FOXBORO -- Practice moved back to the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium for the fifth day of 2013 Patriots Training Camp. It was a decidedly up-tempo padded practice, a departure from the last few sluggish sessions. If New England hoped to put in one solid workout before Wednesday's off-day, that's what it got over the last two hours.
The day could not have been more beautiful. Sunshine was ample and temperatures roamed around the low 80s. A mild breeze kept the heat in check.
WHAT THEY WORE
Another day of full pads. Devin McCourty is still in a red non-contact jersey, though appeared to have full participation. Receivers Mark Harrison and Julian Edelman, defensive lineman Cory Grissom, tight end Rob Gronkowski were in sweats. Harrison and Edelman spent some time working out with a trainer on the lower field. Offensive lineman Dan Connolly, who underwent shoulder surgery in February, did the same, only by himself.
WHO WASN’T THERE
Aaron Dobson's status is a head-scratcher. The rookie receiver was really picking up steam before sitting out on Monday. He made it out to the field at around 3:30 p.m, but was wearing shorts and a t-shirt and made his way to the sideline gingerly. No news of an injury to report as of yet. Brandon Bolden was MIA today after returning to the field Sunday night. Nick McDonald remains out and Armond Armstead's absence was expected after news of his surgery surfaced yesterday. O-liner Elvis Fisher was the final man unaccounted for.
NEWS OF NOTE
Fight! Fight! Fight! Well, not really. The minor shoving match between cornerback Kyle Arrington and running back Stevan Ridley was broken up right after it began. It still counts as camp's first skirmish, however. Ridley still appeared to be peeved as he walked off the field, but wouldn't say much about it.
WHAT THEY DID
2:20 p.m: Dare I say it? The day started with TIm Tebow running the read option. It's true.
Before long, Tom Brady came out for some goal line installation.
2:40 p.m: The entire team went to the sideline for a warmup job and dynamic stretching.
Before 2:50 p.m: The offense and defense split up. On the left field, guys worked on defensive coverage. A few Hail Mary's flew up for this drill.
A different group broke off for special teams coverage.
Quarterbacks worked on accuracy by throwing to a ball boy who moved to the end points of the route tree.
A defensive group went hard at the blocking bag.
QBs and receivers did more red zone installation and route combinations.
3:10 p.m: Offense and defense split up again and the "O" worked on blocking scheme and line calls.
The tackling sleds have gone unused and look incredibly lonely.
WRs and defensive backs try to best each other in 1-on-1s.
3:25 p.m: Kickoff return.
3:30 p.m: 7-on-7.
3:36 p.m: Time for down and distance. The chains came out and New England ran some hurry-up offense in 11-on-11.
3:50 p.m: More drills, including ball security. The carrier worked his way across the width of the field carrying two footballs while two defensive players tried to bother him for a fumble.
4 p.m: More kickoff. Special teamers practiced handling directional and surprise onside kicks.
The always entertaining pass rush drills between the offensive and defensive lines.
Some more 7-on-7.
4:06 p.m: Another session of 11-on-11.
4:15 p.m: Situational football! The Patriots were third-and-goal on the 1-yard line.
A last crack at 11-on-11, in which tempers flared.
Kenbrell Thompkins. Overall, he had a nice day. One catch in particular, during 7-on-7 was a crowd-pleaser: Thompkins beat cornerback Logan Ryan and safety Devin McCourty into the end zone for a beautiful TD grab.
Zach Sudfeld. Thompkins' catch was the play of the day until Sudfeld took the title. During New England's 11-on-11 that covered third-and-goal, the rookie tight end dove into the end zone over veteran safety Adrian Wilson to make a one-handed haul of Tom Brady's pass.
Leon Washington. He's still got it, man. You may know the 30-year old is fast, but his speed during kickoff return was impressive. He also made a nice catch over linebacker Jeff Tarpinian and didn't quit -- Washington jukes and jived all the way toward the end zone.
Logan Ryan. Had a feeling, didn't you. He did get beaten badly by Thompkins on that long, long touchdown pass. But two other rookies, Quentin Sims and Josh Boyce, brought in passes right in front of Ryan's face. The DB should be happy for tomorrow's day off.
Zach Sudfeld. Yes, he's in this category too. Though he did make that one highlight reel catch, he wasn't consistently on-point. Dont'a Hightower got the better of Sudfeld on a crucial goal line play by breaking up the pass attempt.
LeGarrette Blount. Sometimes you just can't get the taste of one bad play out of your mouth. During 11-on-11, Brady went for a handoff but Blount wasn't there. Where the hell did he run to? The wrong spot. Brady ended the play on one knee and was not happy.
WHAT WE SAW
-- After an ugly Sunday evening of offense, the ship appeared to right itself in a practice focused on red zone and goal line work. There were some missed connections -- between Brady and Boyce; between Brady and tight end Jake Ballard; between Tim Tebow and Kamar Aiken; between Tebow and Slater -- but the team recovered well.
-- Danny Amendola's performance was hard to peg. You'd think he was on a roll, like after an excellent catch over Alfonzo Denanard, and then he'd blow it on two consecutive plays. The first, during 11-on-11, was because of a total miscommunication with Brady; the pass went in one direction and Amendola ran in the other. The second ball found its target, but went right through Amendola's hands.
-- Speaking of slick hands, cornerback Aqib Talib, in triple coverage, couldn't bring in a tipped ball he absolutely should have taken for an interception. Between that and getting beat by receiver Matthew Slater on a touchdown pass (Slater ran a perfect, perfect corner route), Talib had something of a down day.
-- We saw a fake field goal! Instead of a boot, kicker Stephen Gostkowski got the ball off to fullback Ben Bartholomew, who streaked down the field untouched. Punter Zoltan Mesko was so excited by the play he met Bartholomew in the air for a mid-jump chest bump.
-- Ridley was stripped during the ball security drill. Not good. All mistakes are magnified for a guy who has had past issues with fumbling.
WHAT THEY SAID
“That's camp.” – Stevan Ridley on his dust-up with Kyle Arrington.