Patriots QB Shines In Day 1 Of Minicamp

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FOXBORO, Mass. — Drake Maye really looked the part.

The Patriots rookie quarterback looked better during the first day of mandatory minicamp than he did during rookie minicamp or organized team activities (open-to-media sessions).

Maye served as New England’s backup quarterback behind veteran Jacoby Brissett, continuing a trend that was first showcased during an OTA last week. Maye (29) was neck-and-neck in reps with Brissett (30). He more than doubled the reps of third-stringer Bailey Zappe (13) and more than quadrupled fellow rookie Joe Milton III (six).

Maye is the clear backup quarterback, but for the first time this spring he kept up with the starter.

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When asked what he’s seen from Maye, Brissett said he’s noticed a tremendous improvement.

“Every day he’s gotten better,” Brissett said after practice. “And the good thing about it is it’s not like ‘Oh, I got it right now and I’m not thinking about it.’ He’s just constantly trying to find ways to get better.

“He’s making some nice throws out there and you’re seeing his progression come alive.”

That was the case during New England’s first of two scheduled minicamp sessions. Obvious disclaimer: The Patriots weren’t in pads so you have to take Maye’s mid-June practice for what it’s worth.

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Maye was at his best during 7-on-7s. He completed six of his seven passes during two combine periods, including a red-zone stretch when he went 3-for-3 with three touchdowns. Maye connected with depth receiver Jalen Reagor, rookie tight end Jaheim Bell and receiver Kayshon Boutte on those three passes. Maye’s nicest pass of the 7-on-7 period, though, was his only incompletion (6-for-7). Maye lofted a perfectly-placed deep ball to La’Michael Pettway, which hit the tight end’s hands and fell to the ground.

Pettway and Maye, however, connected on one of the nicest plays of the day during the initial 11-on-11 period. Pettway climbed the ladder and hauled in a touchdown after Maye led the team down the field. Earlier in that series, Maye kept a snap himself and took it up the middle for a big gain. It was one of the first times this spring media saw Maye make the read and immediately take off as soon as he had the ball in his hands.

“He’s made tremendous strides,” Brissett said. “Not only calling the plays, footwork, throwing the ball and his overall understanding of the offense.”

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Maye completed four of his five passes with one touchdown (six reps) during his first 11-on-11 period. He received the most reps of any quarterback during the second 11-on-11 period (eight) and completed five of his eight passes.

Both during the 7-on-7 and 11-on-11, Maye showed poise and improved decision-making. He took the check down if that was the best option rather than forcing it. Maye did not throw an interception after he threw two in the last open-to-media practice.

“He’s dialed in every rep, even the reps that he’s not in,” Mayo said of Maye on Monday.

Brissett has not only received first-team reps but has been the clear-cut best quarterback in the prior open-to-media practices. Maye came much closer to that Monday. And in doing so, he separated himself from Zappe, who was pulled from 11-on-11 work after he threw a pick-six to Kyle Dugger, and Milton, who saw just six snaps during team periods.

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Maye and the Patriots are scheduled to be back on the practice field at Gillette Stadium on Wednesday. The Patriots will host the in-stadium jersey retirement for Tom Brady on Wednesday night.

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