Notes: With Gronk missing, Hernandez thrives

Notes: With Gronk missing, Hernandez thrives
August 9, 2011, 8:42 pm
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By Danny Picard
CSNNE.com Staff Reporter Follow @dannypicard
FOXBORO -- There were five Patriots completely absent from Tuesdayspractice at Gillette Stadium. Albert Haynesworth, Mike Wright, Rob Gronkowski, RyanWendell, and Eric Kettani were nowhere to be found, while linebacker BrandonSpikes was back on the field in a t-shirt and shorts. Offensive lineman DanConnolly was also on the field on Tuesday in a t-shirt and shorts, afterseemingly injuring his arm on Monday.

The rest of the roster remained the same as Monday.

@font-face font-family: "Times New Roman";p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; a:link, span.MsoHyperlink color: blue; text-decoration: underline; a:visited, span.MsoHyperlinkFollowed color: purple; text-decoration: underline; table.MsoNormalTable font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; div.Section1 page: Section1; For the second straight day, Patriots training camp wasall about second-year tight end Aaron Hernandez.

It seemed like every chance New Englands quarterbacks couldget, they were getting him the ball on Tuesday afternoon, similar to what theywere also doing on Monday.

Tight end Rob Gronkowski left Mondays practice abouthalfway through with a slight limp, forcing him to miss Tuesdays session. Hernandez has benefited greatly from it, as he once again became thePatriots and more specifically, Tom Bradys No. 1 target, which includesevery receiver on the team.

The Patriots were wearing shorts and shells on Tuesday,and the two-hour practice began with Brady hosing down the rookies as they hadto slide through the mud and recover loose balls. Its not the most dangerousway to welcome the newcomers to the organization, but it also cant be toocomfortable practicing while soaking wet and completely muddy.

After that, it was business as usual, with Brady startingthings off by running through offensive sets from the two-yard line, using hisrunning backs and tight ends as his only targets.

Then it was time for the running backs and linebackers togo head-to-head with each other, with backup quarterback Brian Hoyer throwingthe passes. The highlight of this drill was linebacker Jerod Mayo playing roughwith the much smaller Danny Woodhead, knocking him to the ground just as theball got to him. Woodhead got up fine, and both players exchanged a friendlyhandshake.

The Gillette Stadium practice fields were hit with somerain for about 15 minutes, midway through the session, but that didnt stopanything.

Coach Bill Belichick continued to have his team run through11-on-11 drills for the rest of the practice, while mixing in some specialteams work throughout.

And even in the 11-on-11s Hernandez was the main target allday long.

The Patriots announced a roster move, waiving S Ross Ventrone and claiming rookie OL Mark Wetterer off waivers from Cincinnati, according to Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston.

Danny Picard is on twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard.