Bed check: Cannon, Armstead sightings

August, 13, 2013
8/13/13
9:15
PM ET
(Recapping the day with a final blog post.)

Top storyline: The Patriots held the first of three joint practice sessions with the Buccaneers. The practice was originally scheduled for 2:20 p.m., but with potential bad weather in the forecast, the teams pushed the workout up to 11 a.m. The practice was held in full pads and officials were present to work the practice.

Cannon among injured players making progress: It looks like some of the team's injured players are getting closer to a return to full-team drills. Third-year tackle/guard Marcus Cannon, who built some positive momentum in the early days of camp, was dressed in full pads but is still not yet fully participating in practice. Other players in a similar category as Cannon: veteran receiver Michael Jenkins, cornerback Alfonzo Dennard, safety Nate Ebner and offensive linemen Dan Connolly, Markus Zusevics and Tyronne Green. Just a hunch, but those players could be managed with the third preseason game in mind. Hard to imagine they would be ready to play on Friday against the Buccaneers.

Armstead sighting for the first time: One of the mysteries of the early days of training camp was what happened to promising defensive tackle Armond Armstead. Thin on depth at defensive tackle, Armstead had a golden opportunity to break through, but he opened camp on the non-football illness and the team released a statement on how he underwent surgery for an infection. Belichick had also said that Armstead's absence wasn't related to the heart condition that had derailed his final season at Southern Cal. For the first time since camp opened, Armstead was spotted at practice as an observer. While details remain unknown about Armstead's future, his presence was an indication that he's well enough to be around the team at this time.

With Spikes out, top pick Collins steps in: Starting middle linebacker Brandon Spikes was not present at practice (unknown reason), which had the Patriots shuffling their 'backers. Top draft choice Jamie Collins joined the first unit and lined up on the strong side, with Dont'a Hightower moving to the middle and Jerod Mayo manning his standard weakside spot. Collins had an active practice, particularly in pass coverage. Buccaneers tight end Tom Crabtree was complimentary of his athleticism.

Churning the back end of the roster: The Patriots announced the signing of tight end Evan Landi, who practiced and wore jersey No. 49. He's more of a "move" type H-back and fills out a depth chart that includes Rob Gronkowski, Jake Ballard, Zach Sudfeld, Daniel Fells and Michael Hoomanawanui. To make room for Landi, the club waived injured defensive end Jason Vega (knee).

Revis holds court: From a national coverage perspective, Buccaneers cornerback Darrelle Revis was the top story. Still recovering from knee surgery, he participated in individual drills but didn't take part in any team drills. Buccaneers general manager Mark Dominik told ESPN's Sal Paolantonio that Revis hasn't been ruled out to play in the team's third preseason game. Revis held court after the practice and touched on how unusual it was for him to be practicing on the Patriots' home fields. "The New York Jets/Patriots is a crazy rivalry," he said. "It's almost like a hatred. But now I'm a Buccaneer and this is something new for me, being in training camp with another team. I'm just taking it in stride. It was funny because Mr. Kraft came up to me and said some encouraging words. It just shows how much respect you have from the other team when you're not on that side of the ball."

Thompkins continues to impress: Patriots rookie receiver Kenbrell Thompkins has consistently taken top repetitions and Tuesday was no different. He made one of the most remarkable catches of training camp, reaching around Buccaneers cornerback Rashaan Melvin and snaring a one-handed pass from Tom Brady by pinning it against Melvin's back. Thompkins' consistency has been impressive throughout camp. On the Buccaneers side, it was impressive watching receiver Vincent Jackson.

Quote of note: "Absolutely. They are very structured, they are very disciplined and strict, and they demand a lot from their players. ... I could see a lot of similarities after playing for both of them." -- Buccaneers receiver Tiquan Underwood, on the link between Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano and New England's Bill Belichick

Summing it up: The practice was held in a light rain and didn't seem to be as crisp as the Patriots' initial joint practice with the Eagles last week. Still, it was a solid workout for both teams that featured several situations, including plenty with the field-goal operation. Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski, who missed from 44 and 53 yards in the preseason opener, had a strong practice.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.


Insider