Postcards from Camp: Day 8

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Postcards from Camp: Day 8

Day 8 of Patriots Training Camp. Another day in full pads before Saturday's day off. With the scalding temperatures, Friday attracted the lightest crowd of fans so far at Gillette Stadium. The team gets back at it Sunday with two days of practice before the New Orleans Saints arrive for three days of work.

WEATHER
Hot and humid with temperatures in the 90s. The wind picked up in the late afternoon to help cool things a little bit but the past two days have been the hottest of camp.

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

WHAT THEY DID
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.

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.

The field goal team worked on half and game-ending field goals, high-tailing it onto the field, lining up quickly and getting the ball through.

The offensive and defensive line worked extensively on combo blocking, stunts and twists.

7-on-7, 11-on-11 and hurryup offense were all executed.

WHO'S HOT
Chandler Jones. The rookie has worked at the right end spot almost exclusively and it appears, as we go along, the team has designs on putting a ton on his plate this season.

Jabar Gaffney. His precision and dependability continues to be noteworthy. Especially with neither Deion Branch nor Brandon Lloyd practicing at full capacity on Friday.

Robert Gallery. During a drill in which offensive lineman had to work in concert to deal with twists in the pass rush, Gallery showed better quickness and his trademark power in stiffening some of the pass rushers as they tried to push the pocket.

WHO'S NOT
Marcus Cannon. He wound up on the ground and lost his helmet during the second scrap. He also got tossed around by Vince Wilfork during some of the blocking drills. That happens, but the shoulder-slumping you see from Cannon when things don't go well may be signaling frustration.

Tom Brady. Dialed in to a high degree during the first few days of camp, his accuracy hasn't been Brady-like the past two days. He underthrew Matt Slater in the end zone, allowing the ball to be flipped away by safety Steve Gregory. Brady loosed a loud expletive after that miss.

WHAT THEY SAID
"Coach Belichick talked to us and hopefully that won't happen again. We can't be fighting ourselves, we gotta be working to improve." - Bobby Carpenter on the two fights that broke out Friday.

Thursday's Patriots-Texans practice report: Gronk participates, Cannon does not

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Thursday's Patriots-Texans practice report: Gronk participates, Cannon does not

FOXBORO -- There was good news and bad news for the Patriots on Thursday's injury report.

The good? Rob Gronkowski ratcheted up his participation in practice from Wednesday to Thursday and was listed as a "limited" participant. On Wednesday, though he was spotted on the field and participating in some drills, he was listed as a non-participant. 

The bad? Marcus Cannon was on the field to start the session, but he was later listed as a non-participant as he deals with an ankle issue and a concussion.

Also on the not-so-good news front for Bill Belichick's club: Rex Burkhead (ribs) did not participate for the second-straight day, throwing his availability into doubt for Sunday; defensive tackle Vincent Valentine (knee) was also held out of practice. 

On the Texans' end of things, it's worth keeping an eye on the status of their corners Kevin Johnson and Jonathan Joseph. Johnson didn't participate due to a knee issue, and Joseph was limited with a shoulder injury. 

Thursday's practice participation/injury report for Sunday's Patriots-Texans game:

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

DID NOT PARTICIPATE
RB Rex Burkhead (ribs)
OT Marcus Cannon (ankle/concussion)
DT Vincent Valentine (knee)

LIMITED PARTICIPATION
WR Danny Amendola (concussion/knee)
WR Phillip Dorsett (knee)
CB Stephon Gilmore (groin)
TE Rob Gronkowski (groin)
LB Dont'a Hightower (knee)
WR Chris Hogan (knee)
LB Elandon Roberts (thumb)
CB Eric Rowe (groin)
WR Matthew Slater (hamstring)

HOUSTON TEXANS

DID NOT PARTICIPATE
G Jeff Allen (ankle)
CB Kevin Johnson (knee)

LIMITED PARTICIPATION
RB Alfred Blue (ankle)
NT Brandon Dunn (knee)
WR Will Fuller V (shoulder)
CB Jonathan Joseph (shoulder)
G Xavier Su'a-Filo (knee)
DE J.J. Watt (finger)

FULL PARTICIPATION
TE Stephen Anderson (concussion)
CB Marcus Burley (knee)
T Chris Clark (wrist)
WR Bruce Ellington (concussion)
TE Ryan Griffin (concussion)

Malcolm Butler: 'I haven't been performing at the level that I should be'

Malcolm Butler: 'I haven't been performing at the level that I should be'

FOXBORO -- When Malcolm Butler didn't start against the Saints on Sunday, it wasn't something he was told ahead of time. It did surprise some of his teammates, though, during that week's walkthrough when he wasn't working with the starters. 

On Thursday, instead of acting shellshocked, Butler sounded like a player who was set on earning a place back in the Patriots starting lineup.

TODAY'S PATRIOTS REPORT

"I haven't been performing at the level that I should be performing at," he said. "I gotta do whatever I gotta do to help the team. Whatever role that I get, I got a job to do so I gotta do it. Just gotta keep grinding, keep working hard."

Butler found himself working in behind Stephon Gilmore and Eric Rowe in New Orleans as the team's No. 3 corner. Asked if he was frustrated -- he's making $3.91 million this year and is scheduled to hit free agency after the season -- he acknowledged that those types of feelings have crept in at times. 

"I kind of thought about it like that, but I can't worry about anything but what's happening right now," Butler said. "Complaining or feeling sorry for myself is not going to make me perform better. I just gotta keep rolling. I'm gonna get it rolling. That's what I'm going to do."

In the last year of his deal, and with a highly-paid corner on the roster for the foreseeable future, Butler's name is a logical one to be tossed around as a candidate to be traded, but he said he tries not to pay attention to that speculation.

"As much as I can I try not to," he said. "This is where I play. This is where I'm happy at. I just gotta continue doing my thing."

Still without a long-term deal, Butler explained he has felt sorry for himself at times, but he's done what he can, he said, to push those thoughts aside. 

"We all had those feelings before, but we wake up and realize in reality that it's not going to help you," he said. "It's not going to help you. I just gotta go out there and play hard with a lot of fire and that's what I'm going to do. We'll see."

Butler allowed four catches on five targets for 40 yards and a touchdown against the Saints last weekend. In Week 1 he had a costly pass-interference penalty in the end zone that led to a Chiefs score.

While he has been disappointed in his play thus far this season, he sounded confident that he'd be able to work his way back into defensive coordinator Matt Patricia's group of starters. "I'm finding my way back, better believe that."

Butler added that he hasn't been told if he'll start this weekend against the Texans, but "I'm playing like it, though. I'm practicing like it. I'll be ready. It starts at practice."

"It's still early," he said. "Two games [and] preseason games, but there's no excuses. There's no excuses. I'll be ready to roll. Lights out."

Why so confident in the bounce-back?

"There've been times when I've been through a lot of stuff man," he said. "I made it through that and I made it to the National Football League. If I can handle that and make it to the NFL then I can put my mind together to make it past this situation. Just gotta perform better. It's still early, but need a sense of urgency and we'll see that."

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