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    Patriots Minicamp Observations: Drake Maye Scuffles but Finishes Strong in Final Practice

    Let's look at top storylines from the final practice of New England Patriots minicamp, including stats for QBs Drake Maye and Jacoby Brissett.

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    Published on June 12, 2024 | 2:28 PM EDT

    FOXBORO, Mass. — Just like that, New England Patriots minicamp is over.

    After canceling Tuesday’s practice, the Patriots returned Wednesday morning for a relatively short practice. There was a heavy focus on live team drills, with the young offense once again struggling against New England’s advanced, veteran-laden defense. It was a sloppy day for Jacoby Brissett and Drake Maye, though Maye finished on a high note.

    Let’s get into everything we saw Wednesday morning, including the latest on New England’s quarterback competition.

    Patriots Minicamp Practice Report | June 12

    Jerod Mayo Press Conference

    On Wednesday Tom Brady Hall of Fame ceremony: “They had something last night (Tuesday); I know a lot of guys went out there and caught up with Tom, but I’m excited to see him. I’m excited for the event today.”

    On Maye’s development: “He’s done a great job. He’s going the right direction. Now, in saying that, we know there are going to be some down days. That’s one thing that I’ve been trying to stress to him is, ‘Alright, just keep chipping at the rock, get 1% better every day.’ It’s not always going to be great. He’s done a good job.”

    On Sione Takitaki and his undisclosed injury: “It’s been great having Takitaki here. I’ve actually watched him the last two years. It was always that, ‘Man, this is a good guy to have.’ He’s good to be around. He understands the defense, the X’s and O’s.

    “He’s dealing with a little bit — just some soreness or whatever. But once again, it’s a new program. It’s expected.”

    On whether he envisions entering training camp with four QBs: “Absolutely, absolutely. That’s how I see it right now. We’ll have these conversations as the week progresses, but that’s how I see it right now.”

    Attire

    Helmets and shells. Pads aren’t permitted until training camp.

    Attendance

    The following players were absent from practice:

    • LB Sione Takitaki
    • LB Jahlani Tavai
    • OL Tyrone Wheatley Jr.
    • OL Jake Andrews
    • OL Cole Strange
    • WR Tyquan Thornton
    • WR Kendrick Bourne

    Rookie receiver Javon Baker spent most of the day on the lower practice field. He had a sleeve on his right leg, was clearly limited, and didn’t participate in any live team drills.

    Defensive backs Kaleb Ford-Dement and Marcellas Dial and running back Terrell Jennings were also limited. Tavai was in street clothes and ran conditioning drills on the lower field.

    Linebacker Josh Uche returned to practice after missing Monday’s session.

    QB Report

    Jacoby Brissett
    11-on-11s: 9 for 18
    7-on-7s: 1 for 4

    This might’ve been Brissett’s worst practice with reporters in attendance. He wasn’t terrible, but he made multiple errant throws and struggled against pressure.

    That said, Brissett also made some good plays, including an excelling throw to K.J. Osborn during an early two-minute drill.

    Once again, Brissett saw all the reps with the first-team offense.

    Drake Maye
    11-on-11s: 9 for 16, one INT
    7-on-7s: 2 for 4

    Maye was similarly inconsistent, with the low point being an interception to Azizi Hearn on a pass intended for JuJu Smith-Schuster. The veteran receiver arguably ran a soft route, but Maye also telegraphed his throw. It was a bad play all around.

    But Maye’s practice ended with a bang. He connected with Kayshon Boutte on three consecutive passes, including two touchdowns, during a goal-line 11-on-11 drill. Then, on the final play of the day, the Patriots put one second on the clock, and Maye found rookie Ja’Lynn Polk for a TD on a beautiful back-shoulder throw from the 10-yard line.

    MORE: Patriots Coaches Detail Where Drake Maye, Joe Milton Must Improve

    Officials debated whether the play was a catch but eventually signaled touchdown. The ruling drew big cheers from the offense and protests from the defense, with multiple players shouting expletives before and after punishment pushups.

    Maye again repped second behind Brissett, with Bailey Zappe a distant third.

