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More observations from OTAs

Posted by Albert Breer  June 7, 2010 06:35 PM

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• While we’re here, it’s worth mentioning that Nick Caserio has seemed less involved in the actually coaching this year than he was from what I saw last year. For large parts of today’s workout, he stood farther away, maybe to get a better vantage point of the bigger picture and to look at more players at once. In my experience, this is the way you usually see general managers or scouting directors or personnel chiefs watching practice. So maybe that means he’s moving more into that Scott Pioli-type of role. Or maybe I’m reading too much into it.

• With Leigh Bodden out today, rookie Devin McCourty spent some time with the starters. And lined up at left corner, where teams generally put their best corner. That meant Darius Butler was over at right corner, with Jonthan Wilhite in the slot. It could be that the Patriots want to get Butler reps on the right – He’s the leader to be the left corner opposite Bodden – since the dynamics of playing on that side are different, with the receivers you face and the fact that teams run that way more often generally. Or it could be that McCourty’s moving up the depth chart, earned those reaps and he’s got a shot to compete with Butler for that position.

• Continuing to see the Patriots heaping mental challenges on Brandon Spikes, part of what looks like a crash course in calling the defense and making pre-snap adjustments. His head’s gotta be swimming right now, but he looks like a fair bet to get early playing time, even if it’s Gary Guyton you see paired with Jerod Mayo more often than not.

• With Aaron Hernandez out of action, Rob Gronkowski ran some with the first team and Alge Crumpler played as the “move” tight end. Crumpler has more often been the in-line guy when paired with Hernandez, who’s the “Big Wideout” type for the position. And after Nick Kaczur filled in at left guard (Logan Mankins' spot) last week, he was out, so Dan Connolly played there today.

• Finally, hard not to notice that Patrick Chung’s seeing some reps with the starters, next to Brandon Meriweather. Could be that Brandon McGowan was out today, but my guess is that the coaches are going to want to get a good read on Chung, the 34th pick in the 2009 draft, and his progress over the next two weeks. Putting him with the starters does that. We’ll have more on No. 25 – who wore a red non-contact jersey again, but didn’t have the wrap around his arm like last week – tomorrow in this space.
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