Monday, August 6, 2012
Cleaning out the camp notebook
By Mike Reiss
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Cleaning out the training camp notebook with some random observations, thoughts, quotes and news items after the Patriots' ninth training camp practice on Sunday:
1. One of the highlights of training camp has been watching left tackle Nate Solder go up against first-round draft choice Chandler Jones in 1-on-1 rush drills. It's been about a 50-50 split in terms of which player comes out on top. Solder didn't want to answer a question on what makes Jones a tough matchup, but said all the team's ends have challenged him. "The harder it is, the better it is getting ready for the season," he said.
2. Rookie Nate Ebner, who practiced for the first time on Friday, was lined up with top special teams players on the kickoff return unit. The sixth-round draft choice from Ohio State was a top special teamer in college and that's his ticket to earning a roster spot in New England. The coaching staff seems to be testing him early.
3. Donte' Stallworth described Bill Belichick's approach in training camp as one in which "there is no light at the end of the tunnel." "That's something he's preached as long as I can remember -- don't worry about tomorrow, just the next thing," Stallworth said. "When I was here a few years ago, that was something he always preached to us, and it was something I carried with me throughout the rest of my career. Having that attitude helps, because in camp it's easy to get sidetracked."
4. Receiver Brandon Lloyd had a false start in Sunday's practice, marking the first time he looked like Chad Ochocinco since joining the Patriots. Too harsh? It was the first thing that came to mind when I saw Lloyd -- wearing No. 85 -- jump early on Sunday.
5. Defensive end Trevor Scott, who enters his fifth NFL season in 2012 (first with the Patriots), has slowed in recent practices. At one time looking like a sure-fire top-unit left end, he could face some heat for a roster spot from someone like rookie free agent Justin Francis.
6. Thought backup quarterback Brian Hoyer summed up the preseason nicely for those in his position: "This is like the regular season for me," he said, pointing out that he finished 2011 with one regular-season pass attempt.