9 Takeaways from Patriots Training Camp: Mac Jones & Co. Start Slow, Christian Barmore and Josh Uche Impress – MassLive.com | Hot Mobile Press

FOXBOROUGH — The Patriots’ offensive rig is starting to look like a new swing set with a 30-page instruction manual; it won’t come together anytime soon.

Mac Jones and the offense struggled to get back in sync — both in the running game and on the air — and the defense appeared to be winning their fifth straight practice session.

“If we lose the day, it’s like a shot in the heart for me,” Jones said. “It’s like we lost the game.”

Here are 9 takeaways from a balmy Tuesday morning in full pads:

1. The offensive does not find its rhythm

Jones and company look good in the drill, but when it comes to 11-on-11 periods, they constantly struggle against first-team defenses.

Here were the quarterback’s first six dropbacks: throwaway, sack, batted pass, short completion, short completion, sack. There were a few interspersed runs that were plugged right at the scrimmage line as the offensive line tries to adapt to a heavier zone running scheme. It’s incoherent.

“Better days are ahead, but we’re still in the early stages of this thing,” Jones said. “We have to get it going.”

It’s only day two at Pads so there’s reason to believe things will improve, but to borrow an oft-used expression from the head coach, for now ‘it is what it is’.

2. Tyquan starts well

Tyquan Thornton was a silver lining for offense on Tuesday.

The election from the second round obviously still has room for improvement, but arrived more polished than expected. He made the catch of the day in 1v1 drills. With Jalen Mills draped all over him, Jones lofted a ball that Thornton made a great adjustment to pull it deep on the right touchline for an over-the-shoulder catch. Mills was so impressed he even applauded when he saw that the newcomer got it.

“He’s starting to really understand some of the things that we’re doing and he’s opening up,” Jones said. “He clearly has the speed to open up.”

3. Trent and Barmore play the part

At the start of camp, two of the Patriots’ best linemen look like two of their best linemen. That’s a good sign.

Christian Barmore was strong in 1-on-1 pass rush drills – handily beating Michael Onwenu – and then was borderline unblockable in 11-on-11 periods, registering a sack and regularly disrupting Jones.

Across the trenches, Trent Brown looked like a giant among men (which he is). In 1v1 drills he beat Matthew Judon, knocked down Henry Anderson and seems to be in very good shape at this stage of camp.

“I think he’s one of the better tackles in the league,” Anderson said. “Going against him will only make me and the other guys better. He’s a big guy. You need to make sure you have good pad level and hands and hit him with leverage.

4. Uche also shines

Beginning his third season, Brown last week predicted a breakthrough year for Uche.

“Just watch,” said the tackle.

Uche made his teammate look smart on Tuesday by dusting Isaiah Wynn twice in 1-on-1s. He spun past him on one rep with so much speed that Wynn fell to the ground unable to keep up. Uche looked great early on so take that with a grain of salt, but it’s what the team wants to see anyway.

5. Mac makes adjustments

Though it wasn’t always pretty between whistles, Jones still takes charge of offense.

Unhappy with Jonnu Smith’s direction of opening a 7-on-7 period, Jones halted the drill, shifting Smith, Hunter Henry and Jakobi Meyers, then hit Smith for an easy pitch and catch after the ball was snapped. The quarterback knows what he wants. Smith then dropped his shoulder and ran through rookie Jack Jones, which was amusing.

6. Steve has a walkie

With all the headlines about Matt Patricia’s walkie-talkie on offensive side of the ball, it’s worth noting that Steve Belichick still wields one on defense. He will continue in his role as a defensive play caller despite the lack of a defensive coordinator title.

7. Hambright worth seeing

An early riser at camp: Arlington Hambright.

The offensive lineman has looked good in 1-on-1 drills and was rewarded with some first-team reps on the right flank in 11-on-11 drills. It will be interesting to see if he will push Michael Onwenu in the next few days. Also, he has a great name. Arlington Hambright.

8. Keene on the shelf

Dalton Keene was the only new absence on Tuesday. Brian Hoyer was still missing – Bill Belichick expects him back “fairly soon” – while James White remains on PUP and Andrew Steuber and Chasen Hines are both still on the NFI list.

9. Strange gets the top

After Nelson Agholor caught a touchdown pass in the final 11-on-11 period of the day, rookie Cole Strange charged at him in the end zone and the wide receiver passed the ball to him for the spike. Strange’s spike was probably a 7.1 or so: great enthusiasm and power, but the angle wasn’t conducive to maximum hangtime. That’s what practice is for, right?

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