FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Observations from the New England Patriots' 15th practice of training camp, which was held in full pads with the Philadelphia Eagles and in the rain:
Eagles' opinion on Easley: This was our second day to watch first-round draft choice Dominque Easley in individual pass-rush drills (he didn't partake in full-team drills). In the one-on-one portion of practice, veteran right guard Todd Herremans rode Easley off with relative ease. Backup right guard Dennis Kelly (3rd year, Purdue) had similar success on a second rep as Easley lined up as a 3-technique (outside shade on guard) and his rush was stopped. After the practice, we asked Herremans for some first impressions on Easley. "I went against him once today and got my hands on him quick. ... He's a hard rusher, with a good get-off on the ball. He had a couple wins in there today." Easley had a bit more success in the two-on-two drills, teaming with Chandler Jones on one rep and getting some encouragement from position coach Brendan Daly afterwards.
Mayo misses second practice in a row: Veteran linebacker Jerod Mayo was not present for the second straight day, and it is unclear what is keeping him out. Because the Eagles play with an up-tempo style, it stresses communication for the opposing defense, and Dont'a Hightower seemed to be the player tapped to fill Mayo's void, just as he was in 2013.
Rain and wind create difficult playing conditions: The practice was held in a steady downpour, as at one point, quarterback Tom Brady simply had the ball slip out of his hands after either a pump fake or tuck when he couldn't find an open receiver. Overall, both offenses had a tough go of it, and this was a practice in which the Patriots worked quite a bit on the running game, specifically in their jumbo package with an extra offensive lineman as a tight end. In the passing game, we recorded drops by running back Brandon Bolden and receivers Brian Tyms and Wilson Van Hooser.
Who’s winning one-on-ones?: In the secondary, cornerback Logan Ryan intercepted Eagles quarterback Nick Foles on a pass intended for Brad Smith. ... Cornerback Darrelle Revis looked like he slowed up again while working against Eagles receiver Jeremy Maclin. With Maclin leaving practice after he felt a "grabbing" of his hamstring, that was the big news story at practice. ... Cornerback Alfonzo Dennard had an effective jam on receiver Josh Huff, as well as a notable pass breakup. ... Patriots offensive linemen mostly had a tough time, perhaps with footing an issue. Right guard Josh Kline was steamrolled by undrafted rookie Frances Mays (Florida A&M), one of several decisive wins for the Eagles. ... At center, Ryan Wendell seemed to have more success than Dan Connolly, who was pushed back by Cedric Thornton on one rep.
Cleaning out the notebook: Hall of Fame baseball manager and longtime friend of Bill Belichick, Tony La Russa, was a guest at practice. Former Major League Baseball pitcher Dave Stewart was also in attendance. … Linebacker Jamie Collins proved he can hang in coverage with Eagles speedy running back Darren Sproles as he had a nice pass breakup in a drill. … Collins also disrupted a screen pass to Eagles running back LeSean McCoy, as he knocked him to the ground. … Cornerbacks Brandon Browner and Logan Ryan tussled with Eagles wide receiver Arrelious Benn during a punt return. … Browner responded on the next rep by maintaining his physical play and forcing a player out of play. Later in practice, Browner was penalized for a facemask in the end zone. … Wide receiver Brandon LaFell made a slick grab on Eagles cornerback Curtis Marsh during one-on-ones. … Offensive tackle Nate Solder took a number of reps as an extra blocking tight end in 11-on-11s. On one of those plays, Solder planted a strong block on the outside to spring running back Brandon Bolden free on the left side. … Linebackers Ja’Gared Davis and James Anderson, offensive lineman Bryan Stork, safety Kanorris Davis and defensive back Tavon Wilson did not wear pads today and Anderson left early. … Rookie quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was praised for a strong pre-snap read on a running play. ... Defensive lineman Will Smith surged into the backfield and blew up a tight end screen in 11-on-11s. … In a rematch between heavyweights on the outside, Browner got Eagles wide receiver Ifeanyi Momah back with an impressive pass breakup over the top in the end zone. … Ryan deflected a pass over the middle and safety Patrick Chung bobbled the ball a couple times before hauling in the interception. … The Patriots worked on spiking the football to stop the clock during up-tempo offense late in practice. ... Receiver Kenbrell Thompkins was told to leave one drill by Bill Belichick when an official threw a penalty flag on him for an unknown reason before the snap. Belichick was not happy with Thompkins. ... Cornerbacks Kyle Arrington and Logan Ryan both showed up at safety at times.
Who returned: None.
New absences: Terrence Miller.
Who else didn’t practice: Offensive tackle Chris Martin (non-football-injury list), wide receiver Jeremy Gallon (unknown/PUP), tight end Michael Hoomanawanui (unknown, participated in first four practices), tight end D.J. Williams (right leg), linebacker Cameron Gordon (unknown, participated in first six practices), and defensive linemen Chris Jones and Sealver Siliga, Mayo.
Who’s talking with the media: Quarterback Tom Brady; wide receivers Brandon LaFell and Matthew Slater; running back James White; defensive tackles Joe Vellano and Tommy Kelly; defensive lineman Chandler Jones; cornerback Logan Ryan; linebacker Darius Fleming; kicker Stephen Gostkowski.