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Friday, August 2, 2013
Bed check: Managing OL depth

By Mike Reiss

(Every day at training camp, we'll recap the day with a final blog post.)

Top storyline: Players were in full pads for the fifth straight practice as they continue to get acclimated to contact with an eye towards next week's joint practices with the Eagles in Philadelphia, and then the preseason opener on Friday, Aug. 9 . Cornerback Ras-I Dowling and defensive end Jermaine Cunningham, who didn't finish Thursday's practice, weren't on the field. Also, guard/tackle Marcus Cannon remained out.

Roster moves: The club signed offensive linemen Luke Patterson (Texas A&M)and Brice Schwab (Arizona State), which addresses a lack of depth up front with the preseason opener approaching. With Cannon, Dan Connolly and tackles Elvis Fisher and Kevin Haslam all either sidelined or limited, coach Bill Belichick was likely factoring in the need for additional personnel to get him through the second half of the preseason opener. To make room on the roster, the team released Travis Chappelear and long snapper Mike Zupancic.

Brady and Tebow hold court: After practice, quarterbacks Tom Brady and Tim Tebow answered questions from reporters. The big topic for Brady during camp has been how he's adjusting to his new receivers, particularly rookies Aaron Dobson (second round), Josh Boyce (fourth round) and Kenbrell Thompkins (free agent). "They’re smart kids that want to work hard and have really come into this environment and really taken to everything that the coaches have tried to talk to them about, everything that I’ve tried to talk to them about," he said. "That’s been the fun part is when guys are eager to come in and learn, listen, and try to do the right thing."

Remainder of camp schedule is set: The Patriots finalized the remainder of their training camp schedule (link here), with the final practice coming Thursday, Aug. 15.

Rookie report: Receivers Aaron Dobson, Josh Boyce and Kenbrell Thompkins continue to get top repetitions with Tom Brady... Cornerback Logan Ryan was bumped up with Ras-I Dowling not practicing, and Alfonzo Dennard limited. ... Safety Duron Harmon played alongside Tavon Wilson, as that duo worked behind an Adrian Wilson/Steve Gregory pairing. ... Defensive end Michael Buchanan showed up with a strong rush in 1-on-1 drills. ... Punter Ryan Allen remains competitive, displaying power and direction.

Quote of note: "I’ve really enjoyed it. He’s a great guy. He's fun to be around. He's had a lot of experience and a lot of productivity, so we have good conversation. He loves playing football and those are usually the type of guys that do well." -- Tom Brady, on what it's been like having Tim Tebow in the quarterbacks room.

Summing it up: There was a lot of situational work in this practice, specifically with the red zone, third-down passing and two-minute offense. There was also a goal-line drill, which the defense seemed to control (Brandon Spikes among the tone-setters). As is often the case at this time of camp, management of the roster with injuries starts to become more of a factor.