Chandler Jones continues to impress

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Chandler Jones continues to impress

Patriots linebacker Jerrod Mayo on rookie defensive end Chandler Jones: "That's our closer."
The rookie has made an impact on his teammates in camp and he's also impressed CSNNE.com Patriots insider Tom E. Curran and "SportsNet Central's" Mike Giardi, who discussed Jones' progress, and that of the Pats' defense, at training camp.
"It's very interesting to watch him sprint up the field, then take to get to the quarterback," Curran said.
"They had a bunch of Swiss Army knives before," Curran said of the Pats versatile defenders. "This is a guy who does one thing."
And that's get to the quarterback. The rookie "is way farther along" than the Patriots had hoped, Curran said.
In fact the whole defense seems to have made progress from last year's group.
"They're swarming to the ball and playing with incredible enthusiasm," Curran said. They're also making it tough on the Pats' offense in practice.

Gronkowski healthy enough to participate during Patriots OTA practice

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Gronkowski healthy enough to participate during Patriots OTA practice

There's one where he makes a one-handed catch and celebrates with his arms outstretched as he glides into the end zone. There's another where he leaves his feet to go up and over safety Devin McCourty to come down with a pass. 

Judging by some of the pictures that have surfaced on Patriots.com of Rob Gronkowski participating in an OTA practice earlier this week, the All-Pro tight end seems to be feeling pretty good. 

Gronkowski, who agreed to an incentive-laden contract restructure for the upcoming season, is returning to action after undergoing season-ending back surgery last year so there was some question as to just how prepared he'd be to participate in practices this spring and summer. 

Again, judging by the photos, the answer is he's ready to ready to run routes on air and make contested catches against defenders.

Reporters will have an opportunity to watch the team practice on Thursday, the first workout open to members of the media, which will allow us to judge Gronkowski's mobility and his level of participation more fully.

Another takeaway from the photos on the team website is that Gronkowski was not required to wear a non-contact jersey during the session. Contact is not allowed during this phase of the offseason training program, but players returning from injury (and quarterbacks) will still wear red jerseys to inform their teammates they're not to be touched. For instance, Jonathan Freeny, who was placed on season-ending injured reserve about a month into last season, donned a red non-contact jersey in one image.