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Tuesday Patriots OTA observations: Brian Hoyer struggles, absence of Tom Brady extremely noticeable

Ryan Hannable
May 22, 2018 - 1:54 pm

FOXBORO — Tuesday was the second OTA session of the spring for the Patriots and first that was open to the media.

The session lasted roughly two hours and players wore just helmets, as pads are not permitted this time of year. This is commonly referred to as just a teaching camp, but it is worth noting the highlights.

Here are the players who were completely absent from the session: Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Malcolm Mitchell, Cody Hollister, Dont’a Hightower, Trey Flowers, Jonathan Jones, Joe Thuney, Brandon Bolden and David Jones. In addition, there were a number of players who appeared to be rehabbing on the lower field: Isaiah Wynn, Trent Brown, Marcus Cannon, Malcom Brown, Lawrence Guy, Cyrus Jones, Nate Ebner and Darren Andrews.

Following are some quick observations from the session.

— Julian Edelman went down to the lower field roughly midway through the session. When he did participate, he looked very good. His quickness showed he's pretty much back to full strength after missing all of last season with a torn ACL.

— It’s not a good sign Mitchell missed Tuesday’s session after being on the field Monday, per team photos. The wide out missed all of last year with a knee injury and him missing Tuesday’s workout is a sign he’s still managing the injury.

— Based on the quarterback play, it was very obvious Brady was missing. Of course, it’s a high bar, but Brian Hoyer and rookie Danny Etling didn’t look like NFL quarterbacks, especially in Hoyer’s case. Hoyer was very erratic, missing on a number of easy throws. In 11-on-11 work, Hoyer was 8-for-18 with an interception, while Etling was 3-for-6.

— Etling was the better of the two quarterbacks, but still looked like a rookie. It was worth noting he was attached to assistant quarterbacks coach Jerry Schuplinski’s hip throughout the session and clearly wants to get better. Schuplinski has been praised for the work he’s done with the young quarterbacks in the system. Although it was just one practice, it seems he has the potential to stick around as a backup.

— Rookie cornerback Keion Crossen had a very solid practice with a number of deflections and the interception of Hoyer.

— The rookies continued to wear unique numbers, mostly in the 50s. It was pointed out by NESN’s Doug Kyed that they went in order by when they were selected (Wynn No. 50, Sony Michel No. 51, etc. Then the undrafted free agents went in alphabetical order for the most part.

— After being part of the pre-draft process, Bret Bielema had an active role on the field as a coach. His role moving forward hasn't been announced.

— Rookie punter Corey Bojorquez could challenge Ryan Allen. He has a big leg to go along with a big body and gets a ton of hang time on his punts.

— Edelman, Braxton Berrios, Riley McCarron, Chris Hogan and Patrick Chung all caught punts.

— It was hard to get a read on the new receivers because of who was throwing the passes, but Cordarrlle Patterson looks bigger than his 6-foot-2 height. The team could use him in a number of different ways given his speed.

— New defensive tackle Danny Shelton played very hard and appeared itching to get into pads.

-- The session ended with players running sprints up and down the hill.

— There were a few college coaches in attendance including ones from Miami, Alabama, Iowa and LSU.

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