FOXBOROUGH – Here’s a light rundown of what happened at Thursday afternoon’s practice to match the light practice the Patriots had:
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), WR Deion Branch (unknown), FB Tony Fiammetta (unknown), TE Visanthe Shiancoe (unknown), CB Will Allen (unknown), WR Brandon Lloyd (unknown), DT Jonathan Fanene (unknown), FB Spencer Larsen (unknown), DE Jake Bequette (unknown), OT Matt Kopa (leg).
Returned to practice: C/G Dan Connolly, DE Rob Ninkovich.
WR Jabar Gaffney walked very slowly off the field to the locker room with a trainer and did not return. There was no visible injury.
WR Deion Branch, who hasn't been participating in most drills, also left the field.
After full pads the previous four practices, the Patriots were in soft shells and shorts.
- On the second play of Tom Brady’s two-minute drills, S Steve Gregory jumped in front of Julian Edelman and picked it off.
- WR Donte’ Stallworth made nice leaping grab of a Brady pass over CB Ross Ventrone.
- Brian Hoyer showed off his arm strength when he made a big-time NFL throw to Jesse Holley on about a 20-yard out along the sideline. S James Ihedigbo had no chance at defending it.
Score one for the secondary. The much-maligned part of the Patriots’ defense had its best day of camp. We’ll ignore that the offense was missing three top receivers (Lloyd, Gaffney and Branch) for much of practice, and that strong winds affected passes. We don’t want to steal all the secondary’s thunder.
Chris Koepplin is back for his second go-round as Stephen Gostkowski’s stand-in on kickoffs and most field goals during camp (we’re wondering exactly Gostkowski does around here). The UMass product has shown a good leg on kickoffs, but he’s been subpar on field goals. He was 3 of 6 on Thursday.
Dropped passes: Gaffney.
Nice catch: Holley, Julian Edelman (2), Shane Vereen.
Interceptions: Gregory (of Brady).
ODDS AND ENDS
- Second-round pick Tavon Wilson is starting to come on in practice. He’s giving the tight ends, even Rob Gronkowski, a very tough time in coverage and has shown a knack for the ball. Wilson has been used in a variety of roles – linebacker, safety and cornerback – and it doesn’t appear to be too big for him. If he doesn’t grab a starting spot as a rookie, expect him to be a jack-of-all-trades in the secondary with the No. 1 job being a TE killer.
- Another strong pass breakup from CB Sterling Moore, who appears to lead cornerbacks in that category by a wide margin in this camp. Moore’s ball skills were apparent last season, and if he keeps it up, it may be tough to keep him on the sidelines. But neither Ras-I Dowling nor Devin McCourty has ceded a lot of room yet.
- QB Ryan Mallett completed a nice back-shoulder pass to Edelman, but we’re not sure that was on purpose. Edelman made a nice adjustment around Moore, who was in perfect position.
- Edelman continues to look terrific and added another tough catch in the two-minute drill.
- Brady was not happy walking off the field. Just not a sharp day. For the second straight practice, Brady’s group didn’t pick up a first down in their two-minute drill.
- Hoyer was 6 of 7 with his group before giving way to Mallett for the final two plays.
- Gregory added a pass breakup to his interception.
- With Ninkovich back in the lineup, Trevor Scott and Jermaine Cunningham went back to reserve roles.
- Despite the offensive line having a good practice on Wednesday night, the starting unit was different again. Connolly returned after a practice off and went to right guard, and Dan Koppen replaced Ryan Wendell at center. Robert Gallery was at left guard, and the tackles were the same with Nate Solder on the left and Marcus Cannon on the right.
Friday (Aug. 3): 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Saturday: No practice
Sunday: 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Monday: Practice time TBD
Tuesday: 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. (joint practice with New Orleans Saints)
Wednesday: 10 a.m. with Saints
Thursday: 7:30 p.m. game vs. Saints
Friday: No practice.