Patriots practice 11 observations

August, 5, 2011
8/05/11
4:29
PM ET
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Observations from Friday afternoon's practice, the Patriots' eleventh of training camp, which was held in full pads and in mild conditions:

Haynesworth, Wright, Spikes among missing. Not spotted on the practice fields on Friday were defensive linemen Albert Haynesworth and Mike Wright, as well as linebacker Brandon Spikes. The injury status of these players is unclear after having all participated in Thursday's practice. Also not spotted for a second straight practice was rookie running back Shane Vereen, as well as center/guard Ryan Wendell, running back Eric Kettani, offensive lineman Marcus Cannon (active/NFI), and running back Kevin Faulk.

Wide receiver Brandon Tate was in shorts and a t-shirt, missing his first practice of camp, while safety James Sanders, who opened camp on the active/NFI list before returning to practice this week, returned to the group of players in t-shirts and shorts. He was joined in that group by cornerback Ras-I Dowling, safety/linebacker Josh Barrett, offensive linemen Kyle Hix and Matt Light, and defensive linemen Brandon Deaderick, Myron Pryor, and Ron Brace (all active/PUP).

Receivers recover after rough Thursday. After a Thursday practice filled with dropped passes, the Patriots offense recovered somewhat on Friday. Wide receiver Chad Ochocinco, who dropped nearly a half-dozen balls thrown his way on Thursday, had one drop early in practice but also snagged a bullet from quarterback Tom Brady in the back of the end zone during red zone work, despite tight coverage from cornerback Devin McCourty. The offense still had its moments though, with quarterback Brian Hoyer and center Rich Ohrnberger sent on two laps after a botched snap exchange, while rookie tight end Lee Smith drew the ire of head coach Bill Belichick and was sent on a lap after committing a false start during red zone work. Running back Sammy Morris acted as the goal line fullback during the red zone drill, a possible role for a veteran trying to stick in a crowded backfield.

Solder remains with first team. Rookie offensive tackle Nate Solder remained with the first team offensive line, at left tackle, as veteran Matt Light continues to be held out of practice for undisclosed reasons. Solder's height and overall length seem to be a big asset for the first-round pick, helping to keep rushers at bay. Solder was also right alongside guard Logan Mankins in the mix as the team went through running game drills.

Debut for DE Anderson. After signing on Friday morning, defensive end Mark Anderson made his practice debut in the afternoon. Anderson is known more for his pass-rushing potential, and looked over-matched in the running game. If Anderson is to carve out a role with the Patriots to make the 53-man roster, it will likely come only as a third-down rusher.

Gostkowski progresses. Kicker Stephen Gostkowski was seen working with assistant trainer Joe Van Allen and special teams coach Scott O'Brien midway through practice, and later handled field goal duties at the end of the session. Rookie kicker Chris Koepplin had taken these field goals for the last several practices of camp. Gostkowski's kicking strength did not seem to be lacking, while his accuracy was slightly off, leading to about three missed kicks during the concluding drill of practice.

Ryan Mallett's arm. Quarterback Ryan Mallett is well-known for having a strong arm, but it appears that his accuracy could use some work. Mallett overthrew at least three receivers during a running back/linebacker blocking drill. Luckily for Mallett, it is unlikely that he will be called on in any game action this season, giving the young quarterback time to work through his growing pains and adjust to the NFL game.

Mike Rodak

ESPN Buffalo Bills reporter

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