Joe Cardona, Duke Dawson, Brandon King, Brandon Bolden, Calvin Munson and Terrence Brooks worked with Joe Judge as coverage players.
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