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Friday, August 2, 2013
Big takeaway: Dowling's deja vu

By Mike Reiss

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The absence of cornerback Ras-I Dowling was the "big takeaway" from the Patriots' training camp practice Friday.

The 2011 second-round pick (the top pick of the round) has been limited to nine games in his first two seasons because of hip and thigh injuries, and because of that, has been tagged with the "injury-prone" label.

Some had reason to believe this year might be different.

Dowling appeared to have a solid spring and was taking second-unit repetitions through the first six practices of training camp before he came up limping midway through Thursday's workout and didn't finish. No definitive word on what is nagging him.

It could be a situation where Dowling just needs a day or two, and will be back on the field. We saw that earlier in the week with rookie receiver Aaron Dobson, which was a good reminder of the risks of overreacting at this time.

Thus, we'll be keeping a close eye on Dowling's status in the days to come.

In his absence, it has led to greater opportunity for rookie Logan Ryan (third round, Rutgers) and veteran Marquice Cole, with Devin McCourty also lining up at cornerback on Friday.

Given his recent injury history, any time missed for Dowling raises a caution flag.