By Danny Picard
CSNNE.com Follow @dannypicard
FOXBORO --@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; The Patriots took part in their first padded practicesession of training camp on Thursday afternoon. It was their second session ofthe day, but the first was nothing more than a walkthrough.
The players took the field for two-and-a-half hours inhelmets, shoulder pads, and shorts.
The session began with some light sideline-to-sidelinejogging, followed by a mix of drills for each unit.
It got exciting when the Pats began their 7-on-7 drills,pitting defensive backs up against the quarterbacks and their receivers. It wasin these 7-on-7 drills that fans were excited to see wide receivers TyreeBarnes, Taylor Price, and Brandon Tate each make nice sideline catches onsomewhat overthrown balls.
With special teams mixed in, the Patriots continued 7-on-7drills until they extended to a full out 11-on-11.
Kyle Arrington, Logan Mankins, Nick Kaczur, Alge Crumpler,BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Myron Pryor, Nate Solder, Ryan Mallett, Shane Vereen,Ras-I Dowling, and Marcus Cannon were all absent from the practice field.
Danny Picard is on twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard.
Alan Branch has been reinstated by the Patriots after the team suspended him prior to last week's preseason game with the Bears, according to Patriots Insider Tom E. Curran.
When Patriots coach Bill Belichick was asked about Branch's absence last week, he replied, "It's a club matter."
What got Branch suspended by the team is still unknown, but he is expected to be a contributing player on the interior of the Patriots defensive line in 2016. He started in 17 games last season, including both playoff games, often lining up alongside fellow defensive tackle Malcom Brown.
Through training camp the Patriots have also used Terrance Knighton, Vincent Valentine, Anthony Johnson and Joe Vellano on the interior of their defensive front. Branch, however, has consistently been used with the team's first defensive grouping. It's unclear how a week away from the team might impact his spot on the depth chart.
Field Yates of ESPN was the first to report the news that Branch had been reinstated.
Tom Brady traveled with the Patriots to Charlotte, N.C., on Thursday, ahead of the third preseason game Friday night against the Carolina Panthers.
Jeff Howe of The Boston Herald was first to report the news.
There’s no word on if Brady will play. He missed the opener against the Saints and, after cutting his thumb with scissors, missed the second exhibition game last Thursday against the Bears, both at Gillette Stadium.
Brady, of course, will miss the first four games of the regular season serving his NFL-imposed Deflategate suspension.
The Dallas Cowboys have a “Do Your Job” sign posted in their locker room and “Gronk Nation” isn’t happy about it.
Here’s an excerpt from “Gronk Nation” - the website of Rob Gronkowski and his family - about “America’s Team” co-opting the slogan of the 2014 Patriots' Super Bowl run:
While we all know that the Pats thrashed the Cowboys 30-6 last October and Dallas hasn’t been to the Super Bowl since the 1995 season, so they need all the motivation they can get – but can’t America’s Team come up with their own slogan instead of stealing ours?