Posted: 5/24/2012 3:49 PM
FOXBOROUGH – Here are some observations from today’s practice that was open to the media.
Before I begin, a few disclaimers.
So, with that backdrop, a few intentionally vague thoughts after watching practice:
Posted: 5/24/2012 5:29 PM
The shirts-and-shorts session began with stretching. Offense wore blue and defense wore grey. As noted on Tuesday, the players did not have jerseys on, but numbers could be spied on shorts and helmets. I didn't see Sebastian Vollmer, Daniel Fells, Logan Mankins, Brian Waters, Tracy White, Myron Pryor, Anthony Gonzalez, or Jeremy Ebert while scanning the practice field. It's possible any or all showed up after reporters left the session.
Posted: 5/24/2012 9:04 PM
Posted: 5/24/2012 9:37 PM
Posted: 5/25/2012 7:11 AM
I think Addai/Vereen will be the key for that. When either of them are on the field, the Patriots are no so obviously one-dimensional. Both can be part of the running or passing game. Hopefully they can stay healthy.
Posted: 5/25/2012 10:25 AM
Posted: 5/26/2012 1:46 PM
Posted: 5/26/2012 4:37 PM
Posted: 5/26/2012 4:52 PM
Posted: 5/26/2012 10:37 PM
Posted: 5/27/2012 10:47 AM
Posted: 5/28/2012 2:17 AM
dokgonzo wrote: There's nothing wrong with letting the other team know you intend to run the ball down their throats when you can actually pull it off. Ridley, Bolden, plus 2 FB's and a couple monster TE's should allow them to do just that. During the Dillon years the Pats drove other teams crazy in the 4th - you know they were going to run the clock out, and no one could stop them from doing it.
Chance favors the Prepared Mind.
Posted: 5/28/2012 4:22 AM
Posted: 5/28/2012 11:39 AM
Posted: 5/28/2012 3:50 PM
Posted: 5/29/2012 10:35 AM
It’s time to conclude this quick five-part series that took a look back on my list of things to watch during OTAs. This doesn’t mean the analysis is complete, as two of the Patriots’ final seven OTAs are still open to the media, but it seemed like an appropriate time to make some snap judgments.
Scroll through the blog to see the first parts, which checked out Rob Gronkowski, the secondary, wide receivers and rookies. Here, let’s roll through the running backs. This is what I wrote in Thursday’s paper:
In all likelihood, the Patriots will give their running backs role-specific duties, but there are still questions after BenJarvus Green-Ellis’ departure. Can Stevan Ridley take over as the primary ballcarrier? Is Shane Vereen better than advertised between the tackles? Can Danny Woodhead keep it going after a superb Super Bowl? How much does Joseph Addai have left in the tank? Does undrafted free agent Brandon Bolden deserve the comparisons to Green-Ellis? Potential can be a beautiful thing, but it yields plenty of unknowns.
Analysis: The big thing that jumped out was Vereen served as the top back during practice. The unknown is whether or not it means anything, particularly since I have no idea who took on that role during their first two sessions. It’s just like preseason carries in that regard, as Bill Belichick will designate certain times for certain players to have their time with the first-team offense. But again, Vereen is high on my list of players to watch during the offseason, since it was difficult to make any lasting impressions last year.
Addai got a decent amount of snaps, too, but I don’t think it’s a given that he’ll make the roster. I do think, though, that with a young backfield, Belichick would like a veteran to stay in the mix.
Aside from Vereen’s snaps, I can’t say who did or didn’t run well. There’s no contact during OTAs, which makes it difficult to reach any worthwhile impressions on the performance of the running game. In all honesty, the first time to assess the running attack will be the preseason opener. There will be observations in the meantime, but teams need to be going full speed to show what they’ve truly got on the ground.
Credit: Boston Herald
Posted: 5/29/2012 1:48 PM
Posted: 5/30/2012 11:52 AM
dokgonzo wrote: A lot of the "to run or not to run" decision will also come from BB. The question is: has he seen enough of blowing leads in the 4th, and seeing Brady get hammered for 4 quarters, to dictate the style of offense to McD?
