Patriots

Postcards from Camp: Day 5

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Postcards from Camp: Day 5

Day 5 of Patriots Training Camp. After an off day Monday, the team was back at it, once again in full pads. Because of the massive crowds that have been filling the hill overlooking the practice field, the media tent was moved about 40 yards to the left to open up greater spectator room. We're getting into the drudgery days of camp this week. The Saints don't come in until next Tuesday, no games on the horizon until Thursday and bones are sore.

WEATHER
Overcast and cool, in the low 70s.

WHAT THEY WORE
Full pads. And James Ihedigbo and Matt Slater still cruising around in red "Leave Me ALONE!!" jerseys.

WHAT THEY DID
The same routine of pre-practice warmup, dynamic stretching, individual position group stretching and drills led things off.

Position groups broke up for 1-on-1 work. The receivers and defensive backs had some excellent matchups we detail a bit further down.

The safeties and linebackers worked on zone drops in the goal line.

The quarterbacks worked on throwing to secondary receivers by the goal line with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels signaling where he wanted the ball thrown, to the goalpost at the back of the end zone short at the goal line or on a fade to the corner.

Free kicks were worked on as were kickoff returns.

WHO'S HOT
Jermaine Cunningham. The third-year player, who really needs to have a camp and then a preseason that ignites some of the promise of his rookie season, continues to play well off the left edge in the 4-3, especially against the run.

Aaron Hernandez. Watching him operate in a practice setting rep after rep allows you to see what his gift is. The ability to shake a defender to set him up and then cut quickly and with long steps to get massive separation. Hernandez' speed isn't awesome. His quickness and explosion are.

Devin McCourty. Aside from a few plays early in camp when he got twisted up but good by Brandon Lloyd, McCourty has been worthy of mention because he hasn't been on the scene for many plays of mention. In other words, all's quiet. And that's good.

WHO'S NOT
Visanthe Shiancoe. The tight end was down on Tuesday. No obvious injury was seen as he left the field in shorts and a t-shirt at the end of practice.

Dan Koppen. The veteran center seems to spend an awful lot of time either on the ground or reaching as opposed to being able to stay on blocks and drive. He bears close watch.

Brandon Bolden. The rookie who's gained praise had a fumble and - this is nitpicking - didn't seem to find as much daylight as he has on other days. That's also a by-product of the Patriots defense being ahead of the offense.

WHAT WE SAW
Great action in 1-on-1s opportunity. Hernandez owned them. Wes Welker and Julian Edelman were also tough covers.

Defensive end Alex Silvestro took some extra reps on offense because Shiancoe was out. He's a big ball of danger out there at tight end, nearly crushing Julian Edelman on a goal line play when the players ran their routes at the same depth and collided.

Tom Brady and Julian Edelman's agent, Steve Dubin, was at practice.

So was former Giant Carl Banks who was in a Patriots t-shirt and shorts. When I tweeted out that info, Giants fans weren't happy.

Jermaine Cunningham and Gerard Warren combined on a tackle-for-loss of Stevan Ridley. Ridley got blasted on a number of plays. It seemed a better day for running back Shane Vereen.

Brandon Lloyd had a couple of drops in drills and 11-on-11. Bolden and Edelman had fumbles.

Josh Barrett came up with a pick off a deflection. The pass was thrown by Ryan Mallett.

Elsewhere...Mike Florio at PFT mentions that the prescription drug Adderall, which helps against the symptoms of ADD, has been cited by a number of players as a reason for positive tests for performance enhancers. Brandon Spikes blamed the same thing after his positive test in 2010.

Spikes was on the field for his most extended work since camp began. Same intense, downhill, playmaking self. With Dont'a Hightower at the strong side linebacker spot, Spikes in the middle and Jerod Mayo at the weak side, there was a formidable looking group on the field for a spell.

WHAT THEY SAID
"The fourth quarter was who, Brady and the other rookie, Tim Rattay?" - Bill Belichick, recalling the first preseason game he coached for New England, the Hall of Fame Game in 2000 against the 49ers. Tesday was anniversary of that clash

Brady enjoying "unique experience" of road trip

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Brady enjoying "unique experience" of road trip

While being away from home isn’t uncommon for the Patriots - just think about all those Super Bowl trips - Tom Brady believes each excursion takes on its own feel, its own flavor and - eventually - its own meaning.

Back in 2014, the Pats went from playing in Green Bay and losing to the Packers straight to San Diego for a week on the West Coast prior to a rousing victory over the Chargers. That week, many players said in the aftermath, helped propel the team to great heights,.  You’ll recall, that season ended in grand fashion, a triumph in Super Bowl 49 over Seattle, at the time - and maybe still - the greatest Super Bowl ever played.

“I think all these experiences are pretty unique,” Brady said Friday from Falcon Stadium at the Air Force Academy. “That was a very unique experience. This is different.”

Brady spoke about the number of stops the Pats have and will have to make on this trip - from Denver to Colorado Springs then on to Mexico City Saturday before a Sunday night return to Foxboro and their own beds for the first time in 10 nights.

“When you’re on the road like this, there’s less to do,” he said. “You know my family is not here, my kids aren’t here. There’s nobody telling me what I did wrong in the house. It’s just being at home and now it’s being here and trying to figure out a way to win a game.”

Brady quickly smoothed over any possible ill-will at home - why make Gisele mad? - smiling and saying “I didn’t mean that so I’ll take it back.”

Kidding aside, the 40-year old signal caller seemed pleased with the work the Patriots have put in during this long trip. A week of team-bonding can’t be a bad thing, especially for a group that seems to be hitting it’s stride both on and off the field. There’s the five wins in a row and also a locker room that has a better understanding of one another than it did during the first month of the season. But Brady is not ready to make any grand proclamations. That just wouldn’t be his style.

“I think it’s still work in progress,” he said of team chemistry. “You look at still adding a player like Marty (Bennett) last week. Things are always changing and evolving. We’re still trying to figure out what we’re doing well and after 8 or 9 weeks, you start to figure those things out. Now we have to work hard at those things, try to really own them, and use them going forward to try and win the most important games. We have a lot of important games coming up, starting with this one. Hopefully we can play our best football going forward.”

Brady said he’s been fired up for this game with the Raiders south of the border ever since the schedule was released all those months ago.

“I’ve never been to Mexico City,” he said. “It’s been a game you kind of look forward to. We’re playing against a really good football team in a pretty cool environment. It will be very memorable. I think everyone is excited.”

Patriots’ injury report: Center Andrews, WR Hogan out

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Patriots’ injury report: Center Andrews, WR Hogan out

The Patriots will be without center David Andrews on Sunday when they play the Raiders in Mexico City. Andrews, who hasn’t all practice all week with an illness, is one of four Pats listed as out on the injury report released Friday.

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Offensive tackle Marcus Cannon, who didn’t play last week against the Broncos is also out, along with wide receiver Chris Hogan and special teams captain Matthew Slater. Offensive linemen Ted Karras and Joe Thuney each took reps at center so one of them will likely start in Andrews’ absence. LaAdrian Waddle filled in for Cannon and performed well last week vs. Denver. 

Here’s the full injury report for the Patriots and Raiders: