FOXBOROUGH — The New England Patriots ramped up the physicality in their first practice of camp, literally.

New England hosted the Carolina Panthers for the first of two joint practices on Tuesday before Friday's preseason game. Here are seven observations from Tuesday's practice.

New England Patriots Practice Observations

Fights galore

Tuesday was the first practice the Patriots had some tackling in all camp — and it led to a lot of chippiness.

During the first 11-on-11 session, wide receiver Kristian Wilkerson caught a pass on an out route from Mac Jones. The catch led Wilkerson to where a group of Panthers defensive players and coaches were, with players trying to punch the ball out of his hands following the play. Wilkerson took exception to something one of the Panthers' players or coaches did or said, causing him to throw a couple of shoves. Players on both teams ran over, and Patriots receiver Kendrick Bourne threw at least a punch, if not more.

When Bourne's punch was thrown, Patriots defensive players and Panthers offensive players from the other practice field ran over to join the skirmish. Wilkerson, Bourne, and Panthers defensive back Kenny Robinson were all tossed.

A play later, the chippiness continued when Patriots offensive tackle Trent Brown took exception to Panthers defensive end Brian Burns giving him a couple of high shoves after the whistle. Both sides de-escalated the matter quickly before either player did something to get them thrown out.

That wasn't enough to cool heads for the remainder of the day. A few plays later, Patriots center James Ferentz appeared to body slam Panthers linebacker Frankie Luvu after the whistle on a block. Both sides came to together to separate it and Ferentz was removed from practice.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick huddled the team up following the incidents and both teams cooled off from there.

Panthers bring energy from the start

Tuesday's practice brought even more changes for the Patriots. The Panthers looked like they were trying to send a message or prove a point, constantly making noises and being active from the moment practice started until practice ended.

The Patriots weren't nearly as energetic. They celebrated big plays like they normally would, but were more reserved in their approach to pumping themselves up.

Mac Jones performs well for most of practice, but falls short in two-minute drill

Focusing on the actual play, the Patriots quarterback had a solid day on the practice field — outperforming Panthers quarterbacks Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold.

Jones completed 21-of-30 passes throughout Tuesday's practice. While most of his completions were check-downs, Jones aired the ball out a few times, something he hasn't down much in training camp so far. Jones went, by my count, 4-for-8 on passes along the sidelines that were at least 10 yards down the field or passes that were at least 15 yards from the line of scrimmage, a nice change of pace for the quarterback.

Jones didn't have success running the two-minute drill, though. He completed his first three passes, but they were all short gains to either Ty Montgomery or Jonnu Smith. Jones completed another pass to Montgomery a couple plays later and tried to run a fake spike on the ensuing play. His throw to Tyquan Thornton missed the mark. With the time ticking down, Jones was pressured and threw a prayer into the end zone that was picked off, which was his final throw of the day.

Ground game still struggles 

The Patriots' rushing attack didn't see the success many were hoping. Almost all of the rushes they ran during 11-on-11s were either stuffs or runs that likely would've gone for short gains at best.

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New England only ran eight rushing plays by my count, which could mean it was holding things a bit back on the ground Tuesday. Montgomery was the star of the group, recording three receptions doing the two-minute drill.

DeVante Parker makes play of the day

The Patriots' biggest offseason acquisition had his best practice since the first day of camp. He only had three receptions, but all three were loud.

Parker's first catch of the day was on a jump ball from Jones along the sideline, grabbing the ball over Panthers corner CJ Henderson. His big catch was on a 30-plus-yard completion along the left sideline from Jones, grabbing the ball over Panthers safety Xavier Woods and corner Donte Jackson. He added another outside catch before the day ended, too.

Parker had three other targets. Two of those targets were throws Jones missed and the third was a pass interference on Henderson.

Tyquan Thornton had some nice moments in 1-on-1s, catching a deep pass from Jones over Kalon Barnes on one play. He only had a couple receptions in team drills. Nelson Agholor, the other receiver who had a nice day on Monday, had an impressive toe-dragging catch along the sideline, but was otherwise quiet during team drills.

Tre Nixon got a lot of passes his way after Wilkerson was tossed, reeling in a few receptions from Brian Hoyer on the two-minute drill.

Good day for the Patriots' front-seven

If there's a silver lining from the Patriots' offensive line performing poorly in the opening weeks of camp, it means the defensive line and front-seven is at least adequate. Tuesday showed it could be more than that.

Of the dozen-plus rushing plays the Panthers ran during team drills, the Patriots only allowed a few runs for decent gains. Panthers All-Pro running back Christian McCaffrey made a couple of nice moves to break loose, so credit to him.

Defensive tackle Davon Godchaux recorded a couple stuffs, while Matt Judon and Christian Barmore were among a few other Patriots players to record at least a stuff.

In terms of the pass rush, the Patriots appeared to record at least three would-be sacks. Barmore and Judon each had one, while defensive end Deatrich Wise appeared to have another.

Corners stand up against weak passing attack

The Patriots' secondary had a nice day on Tuesday, going up against a Panthers opponent that's in the midst of a quarterback battle. Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold each struggled to complete passes down the field. Mayfield completed a deep pass to DJ Moore with Jonathan Jones in coverage, but the pass came after what likely would've been a would-be sack for the Patriots.

Jonathan Jones was targeted a fair amount along the outside, allowing a couple receptions on the day.

Jalen Mills was strong in coverage, recording three pass breakups while mostly lined up against Moore. Shaun Wade was targeted a fair amount during the Darnold-led two-minute drill, but he had two pass breakups and got an interception on a ball batted at the line of scrimmage.

The moment of the day for the defense came when they held the Mayfield-led two-minute drive to three points. The Panthers had the ball down near the goal line just a few yards out, with a pressure forcing an incompletion and tight coverage from Mills forcing the other two incompletions.