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Patriots players making progress as team prepares for Tampa trip

Posted by Steve Silva, Boston.com Staff  August 16, 2011 04:15 PM

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FOXBOROUGH -- Several Patriots spoke after today's walk-through practice (video above):

Andre Carter, defensive lineman: "[I'm] getting my football legs back. It took a minute. When I first came in the first week, I really didn't take that many reps and I knew the coaches were just slowly trying to progress me into the system, now it's a day-to-day process and I'm just very grateful to have the opportunity to come here and work hard."

Deion Branch, wide receiver: "Coach [Belichick] is starting to put a couple of plays in here and there to see what we look like, see what it looks like on the field, start moving guys around. The pace is starting to pick up a lot in camp so it's coming along, still got a long ways though."

Rob Gronkowski, tight end: "Obviously I don't have the greatest speed, but I'm a little bit bigger I can see but gotta use the body more, be able to butt-hip the defender, and just listen to the coaches also too, like how to get open and that's the big point."

Also in the video, the 2010 Patriots offensive line was awarded the Madden Most Valuable Protectors Award. The honor is given annually to the NFL's best offensive line. The award is named after former NFL coach and television analyst John Madden.

News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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