Bed check: Wrapping up Day 7

August, 1, 2012
8/01/12
10:15
PM ET
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Wrapping up the seventh day of training camp and the key storylines:

Scuffle highlights practice. In Bill Belichick's 13 years as Patriots coach, this reporter can't recall a training camp scuffle as large as what unfolded Wednesday night. Starting left tackle Nate Solder and starting middle linebacker Brandon Spikes were in the middle of it, and somewhat like a baseball-type bench-clearing situation, players on both sides of the ball stepped into the fray. While many were acting as peacemakers, others were involved in pushing and shoving. Veteran offensive lineman Robert Gallery, for example, wound up on his backside.

No Lloyd, no cause for alarm. Veteran receiver Brandon Lloyd missed his first practice with the Patriots. At this point in camp, if a player like Lloyd is experiencing any type of discomfort, there is no need to push too hard. The coaching staff keeps the big picture in mind when managing players, which might also explain why center/guard Dan Connolly, defensive lineman Jonathan Fanene, receiver Deion Branch, end Rob Ninkovich and safety/cornerback Will Allen were among those who didn't practice.

Cunningham cools after hot start. Perhaps as a reward for his strong start to training camp, third-year defensive end Jermaine Cunningham earned some top-unit repetitions. He didn't seem to capitalize on the opportunity, getting handled in 1-on-1 drills by tackles Marcus Cannon and Darrion Weems and also jumping offsides at one point, which led to him take a penalty lap.

Strong crowd for in-stadium session. The Patriots announced a crowd of 22,633, the largest of training camp. After the practice, which was for season-ticket holders and Foxborough residents, every player on the team signed autographs by walking around the stadium.

Jones holds court with reporters. First-round draft choice Chandler Jones was one of a handful of players to speak with reporters after practice. Others included cornerbacks Kyle Arrington and Ras-I Dowling, and running back Danny Woodhead. Before practice, defensive lineman Vince Wilfork and receiver Donte' Stallworth spent time answering questions.

Brady disappointed in two-minute drill. One of the final drills of practice saw the offense working on the two-minute attack. Quarterback Tom Brady was disappointed with the first unit's performance, a third-down connection with Wes Welker unable to be made. Brady walked off with a dejected look on his face, while backup Brian Hoyer and the second unit had a little more success moving the ball.

Star performer of the day. Kyle Love. The interior defensive lineman showed his strength with a powerful club and rip of center Dan Koppen in 1-on-1 work. He also generated good push in a combination rush drill. Honorable mentions: Running back Stevan Ridley, punter Zoltan Mesko and receiver Britt Davis.

Tough day at the office. Ryan Mallett. The second-year quarterback looked antsy in the pocket at times and threw a killer interception in red-zone drills in which there was no receiver close by. Linebacker Bobby Carpenter came up with the pick. Mallett was also intercepted earlier in practice by Arrington near the goal line on a pass intended for receiver Jabar Gaffney.

Storyline to monitor. Injuries. They are starting to add up, with a growing list of players not participating in practice.

Rookie watch. Safety Tavon Wilson showed up with a powerful rush. ... Linebacker Dont'a Hightower continues to get a lot of quality reps and shows up making plays. ... Running back Brandon Bolden had a tough run in close for a touchdown. ... Defensive end Jake Bequette stunted inside in a combination rush drill to get a "sack" while working alongside veteran Gerard Warren (against Cannon and Gallery).

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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