Patriots training camp notes: Day 1

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Patriots training camp notes: Day 1

By Tom E. Curran, Mary Paoletti and Phil Perry
CSNNE.com

FOXBORO -- What went on at Day 1 of Patriots training camp? Go ahead and take a look-see.

Today was the first time we saw the actual handiwork of Nike on practice jerseys. Remember, the jerseys were numberless for minicamp and OTAs. The result. The digits were bigger than the ones Reebok had. Repeat. Bigger.

Safety James Ihedigbo, who had offseason shoulder surgery before re-signing recently, wore a red jersey during practice. That didn't stop him from initiating a collision with running back Stevan Ridley along the sidelines. Wide receiverreturn man Matt Slater also was in red. He too hit the deck after coming down with a pass between rookies Alfonzo Dennard and Tavon Wilson.

The first offensive line was a patchwork group with LT Nate Solder, LG Ryan Wendell, C Dan Koppen, RG Dan Connolly and RT Marcus Cannon.

That Tom Brady guy looked okay. He went 23 for 25 with a coverage sack and two incompletes. One was intended for Brandon Lloyd, who got jammed out of bounds. The other got broken up by Arrington when the pocket collapsed around Brady. Jerod Mayo got blown up on the play.

Fans were thrilled to see Brady connect with Lloyd, who wears 85, long down the sideline. It was like an example of all the receptions Chad Johnson should have had last season, but didn't.

Little bit of a slow Day 1 to camp for Ryan Mallett. He didn't take many opportunities to show off the big arm for which he's known, checking down on most of his throws. Combined in 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills, he went 9 for 14. Some of his passes were batted away, others dropped. He did complete one bomb to Julian Edelman down the middle of the field that satisfied the masses.

Brian Hoyer went 8 for 9 in his reps. He had a strip-sack fumble, a scramble and the lone incompletion mixed in there.
Linebacker Bobby Carpenter got plenty of time with the sub-defense.

Robert Kraft made an appearance at practice. The owner's first order of business was an exchange of back slaps with Wes Welker as the receiver passed by after a drill.

Stevan Ridley seemed to get more reps with the presumed 1's than Shane Vereen. The Patriots seemed to make an effort to split the second-team reps between Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett.

Brandon Lloyd turned Devin McCourty inside out with a double move. Heading down the right numbers, Lloyd began to work inside, causing McCourty to turn his hips in that direction. Lloyd then crossed over to the outside and ended up with about 5 yards of separation.

Jabar Gaffney had the first drop of the day early on, which prompted the first big groan of the day from the fans in attendence. But he bounced back quickly. He and Brady connected on two long passes. On one of those Gaffney got behind Josh Barrett and Alfonzo Dennard for a touchdown.

When the teams broke down into positional drills, Aaron Hernandez went with the wide receivers for some of them.

Sterling Moore missed out on two coulda-been picks while receiveer Britt Davis had a pair of drops on catchable throws.

First team cornerbacks: Devin McCourty and Kyle Arrington. Ras-I Dowling came in every now and again, bumping Arrington into the nickel spot.

No big surprise with first team safeties: Steve Gregory and Pat Chung.

Trevor Scott and Rob Ninkovich were first team ends.

How about them rookies? Both Dont'a Hightower and Chandler Jones are watching, learning, subbing in. Hightower was primarily in the middle, but like vet Jerod Mayo, saw action at each of the three linebacker positions. Fellow freshman Chandler Jones came in at Scott's spot.

Hightower is big boy. Of course he is. He's listed at 6-foot-4, 270 pounds. But you don't get a sense of just how big he is until you see him near pretty big guys like Jerod Mayo (6-1, 250) or Dane Fletcher (6-2, 245) and he stands out as the largest.

For the special teams news you've all been waiting for Your first return team was Danny Woodhead and Shane Vereen (Shane Vereen!). Yes, the back is alive and active. Julian Edelman and Matt Slater were next up. Stevan Ridley and Arrington were third.

Defensive lineman Justin Francis left the field early. He walked off -- not appearing to have -- with a trainer around 3:45 PM.

