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Some quick notes from the Patriots’ Tuesday practice

08.16.11 at 2:48 pm ET
By

FOXBORO — The Patriots had one practice on Tuesday that ran for roughly 2 1/2 hours outside on the fields behind Gillette Stadium in sweats and shells. The practice, the 19th of camp, was perhaps the most sparsely attended session of the summer — the spotty showers and overcast skies likely kept most fans away. Here are a few quick notes:

•The following players were not on the field for practice: Taylor Price, Malcolm Williams, Eric Kettani, Christian Cox, Jeff Tarpinian, Brandon Spikes, Marcus Cannon, Ryan Wendell, Brandon Deaderick, Albert Haynesworth, Shaun Ellis, Jermaine Cunningham, Ron Brace and Mike Wright. (Deaderick, Ellis and Brace did show up late in practice, walking from the practice bubble to the workout field and back again.) In addition, the following players were in T-shirts and sweats: Julian Edelman, Brandon Tate, Ras-I Dowling, Shane Vereen, Kevin Faulk, James Sanders and Josh Barrett. (Faulk and Sanders had helmets with them.)

•Even though players were in shells, the entire session was little more than a glorified walkthrough, as it was a “cards” session for much of the morning. That means that prior to the snap, an assistant coach held up a card and that side would go through the motions of simulating an opponent. With that in mind, the following notes should be taken with a grain of salt:

•Quarterback Tom Brady had some ups and downs during the session. In a red-zone drill where he rolled out and had three defensive backs on a pair of receivers on the goal line, he missed his connections with both Deion Branch (where he was picked off by Patrick Chung) and Wes Welker (who jumped before the snap was called). A visibly frustrated Brady reacted as you would expect. Later on, he responded with a sharp pass to Chad Ochocinco over safety Sergio Brown, and later, had an impressive connection on a deep ball with Ochocinco off a play-action fake.

•It appears that rookie quarterback Ryan Mallett got a lot of work with the second offense on Tuesday. That shouldn’t be seen as a swipe at Brian Hoyer, but possibly positioning Mallett for more playing time Thursday night against Tampa. Mallett’s highlight likely came on a deep ball down the middle of the field for Matthew Slater, a really sharp pass play that drew cheers from the crowd. He also had a nice hookup with rookie wide receiver Jeremy Ross in 11-on-11 work.

•Speaking of 11-on-11 work, both the offense and defense were forced to run a lap during that portion of practice.

•Another good day for Chung, who had two interceptions, one off Brady and another off Hoyer, and was again around the ball for most of the session. (Leigh Bodden and Brandon Meriweather also had interceptions as well.) Chung continues to have a really good camp.

Nate Solder continued to get serious reps at left tackle with the starting offense again on Tuesday, and likely figures to get lots of playing time Thursday against the Bucs as New England continues to work veteran Matt Light slowly into the lineup. (Not sure if this was a symptom of having some depth questions on the offensive line — players will often practice out of position if there are depth questions, especially in non-padded practices — but Solder was also out there at right guard for a few snaps as well. Could be something, could be nothing. Bears watching.)

•At the end of practice, part-time kickers Wes Welker and Chad Ochocinco took their shots from about 35 yards out. Both missed, drawing big groans from their teammates and fans.

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