Bed check: Wrapping up Day 11

August, 5, 2012
8/05/12
9:20
PM ET
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Wrapping up the 11th day of training camp and the key storylines:

Offensive line loses 2 in practice. With reserve offensive tackles Darrion Weems (leg/knee) and Kyle Hix (left arm/shoulder) not finishing practice, the Patriots concluded the session with just eight healthy/eligible-to-practice linemen. That had first-unit blockers Nate Solder and Marcus Cannon taking double reps, a less-than-ideal situation.

Brady frustrated with two-minute offense. Quarterback Tom Brady seemed peeved on the field as the offense had trouble generating momentum, either because of penalties or lack of execution during the end-of-practice two-minute drill. Afterwards, Brady said: "We're working on two-minute and you can't afford mistakes. All 11 of us have to be on the same page. That's why we do two-minute at the end of practice. You're tired, you're drenched in sweat, and that's when your concentration needs to be at its best, because that's when the game is on the line."

Ebert off physically unable to perform list. Rookie receiver Jeremy Ebert, the team's seventh-round draft choice out of Northwestern, was back in uniform and participated in individual drills. That indicates that Ebert (hamstring) is now off the physically unable to perform list. Ebert can't practice in full pads for three days.

Brace sits this one out. Some of the early momentum generated by fourth-year defensive lineman Ron Brace was stunted, as he watched practice from the sideline with an apparent injury. With Jonathan Fanene out of practice and Kyle Love leaving after getting poked in the eye, that left Vince Wilfork, Brandon Deaderick, Gerard Warren, rookie free agent Marcus Forston and longshot Marcus Harrison to take the majority of reps as interior linemen.

Punt blocking drills. Every practice of training camp has featured a different aspect of special teams, and one of today's was punt blocking. James Ihedigbo, Tavon Wilson, Malcolm Williams, Marquice Cole, Britt Davis and Matthew Slater were the primary players working on that skill. While they worked on that area, others on the punt return unit (Josh Barrett, Bobby Carpenter, Dane Fletcher, Jeff Tarpinian, Ross Ventrone, Niko Koutouvides and Nate Ebner) focused on running back and setting up their blocks.

Slater, Ihedigbo cleared for full contact. After opening training camp by wearing red non-contact jerseys for the first eight practices, special teams captain Matthew Slater and reserve safety James Ihedigbo returned to regular uniforms, meaning they were cleared for full contact.

Ridley & Bolden near the goal-line. The Patriots worked on the running game, at one point spotting the ball at the 2-yard line. Both Stevan Ridley and rookie Brandon Bolden ran hard in close, with credit going to the blockers up front for paving the way for their touchdowns.

Here today, gone tomorrow. In a curious move, the Patriots signed running back Kareem Huggins on Saturday and then released him Sunday. Bill Belichick explained it this way: "Before we put him on the field, we didn't feel like we could put him on the field." Thanks for clearing that up, Bill. Huggins, it turned out, failed his physical, a source told colleague Field Yates.

Star performer of the day. Rob Ninkovich/Brandon Bolden. Returning to full-team drills, Ninkovich showed nice explosion working off the edge -- first beating right tackle Marcus Cannon in 1-on-1 rush drill, and later showing up in 11-on-11 work with a strong rush. Meanwhile, Bolden ran hard in close and also continues to show nice hands in the passing game (diving catch along the sideline).

Tough day at the office. Brandon Deaderick. Handled by Donald Thomas in 1-on-1 rush drills, then jumped offsides on his next rep.

Storyline to monitor. Danny Woodhead as the top kickoff returner. He was paired with Shane Vereen on the top unit Sunday, as the Patriots didn't pursue a different option this offseason.

Rookie watch. Defensive end Jake Bequette had a terrific rush on Nate Solder in 1-on-1 drills, using his hands to knock Solder back and surge toward the quarterback ... Chandler Jones also beat Solder in 1-on-1 drills, showing his hustle by diving to the cone that would have been the quarterback. Solder later got the better of Jones on a second rep ... Free-agent defensive end Justin Francis had a nice rush on Dustin Waldron in 1-on-1 drills. ... Linebacker Dont'a Hightower showed good range in coverage, following Danny Woodhead to the sideline.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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