Patriots practice 19: Observations

August, 16, 2011
8/16/11
1:16
PM ET
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Observations from Tuesday's practice, the Patriots' 19th of training camp, which was held in shorts and shells and in cloudy, sometimes drizzly conditions:

Cunningham remains out. Defensive end Jermaine Cunningham missed his second straight day of practice; his injury status is unclear. In addition, defensive tackles Albert Haynesworth and Mike Wright, as well as wide receiver Taylor Price and linebacker Brandon Spikes remained out of action. Other players not spotted were running back Eric Kettani; offensive linemen Ryan Wendell and Marcus Cannon (active/NFI); linebackers Christian Cox and Jeff Tarpinian; and cornerback Malcolm Williams.

Players seen in t-shirts and shorts for the session were running backs Kevin Faulk (active/PUP) and Shane Vereen; wide receivers Brandon Tate and Julian Edelman; offensive lineman Kyle Hix (injured reserve); defensive linemen Ron Brace, Shaun Ellis, and Brandon Deaderick (all active/PUP); linebacker/safety Josh Barrett; cornerback Ras-I Dowling; and safety James Sanders.

Ridley returns. After appearing to suffer a right leg injury early in Monday's practice, rookie running back Stevan Ridley was a full participant in Tuesday's practice, which was held in light shoulder pads and at a slower, more walkthrough-like pace. Meanwhile, offensive tackle Matt Light, who returned to practice last weekend, continued to be held out of 11-on-11 work, making it unlikely for him to play Thursday night as the team eases him back into action.

Tough day for offense. The offensive unit, coming off a shaky performance on Monday, struggled again on Tuesday. Backup quarterback Brian Hoyer had a particularly rough day, having passes intercepted by cornerback Leigh Bodden and Brandon Meriweather. Safety Patrick Chung also pulled in a pair of interceptions in the practice. Meanwhile, rookie quarterback Ryan Mallett, who has been taking reps before Hoyer this week, delivered two impressive passes, one that was caught by wide receiver Matthew Slater on a deep route, and another that was snagged by rookie receiver Jeremy Ross with cornerback Devin McCourty in coverage.

However, the mistakes and sluggishness were not relegated to just the offense; both the offensive and defensive units were forced to run a lap during 11-on-11 work.

Ocho, Welker try hand at field goals. Wide receivers Wes Welker and Chad Ochocinco both attempted -- and missed -- 34-yard field goals at the end of practice. Both have played the role of kicker in game action before, including Welker last season in Cleveland and Ochocinco two preseasons ago while with the Bengals at Gillette Stadium. The misses drew groans from teammates.

Tight end in focus. After starting camp seeing the bulk of his time with the top unit on offense, fifth-round pick Lee Smith appears to have taken a step back as camp winds down. Undrafted rookie Will Yeatman took reps as the third tight end with the top offensive unit on Tuesday, and has shown some potential as a run blocker. The third tight end on the roster, if that spot exists come September, is still up for grabs, it would seem.

Mike Rodak

ESPN Buffalo Bills reporter

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