Bed Check: Wrapping up Day 1
July, 26, 2012
By Mike Reiss | ESPNBoston.com
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Wrapping up the first day of training camp and the key storylines:
Belichick not surprised by Waters' absence. Veteran offensive lineman Brian Waters didn't report to camp, which Bill Belichick said was a similar situation to mandatory minicamp when he was "excused for personal reasons." Waters started every game at right guard for the Patriots last season, and Dan Connolly filled the void there on Thursday, with Dan Koppen working at center. This could be a case where Waters plans to return later in camp.
Gronkowski practices. After an offseason in which he fielded what seemed like unlimited questions on the health of his previously injured ankle, tight end Rob Gronkowski was on the field for the first day of practice. Receiver Wes Welker noted that Gronkowski looked "real good" and then joked he was skeptical that would be the case because of the highly publicized "Summer of Gronk."
Welker not looking back. Welker didn't carry onto the field any disappointment he might have had about not reaching a contract extension. "Everyone tried," he said. "I tried, they tried, and it just didn't work out. ... The contract, and everything else, is out of my mind."
Star performer of the day. Quarterback Tom Brady looked to be in midseason form.
Tough day at the office. Rookie cornerback Alfonzo Dennard was the closest cornerback in coverage on two snaps in which long passes were completed. Overall, the receivers seemed to get the better of the cornerbacks in 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 work.
Record crowd. The Patriots announced a crowd of 12,163, which is a single-session record.
Storyline to monitor. Thin along the offensive line, with just 10 practicing.
Rookie watch. Top draft picks Chandler Jones, Dont'a Hightower and Tavon Wilson all received repetitions with some of the team's top defenders, a sign they could be worked into the mix quickly.