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Notes from Thursday’s OTA

05.28.09 at 3:12 pm ET
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Last week’s Organized Team Activity (OTA) behind Gillette Stadium took place on a beautiful spring morning, an unseasonably warm day where temperatures were in the 70s. There were a handful of reporters, and things were fairly laid-back.

Thursday was a far different story. On a bone-chilling morning far more suitable for football, 96 media members — with some outlets sending as many as six people — sat on the metal bleachers behind Gillette Stadium and got their first look at quarterback Tom Brady since he went down with a knee injury last September. (ESPN, the NFL Network, Foxsports.com and The Sporting News all sent representatives to cover the event.)

Brady looked as good as could be expected. Wearing blue sweatpants and a white practice jersey, he appeared to move cleanly throughout a series of offensive drills. He did not appear to favor his leg at any point, and his throwing mechanics were sound, firing plenty of balls with zip and confidence throughout the workout that lasted close to two hours. (Backup Kevin O’Connell wasn’t as lucky, slipping and falling on the wet grass in the middle of a handoff drill.)

It’s important to remember that this is simply another step in the rehab process, and the quarterback said as much after the workout. (Check out what he had to say here.) But based on what I saw Thursday afternoon, there’s certainly reason for optimism at this stage of the offseason calendar. He hooked up on some nice throws on a couple of occasions, connecting with Greg Lewis on a reception Brady later called “ridiculous.” At one point, he displayed the exuberance of a rookie — early on, he scooped up a ball bag and carried it from one drill to another himself, a thankless job usually reserved for a first-year player.

Oh, and there were 77 other guys on the field too. (I kid, I kid.) Other notes worth passing along include:

‘€¢Jermail Porter continues to work with the offensive linemen. The Kent State product, a collegiate wrestling star trying to make the transition to pro football, certainly appeared nimble in the drills I saw him participate in. (He lined up at right tackle on a few occasions in 11-on-11 drills, for what it’s worth.) He still remains a project, but he certainly didn’t do anything to call attention to himself in a negative fashion.

‘€¢There was plenty of emphasis on special teams, specifically kickoffs. With so many players currently on the roster — and many of the younger players likely bound for extended special teams duty — it certainly made sense. In addition, there was some emphasis on 11-on-11 situation football, specifically the two-minute offense.

‘€¢For what it’s worth, here were the players who were NOT present: WR Tyree Barnes, WR Shun White, WR Brandon Tate, DB Brandon Meriweather, RB Sammy Morris, CB Mike Richardson, DB Ray Ventrone, LB Jerod Mayo, LB Tyrone McKenzie, LB Tedy Bruschi, OL Al Johnson, OL Mark LeVoir, NT Vince Wilfork, DL Ty Warren, DL Jarvis Green.

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