    Bailey Zappe
    11-on-11s: 2 for 4
    7-on-7s: 2 for 4

    He’s a total afterthought and hasn’t done anything to earn a greater role. However, Zappe’s been counted out multiple times during his young career and still managed to stick around. It’ll be interesting to see whether he remains on the roster when training camp starts in late July.

    Joe Milton III
    11-on-11s: zero reps
    7-on-7s: zero reps

    The Patriots probably prefer to roster Milton (a sixth-round rookie) over Zappe, who has no future in New England. But Milton has a long way to go in his development and barely sees the field. That he saw zero reps in his final spring practice isn’t a great sign.

    3 Studs, 3 Duds

    Studs

    WR Kayshon Boutte

    The second-year receiver made five catches during team drills, including a pair of touchdowns. He’s a roster longshot, and his gambling-related legal issues remain concerning, but Boutte ended his second minicamp on a high note. Let’s see if he can carry it into camp.

    CB Alex Austin

    The second-year corner gave up some plays but also had some impressive moments, including a nice deflection on a pass intended for Polk. With Jonathan Jones still sidelined due to a knee issue, Austin has made a strong case for being the Patriots’ No. 2 cornerback opposite Christian Gonzalez.

    OT Chukwuma Okorafor

    You can’t read too much into OL play during the spring, as the pads aren’t on, and full contact isn’t permitted. Nevertheless, Okorafor stabilized the left side of the line during the two minicamp practices and didn’t appear to allow much pressure.

    Duds

    WR JuJu Smith-Schuster

    He turned some heads during OTAs but was invisible during minicamp. It’s hard to make a compelling case for Smith-Schuster deserving a roster spot.

    QB Jacoby Brissett

    Again, he wasn’t terrible, but Brissett was off the mark during this practice and struggled when playing off-script. It happens.

    WR Tyquan Thornton

    Thornton’s reason for missing Wednesday’s practice wasn’t known at the time of this writing. But a player who needed a strong minicamp struggled in one practice and sat out the other. If he doesn’t hit the ground running in training camp, days with the Patriots will be numbered.

    Assorted Notes and Highlights

    • Former Patriots Deion Branch, Devin McCourty, and Jason McCourty all attended practice.

    • The Patriots ran a drill where Rhamondre Stevenson and Hunter Henry threw downfield passes to offensive linemen and quarterbacks. Guards Nick Leverett and Sidy Sow made nice one-handed catches that drew some “Oohs” and “Ahhs” from spectators.
    • Nose tackle Davon Godchaux was present but a non-participant for the second consecutive practice. It sure looks like Godchaux, who’s entering a contract year, is “holding in,” something Mayo was asked about before practice.

    “Look, we want him here,” Mayo said. “He’s one of our best players. He’s working. I will say that. He is working. He’s here every single day, has been here every single day. We look forward to getting him on the field in camp.”

    • Cornerback Jonathan Jones also barely participated, but he appears to be rehabbing after an offseason knee procedure.
    • Milton apparently can do standing backflips.

    • Stevenson looks faster after cutting fat and adding muscle. Definitely more explosive.
    • Osborn, DeMario Douglas, and Jalen Reagor were the top three receivers throughout minicamp. Reagor got a lot of action with Brissett and handled himself well. He’s a roster longshot, but he might be ahead of Smith-Schuster on the depth chart.
    • David Andrews didn’t see much work during team drills. It’s unclear whether he was dealing with an injury.
    • Rookie Caedan Wallace saw work at left tackle after playing just right tackle in the previous two practices. However, when Brissett was on the field for the first 11-on-11 period, Wallace was at RT with Mike Onwenu at right guard. Mayo was asked about Onwneu playing guard despite seemingly being re-signed to play right tackle.

    “We’re going to try to get the best vibe out there,” Mayo said. “Once again, it’s hard to evaluate offensive line and defensive line during this time, so we’ll see when training camp comes around. But once again, we always talk about the more you can do: the versatility, not only with the players, but also the coaches. He’s one of those guys that is blessed with that versatility to be able to play both spots.”

    Here are additional highlights from Monday’s practice:

    • Brady’s Hall of Fame ceremony is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. ET on Wednesday, with a red carpet event beginning shortly after 5 p.m. Pro Football Network will provide coverage throughout the day.
    • The Patriots will conduct more off-field work in the coming days before going on summer break. They won’t practice again until late July.

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