Bed check: Wrapping up Day 3
July, 28, 2012
By Mike Reiss | ESPNBoston.com
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Wrapping up the third day of training camp and the key storylines:
First day of full-pads practice. With players in full pads, there was live contact for the first time in camp. A highlight was the one-on-one rush drills, where defensive lineman Jonathan Fanene showed why the Patriots pursued him in free agency with some solid work in tight spaces.
Another Gronk moment. Tight end Rob Gronkowski gave the overflowing crowd a scare, leaving the field for about 15 minutes shortly after making a catch with linebacker Jerod Mayo in tight coverage. The alert crowd saw him return to the field (with a bandage on his chin) and broke into a cheer during the practice. It was a good example of the energy that the bigger crowds have brought to training camp over the first three days.
Another big crowd. The Patriots had another 10,000-plus fans in attendance for a training camp practice. Thursday (12,163) and Friday (13,654) were also big days, as approximately 36,000 fans have shown up over the first three days.
Francis, White leave practice. Rookie free-agent defensive end Justin Francis (Rutgers) was carted off the field and didn't return, while veteran linebacker Tracy White also didn't finish practice. Francis' injury initially looked serious, but a source said the initial diagnosis was just cramps. Rookie cornerback Alfonzo Dennard didn't practice after appearing to injure his hamstring on Friday.
Brady hopes to make the team. Quarterback Tom Brady held court with reporters after practice, and one of the things he said was that he hopes to make the team. Seriously. Here's the link to the story.
Star performer of the day. Donald Thomas. The reserve guard won his one-on-one battles in rush drills against Kyle Love, Marcus Harrison and Brandon Deaderick.
Tough day at the office. Marcus Cannon. The second-year offensive tackle looked like he struggled in early rush drills against Rob Ninkovich, Jermaine Cunningham and Justin Francis, before recovering a bit against Cunningham and Trevor Scott. He's listed at 6-foot-5, 340 pounds, but the size doesn't always show up on the edge.
Storyline to monitor. Depth at offensive tackle. Might be worth seeing how veteran Robert Gallery, who has played solely on the interior at this point, looks on the edge. The tackle spot looks a little thin out there, and it showed up in the running game.
Rookie watch. Running back Brandon Bolden showed impressive burst on one running play that he bounced to the outside. He looks more explosive than second-year back Shane Vereen at this point. ... First-round draft choice Chandler Jones showed up in one-on-one rush drills, beating first-year left tackle Kyle Hix on one strong move. Hix got the better of Jones on another rush. ... Linebacker Dont'a Hightower had a powerful jam on Bolden that drew a reaction from the crowd. He decisively re-routes those in front of him.