Quick-hit thoughts from practice

July, 30, 2011
7/30/11
12:40
PM ET


FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- A few quick-hit thoughts from Patriots training camp practice:

1. Linebacker Brandon Spikes made an impression. On one play, he blew up offensive tackle Mark LeVoir, charging downhill with force. I was curious to see how Spikes looked coming into this camp after the momentum he built as a rookie was stunted with his late-season four-game suspension. He caught my eye today.

2. Remember when Rodney Harrison first came to the Patriots and he put a hard hit on Troy Brown in practice? That was one of those moments where a player practices a certain way and has to learn how to adapt to a new team's way of doing things. There was a similar moment this morning with Chad Ochocinco, who caught a pass up the left side, and as Patriots defenders often do, they kept going after the ball as he finished his route. It's the way the Patriots practice, always looking to get the ball out, while stressing to receivers the importance of security all the way through the play. Ochocinco seemed a bit surprised that linebacker Jerod Mayo was still trying to pry the ball away about 20-25 yards downfield and the two had some playful pushing afterwards.

3. Ochocinco is right into the mix and it's what one would expect. Smooth routes and good hands. When looking at the receiver depth chart, I think it's going to be tough for second-year man Taylor Price to break through.

4. Crowds are light. For the first weekend of training camp, on a beautiful day, I was really surprised at how many empty spots there were in the bleachers and on the hill around the practice fields. Part of it might be the "lockout effect", another part of it might be the fluid nature of the schedule and how the session wasn't announced until late Friday.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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