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Training Camp Report from Sunday afternoon practice

08.15.10 at 5:26 pm ET
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FOXBORO ‘€” The Patriots just finished their Sunday afternoon practice, a session that ran for roughly two hours on the fields behind Gillette Stadium. It was a fully padded practice that was held under mostly overcast skies. There were some sprinkles, but all in all, it was good football weather. Here are a few quick notes:

‘€¢As expected, the Patriots announced the re-signing of wide receiver Buddy Farnham, as well as the acquisition of OL Brian Simmons. (Farnham will wear No. 13, while Simmons will take 65.) To make room on the roster, the Patriots waived defensive back Ross Vetrone and placed wide receiver Torry Holt on injured reserve. Placing Holt on IR solves a bit of a logjam at the receiver spot, and likely allows veteran Sam Aiken to breathe a little easier when it comes to landing a spot on the final 53-man roster.

‘€¢The following players were absent from practice: defensive end Jermaine Cunningham, defensive lineman Damione Lewis, offensive lineman Nick Kaczur, offensive lineman Logan Mankins and defensive back Bret Lockett. Wide receiver Matthew Slater, cornerback Leigh Bodden, defensive back Terrence Johnson, linebacker Gary Guyton, linebacker/defensive end Dane Fletcher and offensive lineman George Bussey watched in sweats.

‘€¢In their first padded practices of camp, both Ron Brace and Derrick Burgess saw limited action. Brace appeared to spend the majority of his time at left defensive end ‘€” the spot that has usually been occupied by Ty Warren ‘€” while Burgess rotated in occasionally at the outside linebacker/defensive end spot he occupied for much of last season.

‘€¢Unfortunately for Burgess, he was matched up against right tackle Sebastian Vollmer for the bulk of practice, and appeared to struggle at times. But he was all smiles after practice, saying it was good to get back on the field. ‘€œIt felt good. It felt good,’€ he said when asked about his performance on his first day back. ‘€œA little rusty, but it felt good to run into somebody ‘€” that always helps.’€ Burgess worked with the No. 1 units in nickel and dime sets.

‘€¢After having his fingers taped during the morning walkthrough, quarterback Tom Brady ditched the tape for the afternoon session. When it came to the quarterbacks, the highlight of the session was the garbage can drill. The first series, the blue container was placed on the goal line and the quarterbacks tried to loft throws into it from 30 yards away. Backup quarterback Brian Hoyer was the only one to connect from that distance. Later in practice, Hoyer also dropped one in from 10-15 yards out. (All three quarterbacks ‘€” Brady, Hoyer and No. 3 signal-caller Zac Robinson ‘€” hit the garbage can once from that distance.)

‘€¢Brady and Wes Welker made a nice connection, with Brady finding a seam in the zone coverage that allowed the two to hook-up on a sweet throw-and-catch that would have gone for a touchdown.

‘€¢As for Hoyer, he had a bit of a mixed afternoon. In 11-on-11 drills, he rolled out and fired an awful pass toward an area where no offensive players were within a good 10 yards. That ball was easily picked off by cornerback Darius Butler. He also had a pass for wide receiver Taylor Price that was neatly broken up by Terrence Wheatley. (However, on the next play, Hoyer and Price rebounded nicely, making a connection in the corner of the end zone that drew cheers from the crowd after Price did a good job coming down inbounds with the ball.)

‘€¢Matt Light took a penalty lap for a false start.

‘€¢Defensively, it’€™s clear that there is no more competition at the inside linebacker spot opposite Jerod Mayo, as Florida rookie Brandon Spikes continues to impress ‘€” he made some nice plays in 11-on-11 drills. It’€™ll be interesting to see how playing time is parceled out when Guyton returns to the field, but with each passing day, Spikes is doing more and more to make the job his own.

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