Postcards from Patriots Camp: Day 19

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Postcards from Patriots Camp: Day 19

FOXBORO -- Rob Gronkowski missed his second practice and Aaron Hernandez missed his first on Sunday. Brandon Lloyd was also sidelined for Day 19 of training camp, instead joining the rehab group in shorts and a t-shirt.
I'll say it now before you start to panic: There is nothing serious to worry about with any of the trio as far as we know.
So let's get on to the rest of practice.
WEATHERIn the sun? Hotter than hell. The temperature had to be mid-80s and you could feel every degree. But when clouds rolled through it was okay because the humidity wasn't out of control.
WHAT THEY WOREBack to full pads.
WHAT THEY DIDA lot of walkthrough to start. A lot. And Mallet took several of the QB snaps.
2:00-2:09: Basic running, dynamic running, team stretches.
2:09-2:15: Stretching in position groups.
2:15-2:32: Drills. For the secondary, more time was spent working on their drop and catching a ball thrown high. Josh Barrett did some pushups after one pass went through his hands.
2:32-2:36: 1-on-1s. A few noteworthy moments: Tom Brady threw a bad ball to Jabar Gaffney that had no chance. Devin McCourty got the best of Julian Edelman. Marquice Cole, who hasn't impressed much this camp, had great route recognition against Jeremy Ebert to break up the play. McCourty also bothered Edelman enough to cause an incompletion. Edelman came back and made Sterling Moore look foolish his next time out. Mallett threw an awful, awful pass to Jesse Holley who could have beaten Ross Ventrone. Kyle Arrington got Donte' Stallworth around the neck for blatant pass interference.
2:36-2:58: 11-on-11; 2-minute drill.
2:58-3:03: Special teams practiced blocking on punt return.
3:03-3:04: The barrel came out -- finally. Brady, Brian Hoyer, and Mallett tried their luck from about 30-yards out on the right hashmark. None of the three quarterbacks hit. In fact, Josh McDaniels got closest when he hit the front of the barrel.
3:06-3:25: 1-on-1s: O-line vs. D-line. Elsewhere, 7-on-7.
3:30-3:33: "Tackling!" somebody shouted. Your highlights: Matthew Slater got absolutely horse collared by Rob Ninkovich. Justin Francis gave Brandon Bolden the what-for. Welker was far too fast for Dont'a Hightower. Bobby Carpenter looked tough against everybody he faced.
3:33-3:42: More punts, where players worked on line calls. Ebert had an issue somewhere and muffed one. Slater was there for the recovery. Deion Branch, Edelman, and Welker each went back to receive.
3:42-3:48: More 11-on-11.
3:48-3:50: Chris Koepplin got to practice some field goals. One, he dropped dead-center from 55-yards out.
WHAT WE SAWFunny to see the Hernandez ride a bike with the ball tucked under his arm while the rest of the team stretched and ran.
Others who did not practice: Spencer Larsen, Eric Kettani, Daniel Fells, Sebastian Vollmer, Kyle Hix, Alfonzo Dennard, Visanthe Shiancoe, James Ihedigbo, Markus Zusevics, Tracy White, Gerard Warren, Jonathan Fanene, Malcolm Williams, Myron Pryor, Dane Fletcher and Britt Davis (both waived today). Jake Ballard remains out and Brian Waters still hasn't reported.
Logan Mankins was in light pads (today was the last day before he can suit up completely).
Dan Koppen started with the 1s at center.
Stephen Gostkowski was doing handstands at the beginning of practice. Nothing to add to that. Just odd.
No injuries to report, but keep an eye on Julian Edelman and Dont'a Hightower. Edelman came off the field during 11-on-11 and had a trainer attend to his right wrist or hand. The receiver waited a while before putting his glove back on, but did rejoin the drills after a few minutes. Hightower laid on his back during the second hour of practice and got his right ankle taped.
Mallett was moving at a glacial pace during the 2-minute drill. He would have gotten rocked by a Trevor Scott sack on one play and had to throw the ball away. On the next snap, Shane Vereen showcased his speed on a nice shallow crossing route.
Justin Francis and Jake Bequette did a lap. Stevan Ridley and Brian Hoyer both had to run after fumbling a handoff.
Ridley continues to get the stuffing knocked out of him. Jerod Mayo blitzed on one play and just crushed the running back.
Ridley got some revenge on the defense during red zone drills when he beat Dont'a Hightower in the flat and made it in for a touchdown.
WHO'S HOTI'll say Alex Silvestro just because he had his best offensive day of camp. During 11-on-11, the DE-turned-TE jumped over Nate Ebner to make a nice catch on a Brady ball up the seam. The QB was so excited he hugged Silvestro.
Deion Branch also looks to be moving back into good favor in the passing game. Branch got more reps with the 1s today. During red zone 11-on-11 he got over McCourty in the back of the end zone for a TD.
Yesterday I mentioned Mayo for his on-field leadership. Today, I'll keep him under this heading for his play. He created problems for the run whenever he got the chance and had one particularly decisive stuff on Danny Woodhead.
WHO'S NOTKyle Arrington. Yes, he's been working a lot against Welker in the slot, which will make a lot of guys look bad. But he also dropped an easy interception that was thrown right to him. Today is not the first day he's looked un-Arrington like. The one nice play I saw was during 7-on-7 when he bothered Welker enough for an incomplete between the receiver and Brady.
Julian Edelman had two dropped passes and a pass interference penalty. It wasn't all bad; Edelman's just been so good that it's worth noting when he's off.
The offensive line looked leaky at times. Woodhead got stuffed by Ninkovich during red zonegoal line practice and Jeff Tarpinian took advantage of Koppen's ineffectiveness to blow up a screen on the line of scrimmage.
WHAT THEY SAID"Not really. You just have to know everything." -- Nick McDonald on if playing all five spots on the offensive line is challenging.