Posted: 5/31/2012 2:08 PM
FOXBOROUGH -- We'll be back in a little bit with some observations from practice, but here's the rundown on who wasn't participating:
Not present: LG Logan Mankins, RG Brian Waters, RT Sebastian Vollmer, WR Jeremy Ebert (school), TE Daniel Fells, DT Gerard Warren, DT Myron Pryor (Pryor's non-attendance is not 100 percent. It was tough to see with no jerseys again).
Present and watching: OT Markus Zusevics.
Present and rehabbing: TE Rob Gronkowski, RB Joseph Addai, WR Matthew Slater, LB Tracy White, LB Brandon Spikes.
Returned after being out last week: S Nate Ebner.
All of the rehab group appeared to be moving well, so the injuries seem to be coming along. Gronkowski looks about 10 times better than he did in the Super Bowl. Addai was doing a lot of resistance training at a decent pace.
Will return in about 30 minutes with a practice report.
Posted: 5/31/2012 6:45 PM
Thursday, May 31, 2012 10:46 AM
Notes from the Patriots’ Thursday morning OTA session
It Is What It Is
FOXBORO — The Patriots just wrapped up an OTA session on the fields behind Gillette Stadium under a brilliant late-spring sky. The practice, held in shorts, sweats and T-shirts, ran for roughly 90 minutes, and like last week’s session that the media had access to, had the same pace as an uptempo training camp practice — quick and efficient, but not too fast. Here are a few quick notes:
•The following players were not spotted on the field for the duration of the session: offensive linemen Brian Waters, Logan Mankins and Sebastian Vollmer; wide receiver Jeremy Ebert and tight end Daniel Fells. As was the case last week, tight end Rob Gronkowski worked off to the side, running sprints and stretching. Meanwhile, special teamer Matthew Slater, linebacker Tracy White and running back Joseph Addai also worked off to the side. (Addai looked nimble working through cone drills.) Linebacker Brandon Spikes started with the team in the stretching line, and then appeared to depart for the practice bubble.
•With the understanding that very little should be read into personnel moves because it’s still May, there were some interesting faces in different places. On the offensive line, with no Mankins, Waters or Vollmer, Robert Gallery got a lot of snaps at right guard, while Marcus Cannon saw plenty of time at right tackle. In addition, Dan Connolly and Dan Koppen rotated pretty steadily at center, with Donald Thomas (who didn’t play center last season) working as a backup center for portions of the workout. Connolly and Ryan Wendell also rotated in at the guard spots, while Nate Solder spent most of his time working as the left tackle with what appeared to be the No. 1 offensive line.
•Quarterback Tom Brady was pretty animated throughout the practice, while offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels was a hands-on presence with the quarterbacks.
•In 7-on-7′s, there were several different combinations utilized in the secondary, but it is worth noting that for the second consecutive week, McCourty appeared to take the bulk of the reps at cornerback. (It looked like McCourty and Ras-I Dowling were paired as the starting corners.) There were several different pairings at safety, including Nate Ebner and Pat Chung, Ebner and Ross Ventrone and Josh Barrett and Sergio Brown. Steve Gregory rotated into the mix as well. Ebner made a nice pass breakup on a pass from Brian Hoyer that was intended for Brandon Lloyd. •One interesting special teams note — Donte Stallworth worked briefly as a kick returner, along with Julian Edelman, Danny Woodhead and Devin McCourty. Working as a special teamer would almost certainly increase Stallworth’s chances of making the final roster. (It’s worth noting that the last time he worked as a returner was 2005 with New Orleans.) One other thing regarding Stallworth — he appeared to tweak something in the early stages of practice, limping off and spending time on the sidelines. It didn’t appear serious, as he was quickly back on the field.
•Lloyd looked comfortable again working with the wide receivers, not overwhelmed by much at all. It was a relatively uneventful session for the bulk of the receivers. (After appearing to struggle through much of last week’s session, Chad Ochocinco didn’t really pop up much on the radar. He did have a very nice catch on a pass from Brian Hoyer in passing drills early on in practice.) Other skill position highlights included running back Stevan Ridley working with what appeared to be a reasonable facsimile of the starting offense in 11-on-11 drills near the end of practice. (He looked good, but dropped a short pass from backup Ryan Mallett toward the end of the practice.)
Posted: 6/7/2012 5:15 PM
Posted: 6/7/2012 10:28 PM
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