Postcards from Patriots Camp: Day 12


Postcards from Patriots Camp: Day 12

So, before we start, you may notice that I put Day 12 in the headline. The last entry was Day 8. Time warp, right? Noooo. See, the Patriots reported July 25. Theyve had nine practices as of Sunday. But theyve been in camp almost two weeks. So calling Sunday Day 9 of camp isnt terribly accurate. Fascinating, no? I cant wait for a game so I can have more stuff to write about.


Tropical. Hot, humid and in the high 80s. No rain.


Full pads. And Brandon Spikes appeared to be wearing a brace on his right knee. Not sure if thats a new addition or standard fare.


1:45-2:30: The same walkthrough, stretching, positional stretching, positional drills that they always do.

2:30: 11-on-11 Drills with a lot of situational stuff mixed in

2:45: Special teams (directional kickoffs and coverage)

2:55: 7 on-7

3:05: 1-on-1 tackling drill

3:10: Special teams, pass-blocking drills, quarterback fundamental drills

3:20:3:45: 11-on-11 situational work


A heckuva pick by Ras-I Dowling down the left sideline on a pass intended for Aaron Hernandez. The ball was thrown by Brian Hoyer.

Jerod Mayo with a stout tackle on Aaron Hernandez in 1-on-1 tackling. Also, Shane Vereen accelerating around Bobby Carpenter and Julian Edelman juking Josh Barrett to the ground.

Converted defensive player Alex Silvestro making a catch in 11-on-11s.

A nice catch by Jessie Holley, followed by my saying, Hes not bad. And my friend Mary Paoletti saying, Liar. Thats the first good play hes made.

Kyle Love down for a stretch and then being helped to the sidelines after what appeared to be an eye injury.

Tom Brady going 14-for-21 in 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills.

Tackle Darrion Weems leaving practice after an apparent leg injury.

A too-many-men-on-the-field penalty on a field-goal attempt by Stephen Gostkowski at the end of a hurry-up drive.
Several trick plays (were not allowed to divulge the nature of said plays. Sorry).

Gronk getting yelled at to get on the field for a kickoff drill.

Chandler Jones pursuit of a scrambling Brian Hoyer on a slow-developing screen.

Brandon Lloyd and Jabar Gaffney standing in the end zone catching deep balls from all three quarterbacks. And Lloyd giving a little surreptitious wave to some kids who kept yelling his name.

Brady getting agitated at Donald Thomas during 11-on-11s.

James Ihedigbo and Matt Slater out of their red jerseys.


Shane Vereen. He appears to be coming around after a slow start to camp.

Devin McCourty. Hes been very good in press coverage when asked to do that a weak point in 2011.

Aaron Hernandez. Generally catching everything thrown to him.


Brandon Deaderick seems to take a lap every practice for some infraction.


Weve got a long way to go. Weve got a long way to go. Weve got a lot of practices, a lot of meetings; weve got four preseason games. Weve got a lot of work ahead of us and were nowhere where we need to be here, but thats why were coming out and practicing every day. Like I said, were not taking anything for granted, were trying to come out and string practices together. We had a good one today and weve got to come out and have a good one tomorrow. Tom Brady on meshing with the offensive line.

Not a lot of talk about Cannon this season, and that's a good thing for Patriots


Not a lot of talk about Cannon this season, and that's a good thing for Patriots

Marcus Cannon has had his run as a piñata. The Patriots offensive lineman is a frequent target when things go wrong up front and, usually, he’s deserved it.

A bit of anecdotal evidence? 

Sunday, I tweeted that every time I watched Cannon, he was making another good play.

On cue, about 10 tweets came back at me with variations of “Keep watching him!”

I asked Bill Belichick if he agreed with the layman’s assessment that Cannon’s playing well.

“I think Marcus [Cannon] has done a good job for us for quite a while,” Belichick began. “I mean he’s stepped in for Sebastian [Vollmer] and then last year when Nate [Solder] was out [and he substituted] for Nate. He has played a lot of good football for us.

“We extended our agreement with him off of his rookie contract which I think speaks to the fact that we want him on the team and we like what he’s doing and so forth and he’s continued to I’d say show with his performance [that he has] validated the confidence that we have in him.”

Cannon’s ending to 2015 – a poor performance (along with the rest of the line) against the Broncos in the AFC Championship Game was followed by a performance against the Cardinals that was marred by late-game holding calls.

But with Sebastian Vollmer injured (and still injured) it was sink or swim with Cannon which had plenty of people rolling their eyes.

But – as I said – every time I see Cannon, he’s either holding off a defensive end in pass protection, steamrolling downfield in the running game or making really athletic second-level or cut blocks in the screen game.

“Like every player, as they gain more experience they do get better,” said Belichick. “I think our offensive line’s certainly improved over the course of the year and playing with more consistency than we did last year. But there’s always room for improvement and the continuity that we’ve had there since (right guard) Shaq [Mason] has gotten in the last few weeks – we had Shaq over on the right side a little bit at the end of the season last year and then this year most all of the year except when Shaq was out for a few weeks there at the end of training camp and the start of the season – but our overall consistency and communication on the offensive line has been better because we’ve had more continuity there so that helps everybody.”

It can’t hurt that the lineman whisperer, Dante Scranecchia, has returned to coach the group. Cannon’s conditioning and physique looks better. He just appears more athletic and explosive. And he’s seemed more relaxed in the limited time the media’s in the locker room.

All off that added up equals nobody really talking about Marcus Cannon.
“Like any lineman, the less you call his name probably the better he’s doing,” said Belichick. “It’s probably a good thing when you guys don’t talk about him. Then that probably means they’re not doing something too noticeably wrong, right?”