cover32 Patriots writer Caitlyn Allen returns for the second installment of her weekly column, ‘Three Up, Three Down’. Each week she gives you the three players trending up and the three trending down.
After week two of training camp, the players have made their initial impressions. With this week came a few rocky practices for players; it also shone a spotlight on others.
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The player who is starting to separate himself from the competition is none other than Brandin Cooks. On Monday during the first joint practice with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Cooks ran circles around the other players. The wide receiver caught seven passes; three of which were in the span of four plays. Cooks’ best play was a wide open one-handed grab over his head in the end zone for a touchdown.
He was also able to breeze by cornerback A.J. Bouye (who was a proven problem for the Patriots last season). However, Cooks didn’t have a perfect practice. With a dropped pass and a miscommunication with Brady, you can see he’s still adapting to the Patriots mindset. This is Cook’s first season with the Patriots; therefore he has to start from scratch and work his way into the lineup. So far he is doing a great job of showing what he can bring to the offense and validate management’s decision to bring him aboard.
Deatrich Wise had a standout practice this past Friday. The Patriots decided to hold a full scrimmage which pitted the first string offense and second-string defense against the second-string offense and first-string defense. Wise dominated the entire scrimmage, managing two sacks. One was a strip sack against Jacoby Brissett. Wise also had a pass deflection. Over the past two weeks, Wise had been consistently decent with no outstanding or terrible plays. This practice set him apart from his contenders, making him a valid option to play defensive end with Trey Flowers.
Another defensive player also made headlines this past Wednesday. Jonathan Jones made a notable play, albeit the very last play of practice. Brady threw a pass intended for Edelman that was picked off and intercepted by Jones. He was the cause of Brady’s first interception thus far in camp. In this same practice, Jones also had a pass break up against Allen. This practice no doubt helped Jones to secure a spot in the Patriots’ unofficial depth chart which was released a few days ago.
All three quarterbacks struggled at some point during this past week. Tom Brady’s only off practice was last Wednesday. He was 13-of-22 and suffered his first interception of camp on his final throw of the day. During practice Brady also overthrew passes and missed wide open receivers. No one is harder on Brady than himself; at one point he kicked a blocking pad. Miscommunication was another small trend throughout the week between Brady and his receivers, who ran different routes than he was expecting. Besides these few errors, Brady’s performance has been Brady-esque.
The Patriot’s second string quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo, is the next player trending down this week. Garoppolo’s worst practice was last Friday during the first full team scrimmage. He was 14-of-36! Garoppolo has only completed 59.0 percent of his passes and the inconsistency is baffling. However, he was working with second and third string offensive players; his main target being Austin Carr. Garoppolo believes he is moving in the right direction, saying that now is the time to make mistakes and try new combinations or plays.
Last but not least, Jacoby Brissett is trending down for the second week in a row. On Friday during the team scrimmage, Brissett was 3-of-7 when subbed in for Brady, but he did have a touchdown. In general Brissett hasn’t seen many snaps and the few he did see resulted in inconsistent passes. He saw very little practice time during the joint practice with the Jacksonville Jaguars on Monday. Other outlets have talked about the Patriots possibly cutting the third string quarterback in order to make room for more vital positions. Brissett will really have to step up his game if he wants to secure a spot in the roster.
Any rust that may have held players back should be gone by now. Now is the time for players to step up and prove that they can help the Patriots in a way the other players can’t. As the last few weeks before preseason begin, there is still a lot of work to be done.