Patriots training camp notes: Day 8


Patriots training camp notes: Day 8

By Tom E. Curran and Mary Paoletti

FOXBORO -- The on-field heat has stayed pretty consistent with the temperature. For the second straight practice in pads, scraps broke out between players and stole the headlines.
As for the rest of it . . .

A bunch of guys returned to practice: Brandon Lloyd, Jabar Gaffney, Deion Branch, Jake Bequette. Nate Ebner and Nick McDonald made their training camp debuts. Bequette was sporting a black shield (like the one Brandon Spikes wears).

That left Alfonzo Dennard, Spencer Larsen, Tracy White, Jeremy Ebert, Matt Kopa, Visanthe Shiancoe, Daniel Fells, Logan Mankins, Brian Waters, Jonathan Fanene, Markus Zusevics, Sebastian Vollmer, Tony Fiammetta, Myron Pryor, and Jake Ballard as continued non-participants.

Chandler Jones seems really cemented in with the first team. Trevor Scott was rotating in for Rob Ninkovich at left end, leaving Jones to himself with the 1s.
Another rookie, Dont'a Hightower, also continues to assert his place on first team defense. Hightower seems to be taking more reps than Bobby Carpenter at No. 1 SAM linebacker.
Fellow rook Tavon Wilson saw some time blitzing in a dime package.

Derek Dennis, acquired off waivers Thursday, was in at left guard.

It was Julian Edelman's turn to show his "human" side, to steal a sentiment from Wes Welker. Edelman's had an excellent camp, but revealed he does indeed bleed when he muffed a punt during special teams drills.

Speaking of Welker, he botched a punt, too.

As did Aaron Hernandez.

Nate Solder ran a lap. So did Robert Gallery.

The very first sign of things getting chippy? Kyle Arrington broke up a pass intended for Edelman during 7-on-7 then stood over the prone receiver for several, I'm sure aggravating, moments.

Edelman and Wilson were the next to conduct a quick but heated tte--tte after a play in 11-on-11.

Jabar Gaffney drew cheers on one really great ball. He made an impressive adjustment at the end of his route, turning one way then quickly the other, to make the grab over James Ihedigbo and Tavon Wilson.

Some results from 1-on-1's: Hernandez beat Josh Barrett easily, Patrick Chung tackled Stevan Ridley hard (what else is new), Shane Vereen had an easy time with Sergio Brown, Ross Ventrone tried to grab Brandon Bolden around the ankle and still couldn't tackle the kid, Hernandez wrecked Sterling Moore with his trademark cutback, Jesse Holley actually had an impressive move to get by Ras-I Dowling, Will Allen actually bounced off of Tyler Urban.

Ron Brace was getting his lower body stretched out by a trainer on the sideline.

Birthday boy Tom Brady unleashed a very loud eff-word when Slater got space on a route but Steve Gregory quickly closed in and broke up the pass.

A pass intended for Edelman was broken up by Wilson.

The trials of Alex Silvestro continue. Brian Hoyer made the DE-turned-TE lay out for a deep ball and Silvestro didn't even come close.

Koppen met with trainers after the larger scuffle.

Dan Connolly broke off from the team laps and stood with trainers on the sideline. I'm not sure what's troubling him, but he did miss practice on Wednesday night. It's worth noting.

Tom Brady mum on hand injury, practice status


Tom Brady mum on hand injury, practice status

FOXBORO — Tom Brady basically told the media to talk to the hand.

More specifically, Brady replied, “I’m not talking about that” to each question about his right hand injury in Friday’s press conference.

Brady stood at the podium wearing the very red gloves that have been captured in pre-practice photos the last two days. Asked why he was wearing them indoors, Brady replied, “I’ve worn them before.” 

The five-time Super Bowl champion was also mum on whether or not he participated in practice Friday, sharing only that he was “out there,” which adds no clarification given that he was on the field before Thursday’s practice but did not participate. 

Brady is believed to have suffered the injury in Wednesday’s practice. Friday’s practice report will be released this afternoon. 

Dion Lewis: 'Nobody's really worried' about Tom Brady


Dion Lewis: 'Nobody's really worried' about Tom Brady

James White put it perfectly on Thursday. When asked if he was the one who injured Tom Brady's hand in Wednesday's practice, the running back replied, "The world may never know."

During an interview with NFL Network, another Patriots running back said you can't put Brady's injury on him.

"Not me," said DIon Lewis. "No, it wasn't me . . . I actually didn't see it happen, but from when I talked to other guys, I knew he was gonna be oaky. It's Tom, so regardless of any situation he's put in, he's going to make sure he's out there game day. Nobody's really worried."

That seems to be the general consensus inside the Patriots locker room. They're all expecting Brady to play. And when they're asked about how he's looked, their answers have ranged from evasive to joking about Brady's handsomeness

The focus, as Lewis explained, isn't so much on the health of their quarterback but rather the game plan they're putting in place to take on the top defense in the AFC. 

"We have a great idea," Lewis said, "of what we think we can do to have success against this defense . . . We just gotta be on point every play. We don't got plays to give away."

Might that mean a load of two-back or two-tight end sets to keep Jacksonville's base personnel on the field? Might that mean plenty of work in the screen game, as Jerod Mayo suggested on this week's Quick Slants the Podcast? Might that mean a heavy dose of Rob Gronkowski?

There are soft spots in the Jaguars defense, as talented as it is, but it will probably require Brady being able to grip a football for the Patriots to exploit them. His teammates seem confident he'll be able to do that.