Green has big game as Bengals dominate Dolphins 22-7

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Green has big game as Bengals dominate Dolphins 22-7

CINCINNATI -- For most of the game, A.J. Green piled up more yards than the entire Miami Dolphins offense in a virtuoso performance. As an encore, he thrilled the crowd by juggling some Florida citrus.

The Bengals receiver followed his disappointing game with a dominating one - 173 yards and a touchdown - and a Cincinnati defense that was inspired by Vontaze Burfict's return clamped down on the Dolphins for a 22-7 victory Thursday night.

The Bengals (2-2) rebounded from a 29-17 home loss to Denver on Sunday with a solid all-around game against a depleted team.

Green led the way, beating the Dolphins (1-3) on every type of route . He was upset with himself after he dropped a pivotal third-down pass and failed to make an impact against the Broncos.

"I hold myself to a very high standard," said Green, who had 10 catches. "I know what I'm capable of. Last week I didn't perform to that level. I had to refocus on a short week."

During the first three quarters, Green had 166 yards on catches while Miami had 152 total yards. The Bengals' season-long problem of stalling out near the goal line forced them to settle for Mike Nugent's season-high five field goals.

Afterward, Green and Andy Dalton appeared on the postgame show, and the receiver entertained the dozens of Bengals fans who stayed around by smoothly juggling three oranges at the interview desk.

"Any time he was one-on-one, he was able to make the play," Dalton said.

The Dolphins were missing four starting offensive linemen, two linebackers, running back Arian Foster and tight end Jordan Cameron. They had one big play - Ryan Tannehill threw a 74-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Stills - but couldn't do anything else on offense.

"We've got to get it fixed and quick, and by that I mean Monday," Tannehill said. "We're kind of in a dark spot right now. It's squarely on our shoulders."

The Bengals' defense expected to get a lift from Burfict's return. The volatile linebacker was suspended by the NFL for the first three games because of his illegal hits. He got a loud ovation when he ran onto the field during introductions wearing a baseball cap. Burfict knocked down a pass and had three tackles.

"He's amazing," end Carlos Dunlap said. "Did you see the plays he made? Those aren't plays you can coach. He came off his couch and played great. It's good to have him back."

Mostly, it was Green's show. He caught a 51-yard pass off Dalton's scramble in the first half, and had a 43-yard catch that set up another field goal in the third quarter for a 19-7 lead.

REMEMBERING FERNANDEZ

A large fan banner in the upper deck at Paul Brown Stadium honored Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, who died with two friends in a boat crash early Sunday near Miami Beach. The banner read: "Jose 16 Heaven's Bright."

STILL CAN'T RUN

The Bengals rushed for 77 yards and only a 2.1-yard average against the second-worst run defense in the league, one missing two starting linebackers.

SLOPPY DOLPHINS

Miami had seven penalties for 68 yards. The most egregious was by Terrence Fede, who pushed Kevin Huber to the ground after he punted in the third quarter. The penalty gave Cincinnati the ball, and the Bengals got a field goal out of it.

INJURIES

Dolphins: LT Branden Albert and C Anthony Steen were inactive with sprained ankles. Also missing were LBs Koa Misi (neck) and Jelani Jenkins (groin). C Mike Pouncey has missed all four games with a hip injury.

Bengals: TE Tyler Eifert was inactive again, contributing to the Bengals' trouble close to the goal line. He's recovering from offseason ankle surgery and returned to practice on a limited basis last week. CB Dre Kirkpatrick was inactive with a hamstring injury suffered Sunday. G Clint Boling sat out most of the fourth quarter with an injured left shoulder.

ANTHEM STATEMENTS

Stills and Dolphins safety Michael Thomas knelt with their hands over their hearts during the anthem.

FANTASY IMPACT

Tannehill was 15 of 25 for 189 yards with a touchdown, an interception, a fumble and five sacks. Dalton was 22 of 31 for 296 yards with a touchdown and a sack.

UP NEXT

The Dolphins begin a stretch of four straight home games against Tennessee, Pittsburgh, Buffalo and the New York Jets.

The Bengals have a tough two-game stretch, playing Dallas and New England on the road. They're 1-5 in Dallas, dropping their last three. They've dropped their last six at New England, last winning in 1986.