Ten things we learned from Day 8 of Patriots training camp
|08.03.12 at 5:08 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Friday was more of the same for the Patriots at Gillette Stadium, as it featured more football and more fighting.
The fighting yielded some serious discipline and lectures (see below), but ultimately it was a positive day for the Pats as they looked much healthier from an attendance standpoint.
Fifth-round pick Nate Ebner, who has been out with an undisclosed injury, made his first appearance of training camp Friday. Receivers Brandon Lloyd, Jabar Gaffney and Deion Branch, all of whom have missed some time over the last few days, were present as well. Jonathan Fanene was absent for a third straight day.
Here are nine other things we learned from Day 8 of training camp:
MORE FIGHTS, MAJOR LAPS
Bill Belichick finally had enough of the fighting in training camp. After the second of two fracases Friday, the coach yelled for the team to start running, and every player — and even coaches, including Pepper Johnson and Dante Scarnecchia — ran three laps. For what it’s worth, Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett were the fastest of the bunch.
The first dustup started between Bobby Carpenter and Ryan Wendell. Carpenter lost his balance while shooting the gap, and Wendell emphatically threw him down. After the two got into it, Patrick Chung jumped in. After another fight, this time between Brandon Deaderick and Darrion Weens, Belichick ordered the laps.
“Coach Belichick talked to us,” Carpenter said after the practice. “Hopefully that won’t happen again. We can’t be fighting ourselves.”
THE BIRTHDAY BOY SPEAKS UP
The coach wasn’t the only one to talk. After the players finished their three laps, Belichick addressed the huddled players. Tom Brady, celebrating his 35th birthday, then kicked the coaches out and addressed his teammates in a player-only huddle.
SPEAKING OF LAPS, NATE SOLDER IS GETTING USED TO THEM
Two days after his cheap shot on Brandon Spikes caused a scuffle and earned him a penalty lap, second-year tackle Nate Solder once again had to take a jog around the practice field. It was unclear what the infraction was that caused the lap, as he was beaten in a one-on-one battle, but that rarely warrants punishment from coaches.
FOR HIS BIRTHDAY, BRADY GOT SOME HEALTHY WEAPONS
The Patriots’ receivers have gone in and out over the last few days, but Friday saw the return of Lloyd, Gaffney and Branch. There didn’t seem to be much of a re-acclimation process for the veteran receivers, as they participated regularly in passing drills.
THE WIND WASN’T ANYONE’S FRIEND
There was a stiff wind blowing from the west that made things difficult for special teamers. Punter Zoltan Mesko shanked his punts at times, and punt returners Julian Edelman, Wes Welker and Aaron Hernandez all muffed their catches at different points of drills.
Somewhat strangely, kicker Stephen Gostkowski pushed his kicks wide right (against the wind) routinely in practice, though he may have been aiming to hit the right post.
YOU READ THAT RIGHT: AARON HERNANDEZ WAS RETURNING PUNTS
The third-year tight end fielded punts Friday along with Edelman and Welker. He got off to a good start when punt return work began, as he was the last of the three to fumble. He let the ball bounce out of bounds on his first turn, but muffed one later in the drills.
WE ONCE AGAIN DIDN’T LEARN ANYTHING ABOUT BRIAN WATERS
Patriots personnel chief Nick Caserio was asked prior to the practice whether there was any update on the veteran guard, to which he replied, “No update there.”
Waters has yet to make an appearance in training camp thus far. The team has the 35-year-old on the reserve/did not report list.
Brady’s primary backup turned in an impressive day. Hoyer let ‘er rip Friday, launching a couple of bombs that drew some loud cheers from a crowd that had already sung Happy Birthday to another quarterback.
The first of Hoyer’s impressive passes came on a play action play in 11-on-11s in which he hit Gaffney, who beat James Ihedigbo. The second was to Britt Davis on a deep route against no defenders.
MALLETT STILL HASN’T
While Hoyer has continued to look like he could potentially lead an NFL offense, Mallett hasn’t done anything to suggest he could leapfrog Hoyer on the depth chart. The Patriots seem to see it that way as well. While Brady and Hoyer threw to receivers in passing drills midway through practice, Mallett participated in a drill with running backs, working out of the shotgun and hitting backs with screens and short passes.