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Training camp stock report: Marcus Benard could find role as pass-rusher

Posted by Erik Frenz  August 1, 2013 06:49 PM

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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The Patriots held their sixth practice of training camp on Thursday. It was the team's fourth consecutive practice in full pads.

The team has four days before they travel to practice with the Philadelphia Eagles in preparation for their first preseason game.

Now is an important time to build the right kind of momentum, so let's take a look at which players are making pronounced moves in one direction or the other.

Stock up:

Tyronne Green: With Marcus Cannon absent from practice, Green took snaps with the first-team offensive line at right guard. Bill Belichick said their interior offensive line is "probably not as deep as it's been at other times," and Green started 13 games for the Chargers in 2012, so getting a closer look at him in camp was a wise move.

Duron Harmon: The rookie safety saw his first action with the top unit on defense, most notably in the final two-minute session of the day. It could be a sign that he is taking steps forward in the eyes of the coaching staff, or that there is uncertainty at strong safety. It's probably a combination of both.

Marcus Benard: Went 2-0-1 in the one-on-one pass-rush drills, and has shown the ability to get into the backfield by doing so once in each of the past two practices in 11-on-11 work. He also logged one of very few solid defensive plays in the Oklahoma drill, tackling tight end Jake Ballard.

Aaron Dobson: Had a nice bounce-back day after missing Wednesday's practice. He consistently gets open, and was on the receiving end of a touchdown pass from quarterback Tom Brady in the back corner of the end zone. He also had a nice catch against Devin McCourty in one-on-one drills, and handily beat Justin Green on a deep route in the same drill.

Stock down:

Jason Vega, Tommy Kelly, Marcus Forston: It was hard not to notice the trio of defensive linemen take a lap for false start penalties in one-on-one pass-rush drills, especially since the first two happened very close together. Kelly, specifically, has taken a lot of laps for such penalties.

Chris McDonald: Went 0-2-0 in the one-on-one pass-rush drills, with losses to Jake Bequette and Marcus Benard. Chris' brother, Nick, was released on the Patriots' off day.

Ras-I Dowling: Started out Thursday's practice on a stationary bicycle, and didn't participate in team drills. Logan Ryan took Dowling's snaps with the second-team defense. Crunch time is coming quickly for Dowling.

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About the author

Erik Frenz delivers analysis of the biggest news with the Patriots, including insight into the AFC East and New England's biggest rivals from a Patriots perspective. Erik is an interactive writer who engages his audience in his posts’ comments sections and on Twitter. Readers are encouraged to share their thoughts and ask questions. More »


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