FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The New England Patriots held their second practice of mandatory minicamp Wednesday and it was filled with specific situations on offense, defense and special teams. Here were some of the things that caught the eye:
Chandler sits this one out: It was pointed out Tuesday that tight end Scott Chandler was dialed in with quarterback Tom Brady before exiting practice with an injury; he was seen holding the right side of his body. While Chandler said he thought he was OK, it was notable that he wasn’t on the practice field Wednesday. So in the period when quarterback Brady would usually split off to another field with Chandler and Rob Gronkowski, tight end Michael Hoomanawanui took Chandler’s reps.
Butler vs. Edelman: One of the spirited one-on-one competitions has pitted cornerback Malcolm Butler against receiver Julian Edelman, and Butler is holding his ground for the most part. At one point, it appeared Edelman was frustrated by blanket coverage as a Brady pass sailed incomplete along the right sideline. One thing that stands out about Butler from an amateur scouting perspective: He glides across the field at times, almost making it look effortless.
Eyes on young guards: Spent extra time watching some of the offensive line combinations and fourth-round draft choices Tre' Jackson (right guard) and Shaq Mason (left guard) flanked center Bryan Stork for a good part of the practice. The guard position is one where the Patriots have some personnel turnover and the question is how quickly Jackson and Mason might be able to help. From a pure repetition standpoint, they went from wire to wire in 12 offseason practices and they seem to be keeping up OK, mentally. Of course, it’s not all perfect. Jackson had a false start that led to him running a penalty lap.
Getting to know Morris: Linebacker James Morris, a second-year player out of Iowa who spent 2014 with the team on injured reserve, was at the heart of the defense at numerous points throughout practice. He appeared to be making calls and was getting others aligned. The 6-foot-2, 240-pound Morris reminds me a little bit of Jeff Tarpinian, another former Iowa linebacker who spent time with the Patriots, as he moves well laterally and seems to have good instincts.
Extra points: Tempers rose at one point in practice, with a mini-scuffle at the line of scrimmage that was quickly extinguished. Bill Belichick wasn’t pleased. “If these guys want to get after it and hit somebody, there will be plenty of chances in training camp -- more than they want." ... Second straight day that pass-catching running back Dion Lewis has drawn praise from Brady for his route running, although he did have a drop in skeleton drills (against no defense). … Punt protection was once again the focus of special-teams work, and with a situational-based theme, players were required to run on to the field from the sideline before getting set and executing their assignments. … At one point of practice, Brady jumped into a drill as a wide receiver and blocked a defender at a walk-through pace. … Credit safety Devin McCourty with an interception of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. … Undrafted free-agent cornerback Jimmy Jean had a pass breakup in end-of-practice scout-team work. … Overall, the offense didn’t seem as sharp as Tuesday. … Players drawing media crowds after practice included tight end Jake Bequette, defensive linemen Dominique Easley and Malcom Brown and receiver Brian Tyms, among others. ... The team announced it will not hold a third minicamp practice on Thursday, as initially scheduled.