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Tuesday practice notes: Great 1-on-1 battles between wide receivers, defensive backs highlight session

07.29.14 at 11:54 am ET
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FOXBORO — The Patriots wrapped up their fifth training camp session of the summer and third practice in pads Tuesday morning on the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium. After taking Monday off, New England held a session that ran for roughly two hours in warm temperatures. Here are a few quick notes:

— Former offensive coordinator Charlie Weis was in attendance, and he stopped to talk with coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady before the start of practice. Owner Robert Kraft strolled out to watch practice 45 into the session.

— The following players were not in pads with the rest of the team: tight end Michael Hoomanawanui, offensive lineman Dan Connolly, linebacker Deontae Skinner, offensive lineman Chris Martin, defensive lineman Dominque Easley and wide receiver Jeremy Gallon.

— The biggest names to return were cornerback Alfonzo Dennard and cornerback Daxton Swanson. Dennard appeared limited, and didn’t spend any time in the 7-on-7s or 11-on-11s, working off to the side once practice really got started.

— The rest of the players were working out off to the side: Gallon, Dobson, Easley, Slater and Skinner. (Their session included some time on the bike.)

— It appeared that Marcus Cannon got the bulk of the work in place of Connolly at the guard spot.

— There was some great theater in a series of one-on-one drills between wide receivers and defensive backs. Brandon Browner and Brandon LaFell engaged in a nice one-on-one matchup in a goal-line passing drill that was won by LaFell. Later on, Kenbrell Thompkins had his defender beat, but a miscommunication with the quarterback left everyone confused. Shortly after that, Darrelle Revis had a TERRIFIC pass breakup on a ball for Thompkins, reaching in and knocking the ball away at the last minute.

Then, Edelman had a great catch, despite the fact that Kyle Arrington knocked into him in the air. Edelman came down with the ball and his feet inbounds on a really nice play. Logan Ryan got some revenge shortly after that for the defensive backs when he stepped in front of a Brady ball intended for Edelman.

— No 11-on-11 or 7-on-7 work for Rob Gronkowski, but he was working extensively in the team drills. He also spent time in what has become fairly regular routine, working with Brady off to the side. There was one great scene where Brady was throwing to Gronkowski, with Revis working in coverage — arguably the three of the four most important players on the roster working as a group.

— In one-on-ones between the offensive linemen and defensive linemen, for the most part the defense appeared to be ahead of the offense, with Will Smith and Chandler Jones appearing to get the best of their offensive line counterparts.

— In a series of passing drills just over an hour into the workout, Edelman beat Revis on a long ball. Then, Brady connected on a GREAT deep ball for LaFell, splitting Malcolm Butler and Nate Ebner in coverage. It was the best play of the camp for LaFell, who wrestled the ball away from the defensive backs and set off a celebration on offense.

— In kick return drills, Josh Boyce again got a ton of reps, along with LaFell and Shane Vereen.

— In one-on-one drills where players started on their backs (one with the ball) and then flipped over and had to square off, Devin McCourty made a really nice play to strip Roy Finch of the ball. Edelman slipped past Browner, drawing ohhhs and ahhs from the crowd. And Rob Ninkovich had a nice takedown of James White.

— In a safety drill where defenders were tracking a ball thrown over their heads, Patrick Chung got conked in the head, Jose Canseco-style, when he couldn’t find the ball in the air.

— In 7-on-7 passing drills at the end of practice, Vereen dropped a pass from Brady in the corner of the end zone, but Edelman and Thompkins caught a couple of crisply delivered passes from the quarterback.

— At the end of the workout, Travis Hawkins had a really impressive pick of a Jimmy Garoppolo deep pass.

Read More: 2014 training camp,
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