Postcards from Patriots Camp: Day 19

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Postcards from Patriots Camp: Day 19

FOXBORO -- Rob Gronkowski missed his second practice and Aaron Hernandez missed his first on Sunday. Brandon Lloyd was also sidelined for Day 19 of training camp, instead joining the rehab group in shorts and a t-shirt.
I'll say it now before you start to panic: There is nothing serious to worry about with any of the trio as far as we know.
So let's get on to the rest of practice.
WEATHERIn the sun? Hotter than hell. The temperature had to be mid-80s and you could feel every degree. But when clouds rolled through it was okay because the humidity wasn't out of control.
WHAT THEY WOREBack to full pads.
WHAT THEY DIDA lot of walkthrough to start. A lot. And Mallet took several of the QB snaps.
2:00-2:09: Basic running, dynamic running, team stretches.
2:09-2:15: Stretching in position groups.
2:15-2:32: Drills. For the secondary, more time was spent working on their drop and catching a ball thrown high. Josh Barrett did some pushups after one pass went through his hands.
2:32-2:36: 1-on-1s. A few noteworthy moments: Tom Brady threw a bad ball to Jabar Gaffney that had no chance. Devin McCourty got the best of Julian Edelman. Marquice Cole, who hasn't impressed much this camp, had great route recognition against Jeremy Ebert to break up the play. McCourty also bothered Edelman enough to cause an incompletion. Edelman came back and made Sterling Moore look foolish his next time out. Mallett threw an awful, awful pass to Jesse Holley who could have beaten Ross Ventrone. Kyle Arrington got Donte' Stallworth around the neck for blatant pass interference.
2:36-2:58: 11-on-11; 2-minute drill.
2:58-3:03: Special teams practiced blocking on punt return.
3:03-3:04: The barrel came out -- finally. Brady, Brian Hoyer, and Mallett tried their luck from about 30-yards out on the right hashmark. None of the three quarterbacks hit. In fact, Josh McDaniels got closest when he hit the front of the barrel.
3:06-3:25: 1-on-1s: O-line vs. D-line. Elsewhere, 7-on-7.
3:30-3:33: "Tackling!" somebody shouted. Your highlights: Matthew Slater got absolutely horse collared by Rob Ninkovich. Justin Francis gave Brandon Bolden the what-for. Welker was far too fast for Dont'a Hightower. Bobby Carpenter looked tough against everybody he faced.
3:33-3:42: More punts, where players worked on line calls. Ebert had an issue somewhere and muffed one. Slater was there for the recovery. Deion Branch, Edelman, and Welker each went back to receive.
3:42-3:48: More 11-on-11.
3:48-3:50: Chris Koepplin got to practice some field goals. One, he dropped dead-center from 55-yards out.
WHAT WE SAWFunny to see the Hernandez ride a bike with the ball tucked under his arm while the rest of the team stretched and ran.
Others who did not practice: Spencer Larsen, Eric Kettani, Daniel Fells, Sebastian Vollmer, Kyle Hix, Alfonzo Dennard, Visanthe Shiancoe, James Ihedigbo, Markus Zusevics, Tracy White, Gerard Warren, Jonathan Fanene, Malcolm Williams, Myron Pryor, Dane Fletcher and Britt Davis (both waived today). Jake Ballard remains out and Brian Waters still hasn't reported.
Logan Mankins was in light pads (today was the last day before he can suit up completely).
Dan Koppen started with the 1s at center.
Stephen Gostkowski was doing handstands at the beginning of practice. Nothing to add to that. Just odd.
No injuries to report, but keep an eye on Julian Edelman and Dont'a Hightower. Edelman came off the field during 11-on-11 and had a trainer attend to his right wrist or hand. The receiver waited a while before putting his glove back on, but did rejoin the drills after a few minutes. Hightower laid on his back during the second hour of practice and got his right ankle taped.
Mallett was moving at a glacial pace during the 2-minute drill. He would have gotten rocked by a Trevor Scott sack on one play and had to throw the ball away. On the next snap, Shane Vereen showcased his speed on a nice shallow crossing route.
Justin Francis and Jake Bequette did a lap. Stevan Ridley and Brian Hoyer both had to run after fumbling a handoff.
Ridley continues to get the stuffing knocked out of him. Jerod Mayo blitzed on one play and just crushed the running back.
Ridley got some revenge on the defense during red zone drills when he beat Dont'a Hightower in the flat and made it in for a touchdown.
WHO'S HOTI'll say Alex Silvestro just because he had his best offensive day of camp. During 11-on-11, the DE-turned-TE jumped over Nate Ebner to make a nice catch on a Brady ball up the seam. The QB was so excited he hugged Silvestro.
Deion Branch also looks to be moving back into good favor in the passing game. Branch got more reps with the 1s today. During red zone 11-on-11 he got over McCourty in the back of the end zone for a TD.
Yesterday I mentioned Mayo for his on-field leadership. Today, I'll keep him under this heading for his play. He created problems for the run whenever he got the chance and had one particularly decisive stuff on Danny Woodhead.
WHO'S NOTKyle Arrington. Yes, he's been working a lot against Welker in the slot, which will make a lot of guys look bad. But he also dropped an easy interception that was thrown right to him. Today is not the first day he's looked un-Arrington like. The one nice play I saw was during 7-on-7 when he bothered Welker enough for an incomplete between the receiver and Brady.
Julian Edelman had two dropped passes and a pass interference penalty. It wasn't all bad; Edelman's just been so good that it's worth noting when he's off.
The offensive line looked leaky at times. Woodhead got stuffed by Ninkovich during red zonegoal line practice and Jeff Tarpinian took advantage of Koppen's ineffectiveness to blow up a screen on the line of scrimmage.
WHAT THEY SAID"Not really. You just have to know everything." -- Nick McDonald on if playing all five spots on the offensive line is challenging.

