Patriots practice report
Greg A. Bedard’s rundown from Tuesday afternoon:
Reserve/did not report: RG Brian Waters.
Physically unable to perform: LG Logan Mankins (knee), RT Sebastian Vollmer (back), C Nick McDonald (unknown), OT Markus Zusevics (unknown), TE Daniel Fells (shoulder), TE Jake Ballard (knee), DT Myron Pryor (shoulder), WR Jeremy Ebert (hamstring).
Red jerseys: WR Matthew Slater (shoulder), S James Ihedigbo (shoulder).
Not participating: S Nate Ebner (unknown), CB Alfonzo Dennard (hamstring), LB Tracy White (unknown), C/G Jamey Richard (concussion), DE Rob Ninkovich (unknown), WR Deion Branch (unknown), FB Tony Fiammetta (unknown), TE Visanthe Shiancoe (unknown).
Returned to practice: LB Brandon Spikes, OT Darrion Weems.
Full pads for the third straight practice.
■ In a red-zone drill pitting receivers against cornerbacks, QB Tom Brady and WR Brandon Lloyd hooked up on a great timing touchdown that victimized CB Ras-I Dowling.
■ In the same drill, QB Brian Hoyer showed terrific touch to WR Donte’ Stallworth over CB Devin McCourty.
■ LB Dont’a Hightower deflected a pass in the goal-line session and had a tackle for a loss. in an earlier team period.
The Patriots seemed to be rewarding three players for their play in camp as Donald Thomas received most of the snaps at left guard, Sterling Moore took some of the nickel cornerback reps from Dowling, and Ron Brace was elevated from the third team. Good to see strong play rewarded. All of the players — especially Thomas and Brace — have earned a longer look to this point.
In our subjective opinion, Center Dan Koppen has lost his last five one-on-one matchups, some very lopsided. His struggles are becoming predictable and alarming. Koppen hasn’t been able to match the strength of the defensive tackles, and his trademark footwork don’t seem to be as quick. Brandon Deaderick easily went through Koppen in one-on-ones. Would be nice to see Dan Connolly get more reps in the starting spot he earned last season.
■ Dropped passes: Lloyd, RB Shane Vereen, WR Julian Edelman, Slater.
■ Nice catch: Stallworth, Edelman.
■ Fumbled: RB Brandon Bolden.
■ Interceptions: DB Ross Ventrone (of Ryan Mallett off an Aaron Lavarias tip).
A personal opinion on how the offensive and defensive lines matched up in one-on-one drills (our favorite part of camp). Records shown indicate wins-losses-draws.
Standouts — Offense: Marcus Cannon (2-0-0), Weems (1-0-0). Defense: Jermaine Cunningham (2-0-0), Deaderick (2-0-1), Chandler Jones (1-0-1), Vince Wilfork (1-0-1).
Struggled — Offense: Koppen (0-2-0), Matt Kopa (0-2-0), Jeremiah Warren (0-2-0). Defense: Trevor Scott (0-2-0).
Decided victories: Jones (vs. Nate Solder), Cunningham (vs. Kopa), Gerard Warren (vs. Jeremiah Warren), Justin Francis (vs. Kyle Hix), Deaderick (vs. Koppen).
■ Weems was able to practice in pads for the first time and asserted himself at tackle by knocking rookie DE Jake Bequette to the ground in one-on-ones. Weems also leveled LB Bobby Carpenter in a run drill.
■ Jones continues to show a wide array of moves for a rookie — especially one that came out early. He’ll need to show more power to play every down. , but so far so good. Jones used a rip move on Solder on their first go-around. Solder got some revenge the next time with a very strong punch, but he couldn’t hold off Jones the entire time.
■ Cunningham used a terrific inside spin move to leave Kopa in the dust. You never saw that last year in camp. He also had a sack against Weems. in team drills.
■ Cannon rebounded nicely from a tough day on Sunday but is struggling in other drills.
ODDS AND ENDS
■ Spikes was back on the field but you can tell he doesn’t feel all the way back — he didn’t have his usual high level of energy. It sure was nice to see Spikes on the field with Jerod Mayo and first-round pick Hightower. If they can stay healthy, that’s going to be a formidable linebacking group.
■ There shouldn’t be any concern about whether WR Wes Welker will continue to be a highly productive player. He is still the most dangerous and slippery receiver when it comes to man coverage. He was outstanding in the one-on-one battles Tuesday, the first time we’ve seen those WR vs. CB drills in camp.
■ WR Edelman has been very good in that department as well. He’s been one of the surging players in camp.
■ McCourty is slowly becoming a better player in coverage. His technique at the line against WRs still needs refining.
■ Dowling was up and down Tuesday. He’s going to have to fend off Moore, who deserves a shot at the third corner job.
■ Kyle Arrington seems to be growing into the slot CB role but he’s going to have to watch how much contact he uses near the line of scrimmage.
■ TE Rob Gronkowski had a nice back-shoulder snag against Carpenter but still isn’t himself with the ankle. Gronkowski got rag-dolled by Scott in a run-blocking drill. That never happens.
■ Bolden has played well but he didn’t help himself with the first RB fumble of camp.
■ In the goal-line period, Jones stuffed RB Stevan Ridley for no gain, Brady threw incomplete to Spencer Larsen when Hightower tipped the ball, Cunningham and Gerard Warren blasted the right side of the line to halt Bolden, then Bolden scored when he bounced a run outside.
■ Wednesday: 6:30 p.m. (Closed evening practice in the stadium for season ticket-holders and Foxborough residents).
■ Thursday: 1:30-4 p.m.
■ Friday: 1:30-4 p.m.