Postcards from Camp: Day 4

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Postcards from Camp: Day 4

Day 4 of Patriots Training Camp. It was the second day in full pads. The team holds a morning walkthrough each day in the stadium before the practice in the afternoon that's open to public. It was another fat crowd on hand, more than 14,000 according to Patriots media relations.

WEATHER

It was a player-friendly day in terms of weather. Full cloud cover and temperatures in the low 70s.

WHAT THEY WORE

Full pads. And James Ihedigbo and Matt Slater still cruising around in red "Leave Me ALONE!!" jerseys.

WHAT THEY DID
1:45: The warmup period that included half-speed walkthroughs of some running plays, a few special teams reps and then team stretching and running before the team broke into positions and stretched and did drills.

2:15: Everyone but the offensive linemen took part in a strip drill, jogging across the width of the field while a teammate tugged at the ball. The teammates would switch and run back to the original spot. DBs and WRs again worked on setting the edge on running plays and funneling ball-carriers inside to the help. On one play, James Ihedigbo - despite the red shirt - got toppled by Britt Davis, a wide receiver. Assistant coach Steve Belichick was working as the quarterback during the run-force session. He needs to work on his tosses.

2:30: The linebackers and running backs engaged in a heated blitz pickup session. Tight end Spencer Larsen irritated linebacker Jeff Taripinian when he took Tarpinian down hard. Jerod Mayo finished his rush against Stevan Ridley with a high elbow near the helmet of the second-year back. Dane Fletcher beat Ridley badly on a blitz. Dont'a Hightower was a beast, running through Eric Kettani then pitching Kettani into running backs coach Ivan Fears. Fears hit the deck on contact. On Saturday, Hightower threw Danny Woodhead into assistant coach Pepper Johnson.

2:50: The team again ran half-line running plays giving the interior lines a chance to work on their reps from Saturday. The defense again continued to get good penetration against the makeshift offensive line group.

3:00-4:00: The team broke into 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills. There were some goal line reps at the end. The defense held on two of the four plays run down there, one of the holds was a drop by Rob Gronkowski who had two drops on Sunday. One of the touchdowns came after Brandon Bolden toppled in after being hit in the backfield.

WHO'S HOT

Stevan Ridley continues to look fast and decisive and really comfortable in the offense.

Kicker Chris Koepplin drilled each of his field goal attempts, drilling about seven and moving all the way back to the 50-yard range before he was done.

Brian Hoyer continues to shine with his accuracy. His ability to gauge speed and anticipate openings on crossing routes is remarkable.

WHO'S NOT

Still not seeing much from Shane Vereen.

Same goes for Robert Gallery.

Brandon Spikes. Haven't seen him do too much as he works back from offseason knee surgery. He's not been a fast healer in the past and that seems to be holding.

WHAT WE SAW

Jabar Gaffney and Deion Branch were flipped in taking reps today. Branch ran with the 1s; Gaffney ran with the 2s with few exceptions.

Rookie Justin Francis blasted Danny Woodhead to the ground in 11-on-11.

After a number of running plays in 11-on-11, Tom Brady went play action and found Brandon Lloyd way behind the defense. Either Patrick Chung or Steve Gregory was the safety that blew the coverage. It was hard to tell because both men had their jerseys rolled up and they were at the far end of the field then obscured as they came back to the huddle.

Aaron Hernandez had cheek kisses for Jonathan Kraft.

Offensive lineman Jamey Richard wobbled off with a concussion.

WHAT THEY SAID

"To see three big linemen in front of you trying to get downfield on some DBs, it's a chance to make a big play. To me, it's a present, almost." - Stevan Ridley on the Patriots' screen game which has been cropping up quite a bit in early work.

Sanu on Patriots' Super Bowl comeback: Lady Gaga's long halftime hurt Falcons

Sanu on Patriots' Super Bowl comeback: Lady Gaga's long halftime hurt Falcons

Three weeks removed from his team blowing a 25-point, second-half lead in the Super Bowl, Mohamed Sanu offered a possible explanation for the Atlanta Falcons losing their edge against the Patriots.

Lady Gaga.

More specifically, it was the half-hour-plus halftime show that interrupted the Falcons' rhythm, the receiver said Friday on the NFL Network's "Good Morning Football."

“Usually, halftime is only like 15 minutes, and when you’re not on the field for like an hour, it’s just like going to work out, like a great workout, and you go sit on the couch for an hour and then try to start working out again,” Sanu said.

Sanu was asked if the delay was something you can simulate in practice. 

"It's really the energy [you can't duplicate]," he said. "I don't know if you can simulate something like that. That was my first time experiencing something like that."

Patriots coach Bill Belichick did simulate it. In his Super Bowl practices, he had his team take long breaks in the middle.

Sanu also addressed the Falcons' pass-first play-calling that didn't eat up clock while the Patriots came back.

"The thought [that they weren't running the ball more] crossed your mind, but as a player, you're going to do what the coach [Dan Quinn] wants you to do." Sanu said. "He's called plays like that all the time."


 

It's official: Patriots nab third-round compensatory pick in Collins trade

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It's official: Patriots nab third-round compensatory pick in Collins trade

The Patriots received a conditional fourth-round pick in 2018 from the Browns in return for Jamie Collins. That's how the trade was described on the league's transaction wire. 

The "condition" of that fourth-rounder? Well, if the Browns received a third-round compensatory pick in 2017, the Patriots would nab that pick instead. 

On Friday, the NFL announced that the Browns had in fact been awarded a third-round compensatory pick, which meant that almost three full weeks after Super Bowl LI, everything was still coming up Patriots.

In actuality, the odds were pretty good all along that the Patriots would get what they got

Cleveland lost Pro Bowl center Alex Mack in free agency last offseason when he opted to sign with the Falcons. Because compensatory picks are based on free agents lost and free agents acquired, and because the Browns did not sign any similarly-impactful free agents, there was a good chance Mack's departure would render a third-round comp pick that would be shipped to New England.

Had Mack suffered a significant injury that forced his play to drop off or limited his time on the field, a third-rounder may have been out of the question, but he played well (named a Pro Bowler and a Second Team All-Pro) and stayed healthy -- lucky for the Patriots -- missing just 17 total snaps in the regular season. 

The Browns comp pick that will be sent to New England is No. 103 overall. The Patriots were also awarded a fifth-round comp pick, No. 185 overall. That was a result of the league weighing the departures of Akiem Hicks and Tavon Wilson against the arrival of Shea McClellin.

The Patriots now have nine selections in this year's draft: One first-rounder; one second-rounder; two third-rounders; one fourth-rounder*; two fifth-rounders; two seventh-rounders.

The third-round compensatory pick acquired by the Patriots carries additional value this year in that it is the first year in which compensatory picks can be traded. A near top-100 overall selection may allow the Patriots to move up the draft board or build assets in the middle rounds should they be inclined to deal. And we know they oftentimes are. 

* The Patriots forfeited their highest fourth-round selection in this year's draft as part of their Deflategate punishment. They acquired a fourth-round pick from the Seahawks last year. Because that would have been the higher of their two selections, that's the one they'll lose. They will make their own fourth-round pick at No. 137 overall.