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A stop-the-hype practice: Patriots' offense draws Bill Belichick's wrath

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- If Bill Belichick has any concern over New England Patriots offensive players believing some of the media hype this offseason, he can simply fire up the film from Tuesday's rain-soaked mandatory minicamp practice to deliver some of his favorite dessert: humble pie.

This was definitely a stop-the-hype practice.

After a series of miscues, among them a botched center/quarterback exchange involving Jimmy Garoppolo and then another with Jacoby Brissett, the entire offense was punished by being ordered to run a lap around the field. In all, players had to take two laps. After one of the laps, Belichick addressed the unit.

"We're not really used to doing that, so it wasn't very pleasant doing it, but it was deserved," Garoppolo acknowledged afterward. "We weren't happy with our play. Coach wasn't happy with our play. And we had to run because of it."

Many times coming out of a Patriots practice, the positives are accentuated in media reports, because one standout play can lend itself to a more interesting story than a series of fundamental mistakes. That approach could have been taken Tuesday, highlighting the defense, which was buzzing around the field with a secondary that was consistently getting its hands on the football. Second-year cornerback Jonathan Jones, specifically, had two pass breakups while continuing to work as the top nickelback alongside Stephon Gilmore and Malcolm Butler.

The competitive spirit of the practice was evidenced by the defense, which often let the offense know it had the upper hand as players raised their voices in celebration. Tom Brady, who was intercepted in last Thursday's organized team activity, didn't have a completion in one 7-on-7 segment of practice Tuesday.

There were several dropped passes, with tight end Dwayne Allen a repeat offender in that category. Receiver Brandin Cooks also had a drop, and overall the ball was on the ground far too often in a practice that included a focus on the no-huddle attack, among other things. Some players, including Danny Amendola, also struggled with footing on the wet field.

Not to say there weren't highlights -- a Brady connection to receiver Chris Hogan up the left sideline in team drills was maybe the best of the day -- but this wasn't a practice that would inspire comparisons to the Patriots' 2007 record-breaking offense.

Adding to the challenges for the offense were steady rain and temperatures that barely reached 50 degrees, but no one was making any excuses.

"It was rainy, it was windy, it was wet, it's all part of the game," tight end Rob Gronkowski said. "Whatever the conditions are, you have to go out there and play."

Gronkowski was later asked if the offense seems as stacked as it has ever been in his time with the club (2010-present). Based on the names on the roster, it was a reasonable question, but after Tuesday's sloppy practice, it was hard to imagine any player feeling that way.

"We always have a lot of things to work on, especially myself," Gronkowski said. "We feel like, as a team, we just need to get better every single day. Personally, I don't look at how good we are on paper. We have to step up on the field and practice hard every day."