FOXBORO — The Patriots just put the wraps on their Saturday afternoon practice session, their first of the day in pads. It was held under a slightly overcast, cool day, with a packed house in the stands. Here are a few quick notes:
•When it comes to attendance, the following players were present but not in pads: Defensive lineman Ron Brace, wide receiver Wes Welker, defensive lineman Kyle Love, running back Thomas Clayton and defensive back Bret Lockett. Not present were wide receiver Matthew Slater, outside linebacker Derrick Burgess, offensive lineman Logan Mankins, offensive lineman Nick Kaczur and defensive lineman Ty Warren.
•With no Kaczur to work on Mankins’ spot at left guard, Dan Connolly and Ted Larsen appeared to take the majority of reps at that position.
•Brandon Tate and Taylor Price continue to have impressive camps. In a pass-catching drill where receivers were in one-on-one coverage with cornerbacks, Tate made an impressive move on the corner opposite him and make an impressive reception from Tom Brady on a deep ball down the sidelines. Price also had some nice grabs, but was victimized in the same drill when a Brady pass intended for him was knocked away at the last second on a nice play by Brandon Meriweather.
•On the defensive side of the ball, Brandon McGowan had a pass from Zac Robinson drop right into his lap, while Thomas Williams made an alert play, coming up with an interception on a ball that popped out of the grasp of Darnell Jenkins. But perhaps the defensive highlight of the afternoon came when Patrick Chung got wayyyyyyyyyy up on a ball meant for Taylor Price along the sidelines. Chung did an impressive job leaping, picking off the ball and managing to come down inbounds. Probably the finest play of the camp for the Oregon product, who has almost constantly been teamed with Meriweather at the safety position throughout the early stages.
•Brady and Dan Koppen took their first penalty lap of camp after a botched snap late in practice … but let’s just say they appeared to shave some distance off their run when the coaches weren’t watching. We’ll just leave it at that.
•Many of you have asked me about the progress of Florida product Jermaine Cunningham. The rookie has started to work more and more with what appears to be a reasonable facsimile of the No. 1 defense — he spent plenty of time with them this afternoon. With the uncertainty looming at the outside linebacker spot for the Patriots, it’s a safe bet that he will continue to get more and more opportunities as camp continues.