FOXBORO, Mass. — One of the standouts of New England Patriots training camp thus far has been a player who hardly saw the field last season: safety Jordan Richards.
Richards, who spent the 2016 campaign buried at the bottom of the depth chart, has impressed through three days of camp practice, intercepting three passes and breaking up two others. He was the first — and, so far, only — player to pick off starting quarterback Tom Brady, doing so in 1-on-1 drills Saturday morning.
“I just want to play good football,” Richards said after Saturday’s session, “and that starts with preparing to do that throughout the offseason and in meetings and then trying to execute that on the field.”
In addition to his interception, Richards also forced an incompletion on Brady’s final throw of the day by knocking down a pass intended for Rob Gronkowski. Gronkowski has had the upper hand in that matchup in the past, but Richards was able to wrestle the ball out of the hulking tight end’s grasp before he could complete the catch.
“Whoever it is — whether it’s Gronk, whether it’s any of our other tight ends — I’m looking for first interceptions and trying to make a play on the ball,” Richards said. “And if not, a pass breakup’s nice right behind that.”
Drafted in the second round out of Stanford in 2015, Richards played respectable 238 snaps on defense as a Patriots rookie and another 253 on special teams. His playing time plummeted in his second year, however. He logged a mere 18 defensive snaps all last…
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