Postcard from Patriots training camp: Day 8

Postcard from Patriots training camp: Day 8
August 1, 2014, 10:30 pm
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FOXBORO -- Here's the Postcard from Day 8 of Patriots training camp on Friday, August 1.

Nice night to come down to Gillette Stadium and watch the team practice. Friday's session was the annual evening workout held on the game turf in front of season-ticket holders and residents of Foxboro and South Walpole. The temperature was in the mid-70s and by the end of the night, when the sun went down, the humidity was negligible.

Full pads once again. Though they've been in pads everyday since Day 3 of camp, their most recent session was not grueling by any means. There were no tackling drills and the team's top players did not participate in 11-on-11 or 7-on-7 work.

Aaron Dobson, Dominique Easley, Bryan Stork, Jemea Thomas, Tyler Gaffney, Cameron Gordon, Deontae Skinner, Michael Hoomanawanui, Chris Martin and Jeremy Gallon were not spotted at Friday's practice.

The Patriots opened the night with their half-speed installation period. Among the things they worked on were Hail Marys and end-of-half plays.

That was followed by stretching and more warmup work, during which Tom Brady and Ryan Mallett turned the jogging portions into all-out sprints to the sideline. One the sprints Brady won, he celebrated by throwing his arms overhead. (Dant'a Hightower and Jamie Collins also raced during this period.)

While linemen worked on moving along the line during individual position drills, quarterbacks and running backs honed their exchanges. Soon thereafter the team did 7-on-7 work for skill-position players and 1-on-1 matchups for linemen.

The team then alternated 11-on-11 periods with special teams periods -- focused on both the punt and kickoff teams -- until it finished the practice with Stephen Gostkowski field goals.

* All kinds of former Patriots stars were in attendance for the night session. Ty Law (who was inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame earlier in the afternoon) was joined on the sidelines by many of his guests for the ceremony, including Rodney Harrison, Lawyer Milloy, Otis Smith, Troy Brown, Bobby Hamilton, Tedy Bruschi, Kevin Faulk and Max Lane. Patriots owner Robert Kraft also hung on the sideline with the group.

* Friday night was essentially a night off for the starters on both sides of the ball. After warmups and individual position drills, they were spectators. Seven-on-seven and 11-on-11 periods were run with only Ryan Mallett and Jimmy Garoppolo at quarterback. Players like running back Jonas Gray and tight end Justin Jones saw a lot of work as did Zach Moore and Marcus Forston.

* During one 11-on-11 rep, Roy Finch got tossed into a mass of humanity on the sideline and appeared to suffer an injury. He did not return to the practice thereafter.

* Marcus Cannon saw some time at left tackle for Nate Solder during the installation period at the start of practice.

* Bill Belichick's younger son, Brian Belichick, was present and giving handoffs to a coaching assistant in order to help in a drill for defensive front seven players.

* Tom Brady feigned working as a free safety when the backups on offense got half-speed looks against a defense made up entirely of their offensive teammates.

* Matthew Slater and Kanorris Davis ran zig-zags accross the width of the field to mimic tracking a punt returner. Special teams coach Scott O'Brien directed traffic on that particular drill.

* Many of the top players on all units were not participating on Friday, even on special teams, but undrafted rookie Travis Hawkins appeared to get a good number of reps both as a kick returner and on the kickoff team. He was an ace special teamer in college at University of Delaware.

* While special teams units got their work in, Collins and Chandler Jones worked on combination moves to get to the quarterback: They practiced synchronized stunts and criss-crossed against a pair of blockers.

* Slater got a little closer to the action than he did on Thursday, but he was still a limited participant. In punt team work, he lined up about eight yards behind the outside cover men, getting his timing in sync with snaps and then letting up as the rest of the punt cover team ran down the field.

* Ryan Allen kicked a high, end-over-end punt that landed on the two-yard line from about 40 yards away.

Receiver versus defensive back 1-on-1s
* Brady incomplete to Derrick Johnson with Tavon Wilson in coverage.
* Brady complete to Brian Tyms.
* Brady incomplete to Cole Stanford.

Offensive linemen versus defensive linemen 1-on-1s
* Chris Barker and Michael Buchannan fought to a draw.
* Josh Kline had a good rep, keeping Chris Jones in front of him with relative ease.
* Neither tackle Jordan Devey nor Marcus Forston won their matchup.
* Rookie guard Jon Halapio had a dominant win over defensive tackle Joe Vellano.
* Rookie Zach Moore blew by Barker.
* Sealver Siliga used his power to to nearly bowl over Braxston Cave.
* Halapio earns a decisive victory over undrafted rookie defensive tackle Eathyn Manumaleuna.
* Barker and Jones played to a draw.
* Kline easily rode Michael Buchannan to the outside for a win.
* Forston got by rookie tackle Cameron Fleming.

Mallett complete to Jones over the middle.
Mallett complete to Jones deep down the middle.
Mallett incomplete to Van Hooser.

Garoppolo incomplete
Garoppolo incomplete through the arms of DJ Williams.
Garoppolo complete to Tyms.
Garoppolo complete to Finch.

Mallett picked by Logan Ryan. The pass was intended for DJ Williams.
Mallett complete to Finch on a swing pass off a fake reverse. (This was the play that resulted in Finch's apparent injury.)
Mallett incomplete to Johnson.
Mallett fumbles handoff to Gray behind the line.

Garoppolo complete to Stanford in the flat.
Garoppolo incomplete to Tyms.

Mallett complete to Van Hooser over the middle.

Garoppolo incomplete to Watson after a nifty spin move to elude pressure in the pocket.
Garoppolo takes a sack as Chris White and Micheal Buchannan converge on him.
Garoppolo incomplete down the sideline for Gray.

Mallett incomplete to Jones when the ball went off Jones' hands down the seam.

Garoppolo incomplete for Van Hooser.
Garoppolo incomplete off the hands of a diving Jones.

Mallett to Jones down the seam for a leaping catch in the end zone.
Mallett pulls one down, runs into the end zone for the score.
Mallett throws to Taylor McCuller (a linebacker) for a score on a short completion.

Garoppolo spins into Michael Buchannan and fumbles.
Garoppolo incomplete to Johnson. The ball should have been caught but went through Johnson's hands.

* Two interior linemen who appeared to have good workouts and showed well in the one-on-one periods were Kline and Halapio. The Patriots have great experience at the guard spot in Logan Mankins and Dan Connolly, but if injury strikes -- or if Connolly isn't on the 53-man roster to start the season -- it seems as though the team has real dept at that position. Cannon has proven he can also sub in at guard if need be.

* Zach Moore stood out more on this day than any other in my eyes. He won in one-on-one work and got reps on the punt return team. With his height -- he's 6-foot-6 -- and athleticism, he would be an interesting fit on a punt block unit.

* Neither backup quarterback showed all that well on a night in which they received all the reps. Mallett fumbled once and was picked off early in the session. Garoppolo continues to have accuracy issues -- he went 1-for-7 in 11-on-11 periods. He also had to take a "sack" (he was surrounded by defenders with nowhere to go) and fumbled.

* Tough break for Finch to have his night end early on a flukey injury suffered when he crashed into players standing too close to the edge of the sideline. (He probably shouldn't have been taken to the ground by the defense in the first place since generally in these 11-on-11 periods plays are finished off with a simple wrap-up.) Finch was getting some significant time as a kick returner in camp and may still challenge for that job if he can return to practice healthy. Belichick did not have any update on Finch after the session.

"Those guys are legends." -- Darrelle Revis commenting on all the former Patriots in attendance on Friday night.