Postcard 20

Postcard 20

FOXBORO -- Another Gronk-less day - and Lloyd-less and Hernandez-less - as the Patriots took the field for the 20th day of training camp.

With Gronk, it's just been a matter of rep management. With Brandon Lloyd and Aaron Hernandez, I'm not sure that's the case but I'm leaning toward that being the case.

WEATHER
Warm, peekaboo sunshine. Let's go low-to mid-80s - Paoletti says cloud cover was "good."

WHAT THEY WOREFull pads for all the kids.

WHAT THEY DID
1:45-1:52: A review of some blocking assignments on kickoff returns.

1:52-2:12: Walkthrough reps with a lot of variety in the personnel groupings along the offensive line.

2:12-2:40: Running, position stretching, position drills.

2:40-2:46: 1-on-1 route running for receivers and DBs

2:47-3:08: 11-on-11

3:08-3:15 - Barrel toss for QBs, special teams works on situational kickoffs.

3:15-3:37 - Offensive and defensive lines worked on tandem blocks and rushes; 7-on-7 for the rest

3:37-3:39: 1-on-1 tackling

3:39-3:46: Special teams work, field goals

3:46-4:00:11-on-11

WHAT WE SAWJames Ihedigbo got back in action after a couple days off.

Others who did not practice: Spencer Larsen, Eric Kettani, Daniel Fells, Sebastian Vollmer, Kyle Hix, Alfonzo Dennard, Visanthe Shiancoe, Markus Zusevics, Tracy White, Gerard Warren, Jonathan Fanene, Malcolm Williams, Myron Pryor. Brian Waters still hasn't reported. Which reminds of an uncomfortable exchange between personnel man Nick Caserio and Mike Reiss. Reiss asked if the team knew whether Waters was playing in 2012 or not. Caserio said he had no updates. Reiss reminded Caserio that he wasn't asking for an update, just a yes or no response. Caserio double-talked in a small circle.

Logan Mankins wasn't in full pads. Julian Edelman wasn't wearing anything on his wrist after he appeared to ding it on Monday.

Zoltan Mesko appeared well-caffeinated. He was playing hacky-sack with the other kickers, sprinting past the rest of the team (and doing a pose-down) at the end of sprints, patting Ross Ventrone on the head after a good play, dunking over the goal post, running downfield to down punts at the goal line and feigning pain when hit with a blocking pad. Busy.

Matt Slater had the catch of the day in the right side of the end zone on a deep ball by Tom Brady. Slater went up and plucked the ball one-handed away from Devin McCourty.

Corner Marquice Cole dinged himself going to the ground while defending Jabar Gaffney downfield. It appeared trainers were looking at his shoulder.

Scott O'Brien, the special teams coach, was high energy all day.

Kyle Arrington showed some excellent change-of-direction coverage sticking with Julian Edelman during 1-on-1s.

Patrick Chung had a near pick of Tom Brady along the right sideline when Brady tried to jam a ball in to Edelman.

Derrick Martin, a safety, wiped out hard on some downfield coverage. A lot of guys were slipping during the early portion of practice.

Deion Branch had the second best catch, beating Kyle Arrington on a leaping crossing pattern.

The first offensive line for Brady in 11-on-11 was Nate Solder, Donald Thomas, Ryan Wendell, Nick McDonald and Marcus Cannon.

Ryan Mallett did not have a good day. He messed up a screen badly, having to throw it away. His accuracy has not been on a significant uptick. He seems very wristy on his throws, as if he curls his hand too much inward. He wasn't so sure I knew what the hell I was talking about when I mentioned it to him. Maybe I don't. But any port in a storm, Ryan.

Of course, Mallett was the only guy to get one in on the barrel toss. So skills competition? He's your guy.

Trevor Scott had another play where he showed up with a strip sack of Brady. The defensive line and secondary won by a ton in the passing game on Tuesday. Among the other turnovers, Steve Gregory picked off Brady on a pass headed for Welker. Chung eventually picked Brady one-handed in the end zone. A wobbly Hoyer pass was tipped and picked by Martin. And Nate Ebner picked Mallett in the two-minute drill.

A few direct snaps to various "quarterbacks" Danny Woodhead, Julian Edelman and Shane Vereen.

Marcus Cannon and Marcus Fortson had to run penalty laps during the tandem blocking stuff. Chandler Jones decleated Derek Dennis.

The three quarterbacks worked on sprintout passes.

There was a lot of situational stuff again - very specific (ball on the 20, nine seconds left, one timeout) and a lot of two-minute.

Brandon Bolden made a terrific one-handed catch on the sidelines on a high throw by Mallett.

Stevan Ridley coughed it up after a reception. His second fumble in two days.

WHO'S HOTShane Vereen. Very smooth again. Just looked fast and comfortable on the reps he got, particularly in the passing game.

