Quick observations from minicamp Wednesday

Quick observations from minicamp Wednesday
June 18, 2014, 2:30 pm
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FOXBORO - Some quick observations from minicamp on Wednesday:

Darrelle Revis was missing from the session. As was Aaron Dobson, Alfonzo Dennard, No. 1 draft choice Dominique Easley and Armond Armstead.

Wide receiver Brandon LaFell was back on the field, but was limited in his participation. Logan Mankins was limited as well.

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Players who made their way into the Dana Farber Field House after the warmup period were Ryan Mallett, Rob Gronkowski, Matthew Slater, Rob Gronkowski, Deontae Skinner, Jeremy Gallon, Justin Green and DJ Williams. Gronkowski and Slater eventually left the bubble to do some work on a lower field.

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Wide receiver Josh Boyce looked as if he sustained a lower body injury early in the practice. He tapped out in the middle of warmups and did not participate in drills the rest of the day. Not a good sign for a receiver whose athleticism has stood out throughout OTAs and early in minicamp.

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Second-round pick Jimmy Garoppolo had a rough day in terms of accuracy. Whereas on Tuesday he flashed an ability to hit on some of his throws deep down the field, those eye-opening completions were somewhat lacking on Wednesday. Garoppolo fumbled one snap and appeared to force several throws into well-covered areas. He was picked off once when a ball glanced off the hands of tight end Justin Jones and was hauled in by defensive back Daxton Swanson.

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There was a fun sequence in practice where Tom Brady went after new teammate Brandon Browner in 11-on-11 work. Browner was targeted three times in a row while blanketing Kenbrell Thompkins. The second-year receiver came down with two of the three passes and then scored on a fade in the back corner of the end zone with Browner on him a few plays later. That play finished off the period and drew big cheers from offensive players standing by.

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James Develin had a very effective day of practice working as a tight end. He showed chemistry with both Brady and Garoppolo, and though he did have one bad drop in 11-on-11 work, he did make a handful of impressive catches. He snatched a Brady pass with one hand on the sideline, then he grabbed another on a deep seam route from Garoppolo. 

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Vince Wilfork continued to participate in most activities and looked relatively light on his feet during drills that focused on the front seven of the Patriots defense.

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We saw the first little bit of emotion start to overflow between players when receiver Reese Wiggins and defensive back Malcolm Butler got into a brief shoving match before being separated by teammates and coaches.

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Jamie Collins continues to show his athleticism in myriad ways on the field. Though we haven't had the chance to see him come off the edge in pads, he was lined up on the end at times. He also acquitted himself well in coverage, running stride for stride with Shane Vereen on a couple of occasions.

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We have to be careful to go overboard on any performances through minicamp or OTAs, but Swanson has turned some heads with his play. He picked Garoppolo once on a gift tip off the hands of Justin Jones. He also nearly picked Garoppolo three plays later when Reggie Dunn was targeted on the sideline. Swanson came away with the catch but appeared to be out of bounds. Early on, the second-year man out of Sam Houston State has had a knack for being in the right place at the right time. 

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In each practice that has been open to the media, we've seen the Patriots work on a different aspect of special teams. Today we saw players working their punt-block technique. They took sharp angles toward a punter and made sure to contact only the ball. Some assistant coaches even lightly punted balls into the arms of oncoming Patriots in order to make the drill a little more realistic.