FOXBORO, Mass. — The minor back ailment that reportedly kept New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady out of Thursday’s preseason opener didn’t seem to be bothering him Sunday in practice.
Brady saw an increased workload in Sunday’s session and completed 17-of-22 passes in 11-on-11 drills. Backup Brian Hoyer, meanwhile, went just 12-of-22 in 11-on-11 drills and rookie Danny Etling completed 2-of-4 passes in full team work.
Here’s our complete set of notes from Sunday’s rainy practice:
— Etling split time with Brady as the passer during 1-on-1 drills between wide receivers and cornerbacks. Etling threw two deep dimes to wide receiver Devin Lucien, who tracked the ball well over cornerbacks Jason McCourty and Jomal Wiltz. Etling also hit rookie wide receiver Braxton Berrios in a diving hookup over rookie cornerback Duke Dawson.
— Lucien, who had a strong game Thursday night, has been a quiet standout in practice, as well. Berrios had his best day of practice so far throughout all of camp. Berrios also laid out for a catch from Hoyer during team drills.
— Wide receiver Kenny Britt saw an increased workload as he recovers from a hamstring injury. He participated in some 1-on-1 drills before departing for a lower practice field for conditioning work. Britt still isn’t competing in full-team drills.
— Running backs Rex Burkhead and Sony Michel, offensive tackle Marcus Cannon and linebacker Harvey Langi were absent from practice.
— Cornerback Ryan Lewis, defensive end Trey Flowers, guard Jason King, cornerback Cyrus Jones and wide receiver Matthew Slater, like Britt, were limited.
— Guard Brian Schwenke returned to practice.
— Cornerback Jonathan Jones and safety Nate Ebner spent time in team drills after starting training camp on the PUP list. Jones worked with the first-team defense as a slot cornerback.
— Linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley saw brief time in the Patriots’ top base unit alongside fellow linebackers Dont’a Hightower and Kyle Van Noy. He was subbing in for Elandon Roberts. Bentley had a strong preseason debut with two tackles for loss. Second-year defensive lineman Keionta Davis, who spent all of 2017 on the non-football injury list, also worked with the top defensive unit as an interior pass rusher.
— Patriots rookie offensive tackle Isaiah Wynn saw time at right tackle in the first offense. With Cannon out, LaAdrian Waddle has been the starting right tackle. Wynn was splitting time with Waddle on Sunday.
— The rainy conditions brought many drops. Wide receiver Eric Decker dropped consecutive passes during side work with the quarterbacks, tight end Rob Gronkowski and wide receivers Philip Dorsett and Julian Edelman. The quarterbacks later held another side session with Decker, Gronkowski, Edelman, Dorsett, wide receiver Chris Hogan and running back James White.
— Tight end Jacob Hollister dropped two passes during competitive drills. Dorsett, Edelman and wide receiver Paul Turner also dropped passes.
— There were no interceptions Sunday in practice, but cornerbacks Stephon Gilmore, Jonathan Jones, Jason McCourty and Eric Rowe and safety Eddie Pleasant broke up passes.
— Running back Jeremy Hill, another standout Thursday, took eight handoffs in 11-on-11 drills. Running back Mike Gillislee carried the ball eight times, while Brandon Bolden took four handoffs, James White had six and rookie Ralph Webb took three.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images