Hogan on facing his ex-Bills teammates: ‘Like it’s any other game’

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Hogan on facing his ex-Bills teammates: ‘Like it’s any other game’

FOXBORO – Sunday isn’t some “I’ll show them!” game for Chris Hogan. The Buffalo Bills didn’t give up on Hogan last March. They just weren’t going to extend themselves financially the way the Patriots did.

Hogan, a restricted free agent, was lured to New England by the team’s three-year, $12 million contract offer that had $7.5 million guaranteed. Buffalo, which had no cap space, made it clear before the deadline to match the Patriots offer even expired that they couldn’t keep Hogan.

So now, Buffalo enters Sunday’s game without injured wideouts Sammy Watkins and Greg Salas and must resign itself to watching Hogan run around as an opponent.

“I’m just preparing for the game just like it’s any other game,” Hogan said Friday when asked about the matchup. “[Division] opponent so it’s a big game for us. They’re going to come in here pretty excited. There’s going to be a lot of intensity out there.

“Those guys [the Bills] are all my friends still, but we’re playing a game now,” said Hogan. “Once that whistle blows, 60 minutes, I’m going to be playing football. Afterwards we can talk and do all that. My focus is on doing my job and taking advantage of all my opportunities on Sunday.”

Earlier this week, Rex Ryan spoke glowingly of Hogan, who has eight catches for 122 yards and a touchdown so far.

“It was definitely tough to lose him,” Ryan said Wednesday on a conference call. “We didn’t want to. The thing about Chris is he’s a tough guy, he’s a good receiver and things, but the thing that also impressed me is this guy, he did everything that was asked of him. From being a special-teams player and obviously being a wideout, being in the slot, being outside.”

Hogan has eight catches for 122 yards and a touchdown so far.

“It doesn’t surprise me the type of success he’s having, because he’s really a good football player,” said Ryan. “And when you look at him as an athlete, here’s a big-time lacrosse player who then decides he’s going to play one year of football [in college] and now is in the National Football League. He’s a pretty special talent.”

Hogan acknowledged Ryan’s praise, saying, “Anytime someone pays you a compliment, as a head coach in this league, you obviously take that. That meant a lot to me, especially coming from him. I will be forever grateful to them, that organization. They gave me my first chance. That’s where I really kind of made my, started my career. I was there for four years. I established a lot of relationships with those guys and to this day still do. I will always look back on my career and that’s where I started.”

Patriots won’t have to deal with Bills WR Sammy Watkins on Sunday.

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Patriots won’t have to deal with Bills WR Sammy Watkins on Sunday.

FOXBORO - Scratch the estimable Sammy Watkins from the Bills roster for Sunday. 

Buffalo shared via Twitter that their long, tall wideout is out for Sunday with a foot injury. Also down are wideout Greg Salas and left tackle Cyrus Kouandijo.

The Bills' starting left tackle Cordy Glenn has been dealing with an ankle injury that caused him to miss last week's game. 

Robert Woods will be the Bills best outside threat with Watkins taking Sunday off. The Bills' talented corner Ronald Darby is also trying to get back this week from a hamstring injury that caused him to miss last week's game with Arizona.