Patriots training camp notes: Day 5

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Patriots training camp notes: Day 5

FOXBORO -- Guess who's back?! Nope, not telling you here. Start reading.
Visanthe Shiancoe wore just a t-shirt and shorts Tuesday -- official uniform of those not practicing. It's his first pissed practice. Same for Tony Fiammetta.
Alfonzo Dennard was again in shorts. He and Logan Mankins, Nick McDonald, Markus Zusevics, Myron Pryor, Sebastian Vollmer, Nate Ebner, and Jeremy Ebert began the day on bikes or elliptical machines before moving to the lower field for stretching and other rehab work.
Jamey Richard was 100 absent. He suffered a concussion in Sunday's sesssion.
Asked if there was any update on absent-but-excused offensive lineman Brian Waters, Belichick answered..."Nope."Brandon Spikes saw his first real action since that February surgery. And man, was he amped. Spikes looked giddy to be able to hit people again, evident when he blew up Dan Connolly in his first 11-on-11 snap. He chest-bumped or high-fived somebody after almost every play.
Bill Belichick wet-ragged the conversation of Tom Brady and Brandon Lloyd being the most unstoppable QB-Receiver duo of this century and future ones. "Yeah, we have a long way to go. I think its a little too early to get excited about anything. We have a lot of work to do ..."
Jesse Holley can't catch. Okay, he can catch, but he's not doing it much in training camp.
A few highlights from the first WR-DB 1-on-1s of training camp:
-Matthew Slater bested Sterling Moore.-Devin McCourty had a great pass break-up on Britt Davis in one corner of the end zone.-Ras-I Dowling also beat Davis.-Sergio Brown had no hope of getting a ball from Rob Gronkowski.-Patrick Chung got a pick off of Alex Silvestro (former DE who's having a rough go of it at TE; see next note).-Aaron Hernandez separately wrecked both James Ihedigbo and Patrick Chung with that sweet little cutback of his.-Tavon Wilson grabbed at Gronkowski's jersey but still couldn't get to him.
Silvestro is dangerous. He almost squished Julian Edelman when the two were running a crossing pattern at the same depth. And when he falls among the secondary players, he falls hard.
Steve Gregory got the better of Hernandez in an open field tackling drill.
Brandon Bolden had to run a lap after fumbling a Tom Brady ball during 11-on-11. He had to cradle the football as he ran. Makes sense.
Oh, Ryan Mallett. Despite Sunday being one of his better practices, the backup quarterback's backup didn't seem to do much quarterbacking on Tuesday. He went over snaps and signals with the offensive line at one point, also played some special teams. When he did throw, he had at least one interception.
Dan Koepplin did most of the booming on kick returns today. Danny Woodhead, Matt Slater, Donte' Stallworth did some of the receiving.
Nobody gets knocked around like Stevan Ridley gets knocked around. He told me the other day he doesn't mind getting banged to the ground during camp, even if the players are supposed to just wrap and release. Apparently, he's made that public in the locker room because he got jolted to the ground about a half-dozen times on Tuesday.
According to CSN reporter Mike Giardi, in offensive v. defensive line 1-on-1's: "Kyle Love beat on Dan Koppen, Chandler Jones fooled with Nate Solder, Robert Gallery man-upped Vince Wilfork, Darrion Weems put rookie Jake Bequette in the turf." Isn't Mike colorful?
Part of Patrick Chung's spiel on Tuesday was promoting the New Era training camp hats that are out. They are actually really good looking -- fitted white mesh.
Steve Dubin, half of the sports agency firm Yee and Dubin that represents Tom Brady and Julian Edelman, was in attendance on Tuesday.
Also in attendance was former Giants linebacker Carl Banks who played for the G-Men under Belichick. He was wearing a Patriots T-shirt and shorts. When news of his presence was tweeted out, a few Giants fans tweeted back their surprise, noting, "I just threw up in my mouth."
Ebner was the rookie who got stuck schlepping other guys' gear after practice. He carried at least four different sets of helmets and pads into the locker room. Builds character (unless you're Dez Bryant).
Tom Brady ran some sprints alone after practice.
Wednesday night, the team has its annual in-stadium practice for season-ticket holders and Foxboro residents. There's no public access to the event and no afternoon practice.

Bennett says he is 'just chilling' and hasn't given free agency 'a ton of thought'

Bennett says he is 'just chilling' and hasn't given free agency 'a ton of thought'

Will Martellus Bennett be back with the Patriots next season?

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport says it's "a real possibility" Bennett leaves given the asking price and potential offers.

Less than an hour later, the unrestricted free agent sent out a tweet responding to speculation about his future.

Bennett, who will 30 years old in March, had seven touchdowns in 19 games in his first season with the New England Patriots. 

 

Blount on free agency: 'I definitely want to go back to New England'

Blount on free agency: 'I definitely want to go back to New England'

LeGarrette Blount knows where he wants to be for 2017. Ever since he re-joined the Patriots in 2014 following a short stay in Pittsburgh, the 250-pound back has been very open about how he wants to play out the rest of his career in New England. 

Those feelings haven't changed, even as he faces free-agency after having recorded the best season of his seven-year career.

"I just want to make sure that I go to this free agency with an open mind, knowing that I definitely want to go back to New England," he told NFL Total Access on Monday. "I love it there. I love the culture. I love the players. I've become close with a lot of the guys. Obviously you know how my running back group is.

"We'll cross that bridge whenever we cross it. On that point, I feel great. I'm in amazing shape. I feel like I could play 100 more years if I have to."

Blount finished 2016 with career-highs in attempts (299) yards (1,161) and touchowns (18). His ability to help the Patriots close games in the fourth quarter was notable throughout the course of the season, and he was among the most effective goal-line backs in the league. His 18 rushing scores are a franchise record.

Toward the end of the season, as Dion Lewis worked his way back into the Patriots offense, Blount had his workload cut into, and his fumble in the Super Bowl was a near-catastrophic moment -- his devastated reaction to which was caught expertly by NFL Films. But a big-picture view of Blount's year would reveal that he  posted the most prodictive "big back" season the Patriots have had in more than a decade.

Blount signed a one-year deal with the Patriots last offseason after seeing his 2015 prematurely ended by way of a hip injury. He turned 30 in December.