Observations from 2nd minicamp practice

June, 12, 2013
6/12/13
2:00
PM ET
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The Patriots continued their mandatory minicamp on Wednesday on the practice fields outside of Gillette Stadium.

Passing along some notes and observations from the session, which took place in helmets and numberless jerseys, as has been the case throughout the offseason:

1. Attendance report. Tight ends Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski, as well as wide receiver Julian Edelman, offensive lineman Nick McDonald and safety Kanorris Davis were the players not spotted. Hernandez was on the field Tuesday, but he was limited as he continues to recover from an offseason procedure. Davis was also on the field Tuesday. Several players spent time working out with the team's strength and conditioning coaches, including safety Devin McCourty, cornerback Alfonzo Dennard, wide receiver Aaron Dobson, safety Nate Ebner, wide receiver Josh Boyce, wide receiver Mark Harrison, offensive linemen Dan Connolly and Sebastian Vollmer, and linebacker A.J. Edds, among others. Five players, including wide receiver Chaz Schilens, were in for another day on a tryout basis.

2. Thompkins stands out, again. Undrafted rookie wide receiver Kenbrell Thompkins had another strong day, getting work alongside some of the Patriots' veteran wide receivers. He's impressed throughout the offseason. He's not a burner, but he has a big frame and has worked well on the perimeter. He did have a drop late in practice that led to an interception.

3. Amendola separates himself. Danny Amendola, meanwhile, has established himself atop the Patriots' receiving group. He's been as advertised: shifty, quick, dynamic with the ball in space and with enough speed to stress a defense vertically. There's a clear rapport between him and Tom Brady. The Patriots moved quickly to sign Amendola after it appeared Wes Welker was closing in on a deal with the Broncos, and it's easy to see Welker-like qualities in Amendola's game. His underneath route-work is reminiscent of Welker.

4. Sudfeld, Fells solid. We've recently highlighted undrafted rookie tight end Zach Sudfeld, and he had another productive day. He has soft hands and has caught most balls thrown his way. Veteran Daniel Fells, who had a quiet 2012 from a receiving production standpoint, had a busy Wednesday. With Gronkowski and Hernandez out, tight end has been a position where reps have been up for grabs.

5. Catch of the day for Slater. Known more for his special-teams contributions, wide receiver Matthew Slater made the catch of the day, coming up with a downfield throw in between a pair of defenders. Slater is seeing perhaps more offensive action than usual given the transition in the receiver group, and he's never lacked the speed to get down the field in a hurry. This particularly pass came from Brady.

6. Fullback/tight end thoughts. We've seen the fullbacks and tight ends congregate during the stretching and individual position group portion of practice. It seems as though players like James Develin, listed as a running back on the roster, are getting some work at tight end. In 2012, tight end Michael Hoomanawanui was often used out of the backfield. With some similar skills required to play each position, there could be some crossover between fullbacks and tight ends this season. Something to watch as the regular season draws nearer.

7. Checking in on Tebow. Not a whole lot to report on Tim Tebow, who again saw action in team drills during the "opportunity period." With just one full day under his belt, the expectation is that he's got plenty to learn and pick up relating to the offensive concepts. From a skills standpoint, we saw more of the same from Tuesday, during which he showed some sufficient touch and anticipation, while also struggling on other throws with zip and accuracy.

8. Area scouts in town. The Patriots' collection of area scouts was on the field for practice on Wednesday (they were present on Tuesday as well). They'll depart tomorrow morning before the start of the unofficial "summer vacation" in the NFL. The scouts spend a handful of weeks throughout the year in Foxborough, with this particular week giving them an opportunity to tie together loose ends and continue to lay the groundwork for their late summer and fall travels.

9. Odds and ends. Extensive work on punt blocks today, with the Patriots dedicating two periods to it. ... The lowlight of the day came on a string of three consecutive drops during an against-air passing drill. ... Kyle Arrington showed good explosiveness to jump up for a pass break-up. ... Jerod Mayo picked off a Tom Brady pass that was dropped by Kenbrell Thompkins. ... Ras-I Dowling and Aqib Talib both got their hands on a pass for a break-up.
Field Yates has previous experience interning with the New England Patriots on both their coaching and scouting staffs. A graduate of Wesleyan University (CT), he is a regular contributor to ESPN Boston's Patriots coverage and ESPN Insider.

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