RICHMOND, Va. — The long lasting memories of the Patriots joint practices with Washington will be the ever present and abundant praise for Tom Brady.
Washington head coach Jay Gruden lauded Brady after another outing in which the Patriots quarterback performed more like a maestro than a man who plays football for a living.
"He looks good, man," Gruden said. "It's fun to watch him. He's poetry in motion and obviously a Hall of Famer and the best of all-time, so when you get a chance to watch him in a setting like this, it's a great learning experience for everybody."
Brady was 16 of 25 in 11-on-11s, finding his first spots of trouble before bouncing back strong in the third hour of Tuesday's practice at Bon Secours Training Center in Richmond, Va.
The practice lasted for almost three hours and it really gave us a good idea of how players could handle the heat (temperatures reached 90 degrees) and their fitness level at this point in camp. For Brady, it was obvious how well he looked in practice. (All you have to do is ask Gruden.) But for others, it was a mixed bag, particularly on the defensive line again.
Here are the notes from Tuesday's practice, which includes how all the Patriots quarterbacks performed:
— Attendance: WR Aaron Dobson (foot, PUP), DB Jemea Thomas (unknown), RB Tyler Gaffney, RB Brandon Bolden (unknown), TE Michael Hoomanawanui (unknown), C Bryan Stork (unknown), OL Chris Martin (unknown, NFI), DL Dominique Easley (knee, NFI), WR Jeremey Gallon (unknown), and TE Rob Gronkowski (knee) were all missing from practice again.
— Defensive tackle Sealver Siliga, after starting practice, left after 1-on-1s with a trainer.
— Linebackers Deontae Skinner and James Morris, as well as cornerback Alfonzo Dennard, were limited in their participation and practiced off to the side.
— Drops: Shane Vereen, Kenbrell Thompkins, Wilson Van Hooser, Josh Boyce.
— Interceptions: Vince Wilfork (off Robert Griffin III), Washington's Bashaud Breeland (off Jimmy Garoppolo).
— O-line vs. D-line results: Once again, I was only able to capture the results of the Patriots' defensive line going against Washington's offensive line. And once again, the results favored Washington's stout offensive line: 10-23.
— D-line results: Dont’a Hightower 2-0, Jamie Collins 1-1, Joe Vellano 1-1, Vince Wilfork 1-1, Chris Jones 1-1, Chandler Jones 1-3, Jake Bequette 0-2, Marcus Forston 0-3, Sealver Siliga 0-1, Will Smith 0-3, Rob Ninkovich 1-1, L.T. Tuipulotu 0-2, Eathyn Manumaleuna 1-1, Zach Moore 0-2, Tommy Kelly 1-0, Darius Fleming 0-1.
— Linebackers Dont'a Hightwoer, Jamie Collins, and Darius Fleming all got work in the defensive line 1-on-1 drills. That can be interpreted two ways: 1) The Patriots want their outside linebackers to get some work on rushing the passer in 3-4 defenses or 2) they don't like what kind of pass rush they're seeing outside of Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich. It's notable that Hightower and Collins were both fairly successful against a good Washington offensive line.
— Sealver Siliga was likely hurt in his only rep in 1-on-1s.
— Despite a porous effort in 1-on-1s, the Patriots' defensive linemen looked much better when both teams went into 2-on-2 drills. Utilizing stunts to throw Washington off its balance, the Patriots were able to get the upper hand in those contests.
— Vince Wilfork intercepted a RGIII pass that bobbled off Santana Moss's hands. Asked about the big fella getting an interception, RGIII said "I'm not going to sit here and celebrate that stuff."
— Brandon LaFell had a sweet one-handed catch early in practice.
— Devin McCourty had a really nice pass breakup in practice during 1-on-1s. McCourty, playing corner, recovered from a nice spin move by Washington tight end Niles Paul before catching up to him and getting his hands between Paul's arms.
— The battles between Darrelle Revis and DeSean Jackson have been pretty awesome. Jackson has managed to get by with a couple of hitches and out routes. But on the deep passes that he's accustomed to getting against average defensive backs, Revis has denied him every time. In one instance during 11-on-11s, Revis went up and got his hands up just as Jackson went up for the grab, breaking it up with relative ease. His timing was perfect. It was another one of those gentle reminders that the Patriots secondary has vastly improved.
— Not a lot of balls thrown Brandon Browner's way. He found himself tangled up with Washington's Aldrick Robinson, though, on a number of occasions.
— Tom Brady was 16 of 25 in 11-on-11s. Two of his passes were dropped.
— Ryan Mallett was a solid 7 of 12 in 11-on-11s. He also had two of his passes dropped but was able to finish the day with four straight completions, including two to running back James White and two to tight end Asa Watson.
— Jimmy Garoppolo was 0 for 4 passing Tuesday, with an interception thrown to Washington rookie Bashaud Breeland on his first pass. He didn't get any run in 11-on-11s until the last 10 minutes of practice and all of his throws were off target.
— Tom Brady's favorite target on Tuesday was Danny Amendola, who caught five of six passes thrown his way. Amendola went on a tear for a little while. It appeared there was more of an effort to involve him in Tuesday's practice after he only saw the ball thrown his way twice on Monday.
— Tuesday's practice was certainly more physical than the others. It started with a tough shove at the line of scrimmage by Dont'a Hightower that knocked one Washington player off his feet. It was followed by some crunching hits from both Jerod Mayo and Patrick Chung during 11-on-11s.
— RGIII dropped off cupcakes for reporters after his press conference. He told the Washington Post's Mike Jones to hand them out to whoever wanted one. In my three years covering the Patriots, I've never seen anything like that.