Friday, August 3, 2012
Bed check: Wrapping up Day 9
By Mike Reiss
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Wrapping up the ninth day of training camp and the key storylines:
Belichick orders 3 laps after 2 scuffles. After saying that he didn't think Wednesday night's full-team scuffle was a big deal, Patriots coach Bill Belichick seemed to view things differently Friday when two more full-team scuffles broke out. After the second, he ordered everyone to take three laps around the field -- goal-post to goal-post. Belichick then addressed the team, reminding players that nothing is more important than their health, before there was a players-only huddle.
Lloyd returns to practice. Receiver Brandon Lloyd, who had missed the last two practices, was back on the field. While he took limited reps, his return was an indication that whatever he was dealing with wasn't major. In addition, veteran receiver Jabar Gaffney, who had left Thursday's practice with what appeared to be a heat-related issue, was back in action.
Shaky hands from punt returners. All three punt returners -- Julian Edelman, Wes Welker and Aaron Hernandez -- muffed an attempt. Hernandez's came when he tried to catch the ball over his head. Not a good day for the returners.
Birthday wishes for Brady. At various times over the practice, fans sang "Happy Birthday" to quarterback Tom Brady, who was celebrating his 35th. The crowds have thinned a bit in recent days.
First practice for Ebner. After passing his physical at the start of training camp, rookie safety Nate Ebner said he had an injury that kept him off the field until Friday. The sixth-round draft choice out of Ohio State, who was a top special teamer for the Buckeyes, spoke with reporters after his first practice. He wore a black band on his right wrist with the words "finish strong."
Moore making plays on the ball. Cornerback Sterling Moore has generated momentum in recent days. His work as a gunner contrtibuted to Julian Edelman's muff on a punt, and he also batted away a pass in one-on-one drills intended for Matthew Slater. Moore probably sits fourth on the cornerback depth chart at this time, but he is making a case to move up the ranks.
Day off Saturday. After four straight days of work, three of which were in full pads, players are off Saturday.
Star performer of the day. Vince Wilfork. In 1-on-1 drills, the powerful defensive lineman flicks veteran guard Robert Gallery to the side with ease. He also had success against Dan Koppen and Donald Thomas in the same drill..
Tough day at the office. Tavon Wilson. Rookie safety was responsible for the back end on two long pass plays -- one to Matthew Slater and one to Jabar Gaffney.
Storyline to monitor. Defensive ends Trevor Scott and Jermaine Cunningham. Both generated some early momentum in camp, but have been quiet in recent days in 1-on-1 rush drills.
Rookie watch. Defensive end Jake Bequette returned to practice after being held out the last two sessions, and had a nice rush off the edge on rookie free agent Darrion Weems in 1-on-1 drills. ... Rookie free agent defensive end Justin Francis continues to show up with a play or two each practice; this time it was knocking left tackle Nate Solder on his back in 1-on-1 drills. ... First-round draft choices Chandler Jones and Dont'a Hightower continue to get a lot of quality repetitions with the top D.