Rob Gronkowski appears to thoroughly enjoy himself at Daytona 500

Rob Gronkowski appears to thoroughly enjoy himself at Daytona 500

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski attended the Dayton 500 in true Gronkowski form.

He appeared to be there promoting Monster Energy drink, and was therefore hanging with the Monster Girls, who were also promoting the drink. Gronkowski's herniated disc injury, which required surgery in December 2016, does not seem to be slowing him down as he gets warmed up for the Summer of Gronk.

During the race coverage on FOX Sports, Gronk delivered a speed limit joke, which is sure to make the 13-year-old in you chuckle. (You can watch it here.)

[H/T NESN.com]

Curran: It's time to let the air out of Deflategate

Curran: It's time to let the air out of Deflategate

I think it’s time. Time to let the Deflategate wound scab over. Time to exit the active, raging, teeth-gnashing, petition-signing, lawsuit-filing portion of the program and let the hate follow its natural course into a slow-boil loathing.

If you are of Irish descent, you know how it works. Clear a big-ass space on the grudge shelf. Put Roger Goodell, Jeff Pash, Mike Kensil, Troy Vincent, Ryan Grigson, Jim Irsay, every shiv-wielding owner, all the cluck-clucking media and the legion of retired players and exiled GMs from Marshall Faulk to Joey Porter through Marty Hurney and into Bill Polian up there. Turn off light. Leave room.

When you need to piss yourself off -- in traffic, mowing the lawn, waiting for your coffee -- fetch ‘em down, blow the dust off and when you’re in a sufficiently foul mood, return grudge to shelf.

You rode the roller coaster. You’ve been there, done that and have all the T-shirts.

I came to this conclusion a few days ago, when ESPN’s Cari Champion interviewed Rob Gronkowski and asked about Goodell visiting Gillette. It was like playing “Get the Stick!” with a big goofy Lab. Champion threw the leading question, Gronk fetched -- tail-wagging --  and returned with a slobbery response that was completely implausible but still designed to dominate a four-hour news cycle.

"The fans are nuts, they’re wild, and they have the Patriots’ back no matter what,” said Gronkowski. “They have [Tom Brady’s] back. I’m telling you, he won’t get through the highway if the fans saw him. I don’t even think he can even land in the airport in Boston because Patriot fans are the best fans, they’re the most loyal fans. I’m telling you, they might just carry out Roger themselves. They couldn’t even get to the stadium in Foxboro if he landed in Boston."

Gronk’s just doing what he thinks he’s supposed to do. And Champion is, too. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel.

Watch these mooks up in New England get all pissed off: “Hey, hey, Chowderhead . . . Roger Goodell . . . . ”

“F*** that guy, he better never show his face in Foxboro! But I want him to come to Foxboro so I can boo the ever-living s*** out of him and maybe barricade Route 1 like Gronk said we would!”

See? Works every time.

The irony is that the person mainly responsible for turning up the burner on this is Robert Kraft.

In May 2015, Kraft said at the owners meetings in San Francisco, “I don’t want to continue the rhetoric that’s gone on for the last four months. I’m going to accept, reluctantly, what he has given to us, and not continue this dialogue and rhetoric, and we won’t appeal.

“Now, I know that a lot of Patriots fans are going to be disappointed in that decision, but I hope they trust my judgment and know that I really feel at this point in time that taking this off the agenda, this is the best thing for the New England Patriots, our fans, and the NFL, and I hope you all can respect that.”

Well, that blew up like an ACME bomb. And -- from that moment on -- Kraft has tried to recoup the fanbase that believed he sold them out by issuing a succession of calls-to-arms that the region has dutifully responded to.

The most recent was throwing down the gauntlet to Goodell by expressly inviting him to the 2017 season opener.  I mean, it would have been a conversation point anyway, but now it’s metastasized into something that will be discussed throughout the offseason, ratcheting up in early September and hitting a crescendo on opening night.

There is appeal to seeing Goodell squirm while knowing the Maras, Rooneys and Irsays will be sipping highballs and lamenting the caddish treatment of Poor Roger. But I still like the football better.

Conversation about the historic import of SB51, the legacy of Brady and Belichick, prospects for the league in 2017? I’ll take those rather than an ESPN “personality” who spent a weekend in Newburyport at a friend’s wedding telling everyone what the mindset of the New England sports fan is.  

But that’s not what we’re going to get. There will instead be ever-escalating predictions of the terrors Goodell will be subjected to fueled by interviews with tatted-up kids from the mean streets of Marshfield who wanted “Hoodie” fired when he let Revis sign with the Jets.

Unless . . . unless the region en masse decides to let its loathing mature. Mature to the point that when the carrot gets dangled in its collective face it doesn’t leap at it with teeth bared but instead says, “No thanks. Already full.”

Yeah. I don’t think it’s gonna happen either.