Postcards from Camp: Day 8

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Postcards from Camp: Day 8

Day 8 of Patriots Training Camp. Another day in full pads before Saturday's day off. With the scalding temperatures, Friday attracted the lightest crowd of fans so far at Gillette Stadium. The team gets back at it Sunday with two days of practice before the New Orleans Saints arrive for three days of work.

WEATHER
Hot and humid with temperatures in the 90s. The wind picked up in the late afternoon to help cool things a little bit but the past two days have been the hottest of camp.

WHAT THEY WORE
Full pads. And James Ihedigbo and Matt Slater still cruising around in red "Leave Me ALONE!!" jerseys.

WHAT THEY DID
The warmup period that included half-speed walkthroughs of some running plays, a few special teams reps and then team stretching and running before the team broke into positions and stretched and did drills.

Everyone but the offensive linemen took part in a strip drill, jogging across the width of the field while a teammate tugged at the ball. The teammates would switch and run back to the original spot. DBs and WRs again worked on setting the edge on running plays and funneling ball-carriers inside to the help.

The field goal team worked on half and game-ending field goals, high-tailing it onto the field, lining up quickly and getting the ball through.

The offensive and defensive line worked extensively on combo blocking, stunts and twists.

7-on-7, 11-on-11 and hurryup offense were all executed.

WHO'S HOT
Chandler Jones. The rookie has worked at the right end spot almost exclusively and it appears, as we go along, the team has designs on putting a ton on his plate this season.

Jabar Gaffney. His precision and dependability continues to be noteworthy. Especially with neither Deion Branch nor Brandon Lloyd practicing at full capacity on Friday.

Robert Gallery. During a drill in which offensive lineman had to work in concert to deal with twists in the pass rush, Gallery showed better quickness and his trademark power in stiffening some of the pass rushers as they tried to push the pocket.

WHO'S NOT
Marcus Cannon. He wound up on the ground and lost his helmet during the second scrap. He also got tossed around by Vince Wilfork during some of the blocking drills. That happens, but the shoulder-slumping you see from Cannon when things don't go well may be signaling frustration.

Tom Brady. Dialed in to a high degree during the first few days of camp, his accuracy hasn't been Brady-like the past two days. He underthrew Matt Slater in the end zone, allowing the ball to be flipped away by safety Steve Gregory. Brady loosed a loud expletive after that miss.

WHAT THEY SAID
"Coach Belichick talked to us and hopefully that won't happen again. We can't be fighting ourselves, we gotta be working to improve." - Bobby Carpenter on the two fights that broke out Friday.

Ratto: Kaepernick controversy touches on hot-button issues in an ugly political year

Ratto: Kaepernick controversy touches on hot-button issues in an ugly political year

Ray Ratto joins Chevrolet SportsNet Central to discuss Colin Kaepernick's decision to not stand during the national anthem before the San Francisco 49ers preseason game.

Belichick says all three QBs could use more game reps

Belichick says all three QBs could use more game reps

Bill Belichick was expansive Saturday when asked on a conference call how he'll split the quarterback reps for the Patriots final preseason game Thursday in New York.

"I think that’s a good question, it’s a fair question, it’s one that we really have to give some good consideration to," Belichick began. "As I said before, I think whatever we do will benefit whoever does it. We want to get Jimmy [Garoppolo] ready for the Arizona game. Tom [Brady] isn’t going to be playing for a while, so it’s kind of his last chance to play until he comes back after a few weeks. Jacoby [Brissett] certainly could use all the playing time that he can get. I think that whichever players we play will benefit from it and it will be valuable to them. We could play all three quarterbacks a lot next week and they’d all benefit from that and it would all be good, but we can’t."

Since they can't, Belichick said there will be situational work done with whoever isn't going to get the game reps.

"We only have one game and so many snaps, so we’ll have to, between practice and the game, put them in some situations that are somewhat controllable like a two-minute situation or things like that that you know are going to kind of come up one way or another," said Belichick. "You can sort of control those in how you want those broken down, what’s best, what does each guy need and how can we get the best we need for each guy. I need to let them get the reps that they need, but it’s how do we get the team ready for what they need to be ready for. They all need to get ready for different things.

What Jimmy’s role is in a couple weeks is going to be a lot different than what Tom’s is, and it’s going to be a lot different than what Jacoby’s is. At some point later on, those roles are going to change again. So again, there’s no perfect solution to it. We’ll just do the best we can to try to have our individual players and our team as well prepared as possible at whatever point that is that we have to deal with, and whenever those situations come up."

As I wrote earlier today, this is the sticky and uncomfortable situation arising from Deflategate. It's not a Tom Brady penalty. It's a team penalty when one considers the ripple effects. And there's no handbook to consult.

 

Report: Patriots sign LB Jonathan Freeny to two-year extension

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Report: Patriots sign LB Jonathan Freeny to two-year extension

The Patriots have signed backup linebacker and special teamer Jonathan Freeny to a two-year contract extension through 2018, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported.

Freeney, 27, was originally signed by the Patriots to a one-year free-agent deal in March 2015 after spending the first four years of his NFL career with the Miami Dolphins. He then earned a one-year extension last September and played 13 games, seven starts, with 50 tackles, one sack and a forced fumble. 

"Jonathan is a very dependable player," Bill Belichick said on a conference call Saturday. "He is able to do a lot of different roles for us. He can play inside, outside, on the line of scrimmage and off the ball defensively. He has been a very valuable player for us in the kicking game, obviously with some size, a four-phase special teams player.

"He is one of our overall top workers in terms of the offseason program, preparation, training. He always does things right. He works hard, doesn't really say a lot, but is very dependable and consistent. I think everybody in the organization looks up to him."