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Some thoughts on Michael Hoomanawanui, the Patriots’ no-huddle and the first injury report of the season

09.06.12 at 12:24 am ET
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Four Patriots-related thoughts to wrap up Wednesday:

1. Asked around the league after the Patriots made the Michael Hoomanawanui signing official on Wednesday, and while he’€™s a good receiver (20 catches for 229 yards and three touchdowns in two seasons with the Rams), the one thing that came up on each occasion was the fact that he is a better-than-average blocker. Our pals over at Pro Football Focus have Hoomanawanui rated as a +2.7 pass blocker (ninth-best among all tight ends last season) and a +2.2 run blocker in 2011, putting up those numbers in 401 snaps last season with the Rams. By way of comparison, PFF had Aaron Hernandez at -0.3 in pass blocking and -0.5 in run blocking and Rob Gronkowski at -1.0 in pass blocking and +10.9 in run blocking. With the Patriots likely to use at least two tight end sets on several occasions, it will be interesting to see how many reps Hoomanawanui gets right out of the gate, particularly as a pass blocker.

2. When it comes to keeping it vanilla in the preseason, it’€™s worth noting that the Patriots — who went no-huddle on 242 of its 1,082 snaps during the 2011 regular season, a rate of 22 percent — didn’€™t run a single play in the no huddle over the course of the 2012 preseason. Of course, they didn’€™t run anything in the no huddle in the 2011 preseason, and then came out and went no huddle for 27 of 71 plays (38 percent) of the time in the regular-season opener against the Dolphins. Titans coach Mike Munchak was asked about the difficulties of trying to simulate the Patriots’€™ uptempo offense on Wednesday.

‘€œYou’€™re never going to quite get in that pace out here. You’€™re going to get used to what they like they do. Obviously, you can’€™t see those things on tape. You do your best to get ready for it, and you have to see how well you adjust on Sunday. The main reason ‘€” thing ‘€” is (so) there’€™s no surprises and you’€™re expecting a quick-tempo game,’€ Munchak said. ‘€œIt’€™s not all hurry-up, but obviously if they’€™re having success and having their way, then you’€™re going to get a lot more hurry-up, and if they feel they have (exposed some) confusion or if they feel like they found something that they’€™re exploiting, there’€™s no doubt that they’€™re going to speed up and keep attacking what they think is working.’€

3. One interesting note when it came to the injury reports, as noted by our pal Adam Caplan: across the league, no quarterbacks were listed on the injury report on Wednesday, not even Michael Vick (ribs).

4. We weren’€™t able to use a couple of quotes from veterans about their ‘€œWelcome to the NFL’€ moment as part of this story, but they were still good enough to pass along. First, Gronkowski: ‘€œThat was training camp, one of the first practices my rookie year. It was crazy,’€ he said with a grin. ‘€œ[I was] trying to block Vince Wilfork. I went flying backwards.’€ Second, Matt Slater: ‘€œI had plenty of those moments my rookie year. I remember coach saying, ‘€˜The bigger they are, the harder they hit.’€™ And I took a couple of serious shots, and there were several moments over the course of my rookie year where I realized I wasn’€™t in college anymore.’€ And third, Steve Gregory: ‘€œIt was just coming in the locker room after cuts and just seeing all the guys around, seeing LaDainian Tomlinson, Shawne Merriman. All those guys I remember watching, and just thinking, ‘€˜Wow. This is really it.’€™ And then, getting out on the field and lining up against guys like that was definitely a ‘€˜Welcome to the NFL’€™ type of moment.’€

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