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Patriots practice report

August 14, 2012
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Patriots practice report

Greg A. Bedard’s rundown of Patriots practice Monday afternoon.

ATTENDANCE

Reserve/did not report: RG Brian Waters.

Exempt/left team: FB Tony Fiammetta.

Physically unable to perform: RT Sebastian Vollmer (back), OT Markus Zusevics (unknown), TE Daniel Fells (shoulder), TE Jake Ballard (knee), DT Myron Pryor (shoulder).

Still out: CB Alfonzo Dennard (hamstring), LB Tracy White (unknown), TE Visanthe Shiancoe (unknown), DT Jonathan Fanene (unknown), FB Spencer Larsen (unknown), OT Matt Kopa (leg), OT Kyle Hix (right shoulder), TE Rob Gronkowski (unknown), WR Britt Davis (shoulder), FB Eric Kettani (unknown), CB Malcolm Williams (unknown), S James Ihedigbo (unknown), LB Dane Fletcher (left knee), DT Gerard Warren (unknown).

New injuries: TE Aaron Hernandez (unknown), WR Brandon Lloyd (unknown — was stretching his groin).

Limited in practice: LG Logan Mankins (right knee — no team drills).

INJURIES

WR Julian Edelman (hand) was attended to but returned.

G/C Dan Connolly took part in about half of practice and then stayed on the sideline.

DRESS CODE

Full pads.

TOP PLAYS

 On second and goal, QB Tom Brady held the ball a while and then threw a dart to WR Deion Branch in the right corner of the end zone. It’s familiar plays like that that could keep Branch around.

 TE Alex Silvestro channeled his inner Gronk with the starter on the sideline, catching a beautiful seam pass from Brady over S Nate Ebner.

 Brady and WR Jabar Gaffney had a textbook bomb down the right sideline that got the crowd excited.

THUMBS UP

Don’t call it a comeback: Veteran C Dan Koppen, who at times has had a very rough camp coming back from leg surgery, finally started to look more like his old self when he won all three of his one-on-one matchups. Connolly had won just one of his last 11 reps coming in. Koppen also looked better in team drills. His heavy hands are better, and he’s moving well. Don’t count him out yet.

THUMBS DOWN

The running backs were fairly pathetic trying to block linebackers in one-on-one drills. The only time they did anything was when the RBs faked blocking and went out on a pass route (Niko Koutouvides, Bobby Carpenter, and Mike Rivera each were made to look bad). Jerod Mayo, Rivera, and Koutouvides each used a push-pull technique that nearly left Danny Woodhead (twice) and Brandon Bolden flat on their faces. The running backs lost all their reps until the final one when Woodhead held his own against Dont’a Hightower.

SUPERLATIVES

Dropped passes: Edelman.

Nice catch: Jeremy Ebert, Edelman.

Fumbled: Ebert (punt).

Interceptions: Ebner (of Mallett).

ONE-ON-ONES

One man’s opinion on how the offensive and defensive lines matched up in one-on-one drills (our favorite part of camp). Records shown indicate wins-losses-draws.

Standouts — Offense: Dan Koppen (3-0-0), Jeremiah Warren (2-1-0), Darrion Weems (1-0-1). Defense: Trevor Scott (2-0-0), Vince Wilfork (2-0-0), Rob Ninkovich (2-0-0), Justin Francis (2-0-1).

Struggled — Offense: Marcus Cannon (0-3-0), Derek Dennis (0-2-0), Kyle Hill (0-2-0), Nick McDonald (0-2-0). Defense: Kyle Love (0-2-0), Jermaine Cunningham (0-2-1), Chandler Jones (0-1-1).

Decided victories: Donald Thomas (vs. Brandon Deaderick), Tim Bulman (vs. Cannon), Wilfork (vs. McDonald), Scott (vs. Hill twice).

 Cannon is known for his quick feet, but he hasn’t been able to show them very much. In practice and in the game against the Saints, Cannon has had a really tough time against strength. We saw that again when veteran DL Bulman used a push-pull-rip move to easily get around Cannon.

 Ninkovich, who usually prefers speed moves, used a power bull rush against Cannon the second time. Seems like the book on Cannon is to just muscle him.

 Scott has started to show more activity in his rush. He slapped down the hands of Hill and easily got around him on the first matchup, and then just used speed on the second. Would like to see Scott show a little more shake.

 McDonald got his first one-on-one reps of camp and he unfortunately drew Wilfork both times and had no chance.

 Thomas (2-2-0) is probably the most enthusiastic of the linemen. He had several good battles, including a near stalemate with Bulman.

 Jones was mediocre. He and Nate Solder had a draw, and then Jones was pushed outside by Weems.

ODDS AND ENDS

 No Hernandez and Lloyd left the Patriots with just two TEs (converted DL Silvestro and Tyler Urban), zero FBs, and shorthanded at WR.

 The practice was heavy on preparation — a lot of work against cards for both units. Didn’t look like preseason prep. It was likely a regular-season opponent that runs a traditional 3-4.

 Cannon was constantly hearing it from line coach Dante Scarnecchia in team drills.

 There was also an extended deceptions period, which works on misdirection runs, screens, reverses, and trick plays. Even saw Brady try to block Wilfork at one point.

 Saw the QB bucket drill for the first time. None of them put it in, and Ryan Mallett didn’t come close to hitting the bucket. Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels took two throws and his first attempt was so pathetic he got a little razzing from the media tent.

 If Stevan Ridley wants to be an every-down back on this team, he is going to have to do a better job in pass protection. He whiffed on Hightower in 11-on-11, not to mention the one-on-ones.

 Both Edelman and Gaffney pushed off to make big catches.

 Hightower showed some nice coverage skills against Ridley in one-on-ones.

 Vereen is by far the best downfield receiver among the RBs.

 Brady was 7 of 10 in 7-on-7, and Mallet was 2 of 2. Brady threw a lofted touchdown to Wes Welker over Kyle Arrington, and fit a ball to Vereen in a tight window with two or three defenders closing.

SCHEDULE

Tuesday: 1:30-4 p.m.

Wednesday: 1:30-4 p.m.

Thursday: 1:30-4 p.m.

Shalise Manza Young of the Globe staff contributed to this report.

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