Notes from Patriots’ Tuesday minicamp practice
|06.12.12 at 3:12 pm ET|
FOXBORO — The Patriots just wrapped up their first of three minicamp practices open to the media, and in a session that ran two hours, worked on a variety of things. The workout, which had the same feel as the OTA sessions over the previous three weeks, was held in T-shirts, sweats, shorts and helmets. Here are a few quick notes:
The only three players who were not spotted on the field for the duration of the session were tight end Daniel Fells, offensive lineman Brian Waters and defensive lineman Myron Pryor. Several players appeared limited, as tight end Rob Gronkowski, offensive linemen Sebastian Vollmer and Logan Mankins and linebackers Brandon Spikes and Tracy White were among those who spent plenty of time working out off to the side.
On the injury front, defensive lineman Jonathan Fanene went down late in the session with what appeared to be a left leg injury. He was on the ground for some time, and was getting work done for several minutes. He did get up and was walking around at the end of the session, and he walked off the field under his own power once things are done, but with a noticeable limp.
Keeping in mind that it’s still only June and the regular season is three months away, some of the personnel groupings were interesting. There was a good amount of special teams work, specifically punt coverage and blocking. Julian Edelman and Patrick Chung were spotted working as punt returners. While Edelman was no surprise, the sight of Chung back there was a bit of an eye-opener. Chung has not working in that capacity in his professional career, but he did return 16 punts as a collegian (14 as a sophomore) at Oregon.
In that same vein, it was interesting to see that after spending three OTA sessions that were open to the media as the starting right guard, newcomer Robert Gallery appeared to get bumped down the depth chart in favor of Dan Connolly. Without Waters and Mankins on the practice field, the practice utilized Ryan Wendell at left guard and Connolly at right guard with the starting offense. Nate Solder (left tackle) and Marcus Cannon (right tackle, in place of Vollmer) worked as the starters on the outside. Out of that that same positional grouping, it was also interesting to see Joseph Addai get a lot of work as the No .1 running back.
Defensive end Alex Silvestro continues to work exclusively with the tight ends. It remains to be seen whether that’s a function of need (the Patriots are struggling to keep healthy tight ends on the field, and Aaron Hernandez continues to work heavily with the wide receivers) or simply an interesting wrinkle they play on utilizing down the road. The thing is, he doesn’t look overwhelmed at the position — it’s still June, but it appears there might be something there. Something worth watching.
In 11 on 11’s on the defensive side of the ball, the Patriots rolled out a starting defensive front of Trevor Scott, Fanene, Vince Wilfork and Rob Ninkovich. Defensive moments that stood out include picks of backup quarterback Brian Hoyer on back-to-back snaps, one by Jeff Tarpinian and another by Will Allen. Ras-I Dowling got a lot of run at right cornerback, and looked good (at least when I was able to focus on him).
Four different players were spotted running penalty laps at the end of practice: defensive lineman Kyle Love, Ninkovich, Wendell and defensive lineman Gerard Warren.