Observations from Patriots camp: Day 20

August, 12, 2014
Aug 12
7:05
PM ET
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Observations from the New England Patriots' 14th practice of training camp, which was held in full pads with the Philadelphia Eagles and in front of a record-breaking attendance for practice of 25,317:

Mallett returns, but Patriots might eye another QB: Quarterback Ryan Mallett returned after missing the previous two practices, but did not participate much against the Eagles. Mallett’s limited work and time on the sidelines could be a cause for concern, and might lead the Patriots to consider bringing in another quarterback if Mallett continues to not take reps. In a situation like that, it leaves just Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo, and they risk being overworked. Garoppolo got extended work for the third straight day and has shown improvement over the past week.

Revis takes foot off the gas: Cornerback Darrelle Revis has reminded us of a defensive version of Randy Moss in the sense of him turning it on when he so desires, with big results. At the same time, just like Moss, Revis sometimes takes his foot off the gas pedal and decides to not follow a play through to its fruition. We saw an example of this on a deep ball thrown by Eagles quarterback Nick Foles to wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, as Revis appeared to go half speed in letting Maclin burn him over the top. In another 11-on-11 play, Revis drew a flag for defensive holding down the field, a call that will be emphasized this season. It should also be noted that Revis aligned on the right side at times in practice when the Eagles aligned multiple receivers to that side.

Keeping eyes on Solder, Connolly and O-line: With left tackle Nate Solder's struggles during the past week and rookie center Bryan Stork’s continued absence from practice, we continue to monitor all the moving parts up front. Solder has been part of a rotation of late. Versatile lineman Marcus Cannon (6-5, 335) took reps at left and right tackle, while second-year offensive lineman Josh Kline is seeing some increased action at right guard. At center, Dan Connolly has seemed to separate himself a bit from incumbent Ryan Wendell at this point.

Cleaning out the notebook: With the Eagles wearing green uniforms, the Patriots split their uniforms between blue (offense) and white (defense), giving the practice a different look. ... Referees worked the practice and there were plenty of penalty flags, and coach Bill Belichick would often consult with an official to learn what was called. ... Center Ryan Wendell dazzled with a one-handed catch in field-goal drills. ... Some struggles for linebacker Dont'a Hightower in pass coverage, particularly against the Eagles' quick running backs led by Darren Sproles. ... Cornerback Logan Ryan's strong coverage on Eagles receiver Brad Smith down the left sideline in 11-on-11 drills was notable on one play. ... Heavyweight matchup between Patriots cornerback Brandon Browner (6-foot-4, 221) and Eagles receiver Ifeanyi Momah (6-7, 239), with Momah beating Browner over the top in the end zone. ... Receiver Danny Amendola was tough to defend in one-on-one drills, blazing up the sideline on one of them, and then delivering a sharp cut that left Jaylen Watkins in the dust. ... Tight end Rob Gronkowski did not participate in any drills against the Eagles, but took part in Patriots individual drills. … Wide receiver Josh Boyce showed his speed with a pair of deep routes as he left the defender in his dust, but he was unable to haul in both of them. ... Running back James White delivered a big block on the kickoff return unit to help spring Roy Finch. ... Fullback James Develin, who had dropped a few passes on Monday, seemed to rebound with a stronger effort that included a touchdown catch on a laser from Tom Brady. ... Undrafted cornerback Malcolm Butler continues to be around the ball, this time intercepting G.J. Kinne by breaking quickly on the ball on a pass intended for Quron Pratt. On Monday, Butler had intercepted Tom Brady on an out-route to Kenbrell Thompkins. ... Second-year defensive lineman Joe Vellano lined up next to Vince Wilfork, as he received some valuable repetitions that normally would have gone to injured Chris Jones. ... Linebacker Darius Fleming seemed like the primary beneficiary of Jerod Mayo's absence, as he worked alongside Jamie Collins and forced a throw-away on one snap with a good rush. ... One of the final drills of practice came when returners had a football in their grasp as they attempted to catch another football. ... The Patriots took a full-team "ice bucket challenge" after practice.

Who returned: Mallett, Browner.

New absences: Mayo.

Who else didn’t practice: Offensive tackle Chris Martin(non-football-injury list), wide receiver Jeremy Gallon (unknown/PUP), tight end Michael Hoomanawanui (unknown, participated in first four practices), tight end D.J. Williams (right leg), linebacker Cameron Gordon (unknown, participated in first six practices), defensive linemen Chris Jones and Sealver Siliga.

Who’s talking with the media: Defensive lineman Vince Wilfork; offensive lineman Logan Mankins; linebackers Dont’a Hightower and Darius Fleming; cornerbacks Darrelle Revis and Kyle Arrington; safeties Devin McCourty, Patrick Chung and Duron Harmon; defensive back Travis Hawkins; wide receivers Aaron Dobson, Kenbrell Thompkins, Derrick Johnson and Matthew Slater; fullback James Develin.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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