Postcard from Patriots Camp: Day 4

Postcard from Patriots Camp: Day 4
July 29, 2013, 11:45 pm
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FOXBORO -- The fourth open practice of the 2013 Patriots Training Camp was held inside Gillette Stadium for season-ticket holders. The players took the field while the Patriots Hall of Fame inductions were still proceeding. The players had been on the field nearly 25 minutes, with the stadium’s video board showing the ceremony live as the players worked out, when practice began at 6:30 p.m.


Beautiful night for football, warm light breeze and temperature in the 70s.

Full pads, Ryan Mallett and Tim Tebow were in red non-contact jerseys as was corner Devin McCourty, who otherwise participated fully. And Kyle Arrington decided to wear neon green cleats, which was a treat.

Brandon Bolden joined the players who’ve been missing practice. Cory Grissom returned. Others down were Armond Armstead, Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman, Mark Harrison and Nick McDonald.

The Patriots released a statement on Armstead Monday night that said, “Armond Armstead had surgery to treat an infection.  Armond is in good condition and is expected to make a full recovery.  A timetable has not been set for his return to football.” The Patriots offering any injury or surgery information is extremely rare.

Practice opened with half-speed 11-on-11, non-contact work. They then did dummy special-teams work for the punt and punt-return team (Tim Tebow in as the personal punt protector).
Tom Brady led the first offense against the first defense with Ryan Mallett as the understudy. Tebow ran the second offense at the other end of the field against the second defense.
The entire team did its customary jog-stretch session then, after breaking into positional stretching groups, Tedy Bruschi came on the field and addressed the entire team for about five minutes in an animated pep talk.
The team split out for positional drills.
Defensive backs worked on discarding a medicine ball rolled at their feet and then coming off the edge to strip. Defensive linemen then worked in. Linebackers worked on tips and then drops and pursuit.
The quarterbacks, running backs and receivers worked on breaking off routes when the quarterback has to move out of the pocket.
The defense worked on gap-responsibility and setting edge.
There was a 9-on-7 running-game drill with full contact, though not to-the-ground tackling.  
Quarterbacks and receivers worked two-man combo patterns against the defensive backs.
The teams then split into 11-on-11.
Special-teams punting was again on the clock.
The linemen worked on 2-on-2 blocking drills while Brady and Tebow worked with wideouts against corner and safety coverage. Mallett threw to the backs and tight ends.
The team broke into 7-on-7, followed by 11-on-11 followed by field goals.

Rob Ninkovich. Relentless, efficient, always in the right spot.
Aqib Talib. Had a couple of picks of Tom Brady and could have had more. Just a junkyard dog in coverage.

Michael Hoomanawanui. The tight end had a number of difficult catches to make and came down with most of them including a one-handed snare of a throw over the middle
Ryan Mallett. In 11-on-11 he couldn’t hit open receivers. The most egregious was the last of the session, when he missed Kenbrell Thompkins working on a 20-yard out and threw it our of bounds.  
Chris McDonald. The brother of Nick McDonald has been getting his lunch money taken fairly regularly during 1-on-1s.
Kenbrell Thompkins. After three solid practices, Thompkins seemed to level off some. He and Brady seemed on the wrong page when Brady was picked off by Aqib Talib.
-- There was much higher intensity, particularly in the 9-on-7 running game drill than seen on Sunday in the first padded practice.
-- After a variety of missed downfield throws from Tim Tebow to several targets, Brady stepped in and threw a perfect back-shoulder throw to Kamar Aiken down the left sideline from about 25 yards out.
-- When Zoltan Mesko was initially in punt protection, the slightly built Steve Gregory was his personal protector. Perhaps Gregory is in there to reason with the prospective punt block group.
-- Tim Tebow was the other personal protector.
-- Tommy Kelly is Seymour strong.
-- In the 1-on-1's we caught, here’s what we had . . . 
Jake Bequette gets the edge on Nate Solder
Jermaine Cunningham swims Chris McDonald.

Marcus Fortson stoned by Ryan Wendell
Tommy Kelly too powerful for Marcus Cannon
Will Svitek holds off Jason Vega
Michael Buchanan beats Elvis Fisher
Vince Wilfork outfights Logan Mankins
Joe Vellano swims Chris McDonald
 -- Wide receiver Lavelle Hawkins had an obvious drop on a throw from Brady. He’s not making the most of his opportunities so far.
-- You can tell Brady like Kenbrell Thompkins. He seeks him out in 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 and Thompkins fights like an animal when the ball is in the air.
-- Thompkins, Aaron Dobson, Danny Amendola and Daniel Fells were the first group of targets in for Tom Brady. Shane Vereen was the lone back.
-- Josh Boyce, Michael Jenkins, Michael Hoomanawanui and Jake Ballard were the next group in with Stevan Ridley running behind Vereen.
-- Elvis Fisher left practice with an injury and adjourned to the locker room.
-- Tight end Brandon Ford let Tebow down with a drop on perfectly thrown ball over the middle.
-- Danny Amendola had a couple of drops but atoned soon after wrestling a 50-50 ball away from Talib.
-- Josh Boyce took the wrong angle on a comeback pattern and when he was off by about 2 yards to the inside, he was handcuffed by Brady’s pass. Brady cast his gaze skyward and then went to counsel Boyce. On the next play, he ran a terrific route and got open deep down the seam.

“Whoa, we practice harrrdddd!” – Tommy Kelly, former Raider, after Monday’s practice.