Postcards from Pats Camp: Day 21

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Postcards from Pats Camp: Day 21

FOXBORO -- Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, and Brandon Lloyd returned to practice Wednesday.
Breathing again? Good.
You'll probably also appreciate hearing Logan Mankins had his first day in full pads. But the good feelings on Day 21 were tempered -- Jabar Gaffney suffered an injury to his right quad just into the second hour and missed the rest of practice.
He giveth and He taketh away.
WEATHERThe sun was blazing. Weather.com tells me it was 83 degrees, but with almost 90 humidity, the heat index must have read higher. Mary Paoletti: Amateur meteorologist.
WHAT THEY WOREFull pads.
WHAT THEY DID1:30-2:00: Walkthrough.
2:01-2:12: Running, dynamic running and stretching.
2:13: Drills. Over on the left field it looked like deconstructed special teams work. In one group, Zoltan Mesko helped some guys with punt blocking; in another, the long snapper helped with punt coverage. Elsewhere, some receivers worked on routes, and quarterbacks practiced rollouts and drops. Members of the secondary practiced basic coverages.
2:35: 1-on-1s. This is when Gaffney got hurt. A ball was thrown long out toward the sideline and the receiver put on an extra burst to get there. The pass went incomplete and Gaffney walked gingerly up the sideline. After he met with a trainer, Gaffney took off his jersey and parked it on a big orange cooler for the rest of practice. It could be taken as a positive that he wasn't taken into the locker room.
2:39: 11-on-11. Tom Brady's offensive line looked a little like this: Nate Solder at LT, Nick McDonald at LG, Dan Koppen at C, Donald Thomas at RG, and Marcus Cannon at RT. There was one beautiful play worth noting in this set. Brady looked play-action and the defense bought it. Aaron Hernandz broke away and made it into the end zone with about 10-yards of separation.
2:57: Punt! The barrel also came out but went unused. What a tease.
3:04: 7-on-7. At the back of the field the offensive and defensive lines did tandem 1-on-1s. Over around on goal post Chris Koepplin was stuck shagging for Stephen Gostkowski. He actually tried to kick a ball back to Gostkowski at one point but drilled the top of the goal post instead. The task didn't appear entertaining. The next time Koepplin hit the post he actually looked excited about it. Ah, the life of a back-up kicker.
3:26: More special teams work.
3:35: More 11-on-11.
3:49: Field goals and beat-the-clock field goals. Mesko loves waving that towel around.
WHAT WE SAWWe already talked about the big three being back (Lloyd, Gronkowski, Hernandez). For absences we're left with: Eric Kettani, Alfonzo Dennard, James Ihedigbo (off again after coming back Tuesday), Spencer Larsen, Tracy White, Malcolm Williams, Markus Zusevics, Matt Kopa, Kyle Hix, Sebastian Vollmer, Visanthe Shiancoe, Daniel Fells, Myron Pryor, Jonathan Fanene. Larsen and White made their first appearances on the field, though in shorts and t-shirts.
Gronkowski missed a ball he's caught dozens of times before. During 11-on-11, Brady threw to the tight end right over the middle. The pass was a little high, but it hit off of both Gronkowski's hands. He should have had it.
Safe to say the defense had a better day overall and loved every second of it.
Jeremy Ebert got some work on punt today. He's returned plenty of kickoffs, but punt is a different animal. Ebert probably found that out when he muffed his first attempt.
A little shoving broke out during 7-on-7 and I do believe it was between Logan Mankins and Justin Francis. Tempers fizzled out as soon as they flared perhaps luckily for Francis.
Stevan Ridley continues to get rocked. Derek Martin lowered his shoulder on the running back and sent Ridley right to the ground. Kid always seems to take an extra hit.
During the second round of 11-on-11, Brady executed a pretty little trick play. Wish I could report it.
Shane Vereen caught a ball on the end of a crossing route, much to the frustration of Brandon Spikes. The linebacker went back to the line and immediately dropped down to do some pushups.
Hoyer made a beautiful lofted throw over a defender to Julian Edelman on the sidelines.
Mallett... Oh, Mallett. He was in on two bad plays in a row before getting yanked. The first was intended for Hernandez who was crossing the middle. Pass was thrown to 81's ankles -- incomplete. Next ball bounced off Edelman's hands.
Hoyer couldn't connect with Jeremy Ebert in the corner of the end zone. Probably because Francis would have sacked the stuff out of him before the throw if that was allowed.
WHO'S HOTI'm going to give a nod to Jeremy Ebert. Muffed punts and kicks aside, he's doing better than imagined at receiver. Ebert has good hands and it making a case for himself. It would help if he was consistent on special teams, but it's early yet.
WHO'S NOTThe offense struggled. Again. More dropped passes and poor throws.
WHAT THEY SAID"That's what practice is for: Push it. I think if you don't push it to that point, you don't know how far it can go.'' -- Bill Belichick

Edelman says 'there was no maliciousness' to his Steelers comments

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Edelman says 'there was no maliciousness' to his Steelers comments

It's funny how during a week like this one, a singularly ridiculous act -- such as Antonio Brown's live stream of the Steelers postgame locker room celebration last weekend -- can lead to a series of brush fires that pop up only to be peed on and put out. 

That was the case yesterday as a comment Julian Edelman made to WEEI earlier this week about Brown's Facebook Live video was spun as a sort of vicious burn directed at the Steelers franchise. 

"That's how that team is run," Edelman said, a comment that read as a more serious indictment than it actually sounded. "I personally don't think that would be something that would happen in our locker room, but hey, whatever. Some people like red and some people like blue. Some people like tulips and some people like roses. Whatever."

That led to Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger being asked about Edelman's comments, and defending the honor of the Rooney family, during a press conference on Wednesday.

"I don’t think I need to speak much," Roethlisberger said. "We’ve got our trophies out there. I’ve got owners that I think are the best in the business. They’re family to us, and I’m sure if he talked to his owner, he would say the same thing about the Rooneys. Anybody in here in the football world or the regular world that owns the Rooneys knows what they stand for. It’s a blessing to call them a family."

And on and on it went. Later in the day, Edelman was asked about his comments during a conference call with Pittsburgh reporters.

So just in case you're keeping score, a Steelers player streamed a video of coach Mike Tomlin calling the Patriots "a-holes," which prompted a response from Edelman. That response prompted a response from Roethlisberger, whose response to the response then led to a response to the response to the response from Edelman.

Got it?

"Yeah, I mean I think it was taken out of context," Edelman said. "I have nothing but respect for the Pittsburgh Steelers. They’re an unbelievable franchise. It starts from the top with the Rooney Family, Coach Tomlin, I think they just mis[interpreted] – I mean, I don’t know, I may have said it, but I think more of that was that it’s not the way we would do it here. That’s just how that goes. There was no maliciousness about it, but it’s whatever. That’s what the media does, try to make stories."

Quick Slants Podcast: Antonio Brown’s betrayal; Matt Light; eyeing up Pittsburgh

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Quick Slants Podcast: Antonio Brown’s betrayal; Matt Light; eyeing up Pittsburgh

Tom E. Curran and Phil Perry discuss the aftermath of Antonio Brown’s Facebook Live video. Curran interview Matt Light ahead of the AFC Championship. They dissect the press conferences of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, and look at how to beat the Steelers.

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2:29 Antonio Brown’s Facebook Live aftermath

13:14 Stopping Le’Veon Bell

27:16 heywassyonumba? with Patrick Chung and Kyle Van Noy

32:30 Injury report updates for AFC Championship

36:51 Brady and Belichick’s press conferences

44:50 Matt Light interview