Patriots training camp notes: Day 1


Patriots training camp notes: Day 1

By Tom E. Curran, Mary Paoletti and Phil Perry

FOXBORO -- What went on at Day 1 of Patriots training camp? Go ahead and take a look-see.

Today was the first time we saw the actual handiwork of Nike on practice jerseys. Remember, the jerseys were numberless for minicamp and OTAs. The result. The digits were bigger than the ones Reebok had. Repeat. Bigger.

Safety James Ihedigbo, who had offseason shoulder surgery before re-signing recently, wore a red jersey during practice. That didn't stop him from initiating a collision with running back Stevan Ridley along the sidelines. Wide receiverreturn man Matt Slater also was in red. He too hit the deck after coming down with a pass between rookies Alfonzo Dennard and Tavon Wilson.

The first offensive line was a patchwork group with LT Nate Solder, LG Ryan Wendell, C Dan Koppen, RG Dan Connolly and RT Marcus Cannon.

That Tom Brady guy looked okay. He went 23 for 25 with a coverage sack and two incompletes. One was intended for Brandon Lloyd, who got jammed out of bounds. The other got broken up by Arrington when the pocket collapsed around Brady. Jerod Mayo got blown up on the play.

Fans were thrilled to see Brady connect with Lloyd, who wears 85, long down the sideline. It was like an example of all the receptions Chad Johnson should have had last season, but didn't.

Little bit of a slow Day 1 to camp for Ryan Mallett. He didn't take many opportunities to show off the big arm for which he's known, checking down on most of his throws. Combined in 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills, he went 9 for 14. Some of his passes were batted away, others dropped. He did complete one bomb to Julian Edelman down the middle of the field that satisfied the masses.

Brian Hoyer went 8 for 9 in his reps. He had a strip-sack fumble, a scramble and the lone incompletion mixed in there.
Linebacker Bobby Carpenter got plenty of time with the sub-defense.

Robert Kraft made an appearance at practice. The owner's first order of business was an exchange of back slaps with Wes Welker as the receiver passed by after a drill.

Stevan Ridley seemed to get more reps with the presumed 1's than Shane Vereen. The Patriots seemed to make an effort to split the second-team reps between Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett.

Brandon Lloyd turned Devin McCourty inside out with a double move. Heading down the right numbers, Lloyd began to work inside, causing McCourty to turn his hips in that direction. Lloyd then crossed over to the outside and ended up with about 5 yards of separation.

Jabar Gaffney had the first drop of the day early on, which prompted the first big groan of the day from the fans in attendence. But he bounced back quickly. He and Brady connected on two long passes. On one of those Gaffney got behind Josh Barrett and Alfonzo Dennard for a touchdown.

When the teams broke down into positional drills, Aaron Hernandez went with the wide receivers for some of them.

Sterling Moore missed out on two coulda-been picks while receiveer Britt Davis had a pair of drops on catchable throws.

First team cornerbacks: Devin McCourty and Kyle Arrington. Ras-I Dowling came in every now and again, bumping Arrington into the nickel spot.

No big surprise with first team safeties: Steve Gregory and Pat Chung.

Trevor Scott and Rob Ninkovich were first team ends.

How about them rookies? Both Dont'a Hightower and Chandler Jones are watching, learning, subbing in. Hightower was primarily in the middle, but like vet Jerod Mayo, saw action at each of the three linebacker positions. Fellow freshman Chandler Jones came in at Scott's spot.

Hightower is big boy. Of course he is. He's listed at 6-foot-4, 270 pounds. But you don't get a sense of just how big he is until you see him near pretty big guys like Jerod Mayo (6-1, 250) or Dane Fletcher (6-2, 245) and he stands out as the largest.

For the special teams news you've all been waiting for Your first return team was Danny Woodhead and Shane Vereen (Shane Vereen!). Yes, the back is alive and active. Julian Edelman and Matt Slater were next up. Stevan Ridley and Arrington were third.

Defensive lineman Justin Francis left the field early. He walked off -- not appearing to have -- with a trainer around 3:45 PM.