Steve Gregory-Patrick Chung. The pair is really locking down the middle of the secondary and it's more than evident they need to see some different competition because they are locked in right now.

WHO'S NOTStevan Ridley. Two fumbles in two days is not the way to quell angst over the post-Benny ball security in New England.

Ryan Mallett. He's gonna retire this category.

The passing offense. Tight coverage on receivers who weren't uncovering, forced throws, wobbly throws, bad timing. Yuck.

WHAT THEY SAID"Ow! Hey!" -- Not Sure. But someone yelled it on a middle run by Shane Vereen. It's just not an exclamation you hear very often on a football field.

MLB may make rule changes for '18 season

MLB may make rule changes for '18 season

PHOENIX - Major League Baseball intends to push forward with the process that could lead to possible rule changes involving the strike zone, installation of pitch clocks and limits on trips to the pitcher's mound. While baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred expressed hope the ongoing process would lead to an agreement, he said clubs would reserve the right to act unilaterally, consistent with the rule-change provision of the sport's labor contract.

Union head Tony Clark said last weekend he did not foresee players agreeing to proposed changes for 2017. Under baseball's collective bargaining agreement, management can alter playing rules only with agreement from the union - unless it gives one year notice. With the one year of notice, management can make changes on its own.

"Unfortunately it now appears that there really won't be any meaningful change for the 2017 season due to a lack of cooperation from the MLBPA," Manfred said Tuesday during a news conference. "I've tried to be clear that our game is fundamentally sound, that it does not need to be fixed as some people have suggested, and I think last season was the kind of demonstration of the potential of our league to captivate the nation and of the game's unique place in American culture."

Yet, he also added: "I believe it's a mistake to stick our head in the sand and ignore the fact that our game has changed and continues to change."

Manfred said while he prefers an agreement, "I'm also not willing to walk away." He said he will send a letter to the union in the coming days and plans to continue dialogue with Clark and others in hopes of reaching agreement.

Clark met with Cactus League teams last week, five at a time over Thursday, Friday and Saturday, before departing Monday for Florida to visit each Grapefruit League club - and proposed rules changes were a topic.

"I have great respect for the labor relations process, and I have a pretty good track record for getting things done with the MLBPA," Manfred said. "I have to admit, however, that I am disappointed that we could not even get the MLBPA to agree to modest rule changes like limits on trips to the mound that have little effect on the competitive character of the game."

Clark saw talks differently.

"Unless your definition of `cooperation' is blanket approval, I don't agree that we've failed to cooperate with the commissioner's office on these issues," he wrote in an email to The Associated Press. "Two years ago we negotiated pace of play protocols that had an immediate and positive impact. Last year we took a step backward in some ways, and this offseason we've been in regular contact with MLB and with our members to get a better handle on why that happened. I would be surprised if those discussions with MLB don't continue, notwithstanding today's comments about implementation. As I've said, fundamental changes to the game are going to be an uphill battle, but the lines of communication should remain open."

Clark added "my understanding is that MLB wants to continue with the replay changes (2-minute limit) and the no-pitch intentional walks and the pace of game warning/fine adjustments."

Manfred said he didn't want to share specifics of his priorities for alterations.

"There's a variety of changes that can be undertaken," Manfred said. "I'm committed to the idea that we have a set of proposals out there and we continue to discuss those proposals in private."

MLB has studied whether to restore the lower edge of the strike zone from just beneath the kneecap to its pre-1996 level - at the top of the kneecap. Management would like to install 20-second pitch clocks in an attempt to speed the pace of play - they have been used at Triple-A and Double-A for the past two seasons.

Players also have been against limiting mound meetings. The least controversial change appears to be allowing a team to call for an intentional walk without the pitcher having to throw pitches. In addition, MLB likely can alter some video review rules without the union's agreement- such as shortening the time a manager has to call for a review.

"Most of this stuff that they were talking about I don't think it would have been a major adjustment for us," Royals manager Ned Yost said.

Manfred said starting runners on second base in extra innings sounds unlikely to be implemented in the majors. The change will be experimented with during the World Baseball Classic and perhaps at some short-season Class A leagues. Manfred said it was a special-purpose rule "beneficial in developmental leagues."

Manfred also said Tuesday that a renovated Wrigley Field would be a great choice to host an All-Star Game and Las Vegas could be a "viable market for us."

"I don't think that the presence of legalized gambling in Las Vegas should necessarily disqualify that market as a potential major league city," Manfred said.

Bulpett: Ainge 'really protective' of ability to go to free agency this summer

Bulpett: Ainge 'really protective' of ability to go to free agency this summer

Steve Bulpett joins Mike Felger to weigh in on the NBA trade deadline and the lack of moves made by Danny Ainge and the Boston Celtics thus far.