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The Rundown: Practice #8

Posted by Greg A. Bedard  August 2, 2011 06:19 PM

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Here’s a rundown on what went on at Patriots’ practice this afternoon:

ATTENDANCE PLEASE

- Unsigned draft picks: OT Nate Solder.
- Veterans who can’t practice until Aug. 4: CB Kyle Arrington, RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis (restricted), G Logan Mankins (franchise), RB Sammy Morris (unrestricted), RB Kevin Faulk (unrestricted), DL Steve Williams (unrestricted).
- Physically unable to perform list: DL Ron Brace, DL Brandon Deaderick, DL Myron Pryor.
- Non-football injury list: OL Mike Berry, OL Marcus Cannon.
- Out: LS Matt Katula, S Josh Barrett, OT Kyle Hix, RB Eric Kettani, G Ryan Wendell.
- Returned to practice: S James Sanders, RB Shane Vereen, CB Ras-I Dowling, DE Christian Cox (signed undrafted free agent).

INJURIES

- None from the looks of it.

DRESS CODE

Full pads.

TOP OF THE NEWS

- The left side of the Patriots’ line, T Matt Light and G Logan Mankins, walked onto the field midway through to watch from the sidelines. They can’t practice until Thursday.
- Newly signed draft picks CB Ras-I Dowing (21) and RB Shane Vereen (29) were on the field for the first time. Quick physical impressions: Dowling is tall and lanky. Vereen looked a little thicker than advertised. It was hard to glean much of anything about them during practice. It was fairly nondescript as they are obviously in the learning mode right now.
- Safety James Sanders returned but didn’t take part in many competitive periods, if any.

THUMBS UP

It doesn’t bode well for future Patriots opponents that the new defensive interior of the Patriots, Vince Wilfork and Albert Haynesworth, combined to go 5-0-3 during the two one-on-one sessions. Wilfork was that star, as he was 3-0-1 and could barely be contained. Wilfork and Haynesworth continued their standout play in the “game” period where two defensive line players stunted against three on the offensive line. All of the defensive line dominated that drill. Wilfork shoved Corey Woods to the ground at one point. That leads us into…

THUMBS DOWN

The offensive line had a very tough day. They were dominated by the defensive line (14-7-10) in one-on-ones, and the game period was a bloody mess as the offensive line just couldn’t figure out how to sort out the stunts of the defense line. For now we’ll chalk this up to this being a talent advantage for the defense. Light and Mankins can’t get into the lineup soon enough to right the ship. Rich Ohrnberger had a long day in one-on-ones and in the game period. He also failed to pick up a blitz by Dane Fletcher in the team period.

TOP PLAYS

- Very pretty play when Tom Brady laid a perfect pass into the hands of Wes Welker going toward the sideline about 30 yards away and over CB Jonathan Wilhite. It was an indefensible pass.
- Deion Branch made a great high catch from Brady with Darius Butler all over him.
- Bill Belichick hit Brian Hoyer in the face with a blocking pad during a passing drill. Didn’t faze Hoyer that much.
- TE Carson Butler had a nice one-handed catch.

LOVE ME SOME ONE-ON-ONES

Standouts-Offense: Sebastian Vollmer (2-0-2), Dan Koppen (2-1-1). Defense: Vince Wilfork (3-0-1), Albert Haynesworth (2-0-2), Jermaine Cunningham (1-0-1), Landon Cohen (1-0-1), Marques Murrell (1-0-0).

Struggled a little-Offense: Corey Woods (0-2-0), Dan Connolly (0-2-2), Thomas Austin (1-3-0), Steve Maneri (1-3-1), Rich Ohrnberger (1-2-1). Defense: None.

Decided victories: Cunningham over LeVoir, Wright over Ohrnberger, Wilfork over Ohrnberger, Haynesworth over Austin.

ODDS AND ENDS

- While Haynesworth was strong in one-on-ones, he wasn’t as dominating as the first day. This time he went through the entire practice, and even ran sprints at the end. Following practice, several members of the defensive line worked on the finer points of the game.
- Wilfork assumed his leadership role much of the day, as he was often seen talking to players on the side between plays. Appeared to be giving them some tricks of the trade.
- Brady had an uneven practice. He threw a duck – about as bad a ball you’ll see him throw (probably slipped) – to Chad Ochocinco that was about 15 yards short. There wasn’t even a defender in the vicinity. Brady and Aaron Hernandez also weren’t on the same page on a pass that was nearly picked off the turf by Brandon Meriweather.
- Brady was 3 of 5 in the team period and it could have been better if Ochocinco didn’t stop during a scramble (again), which allowed Patrick Chung to get a hand in and break up the pass at the last second. Ochocinco is a very active receiver so far, meaning he jumps or gives extra effort on passes that don’t need it. It only stands out because guys like Branch and Welker are so economical with their efforts. There’s hardly any unneeded movement. That is sure to be a topic of conversation in the receivers meeting room with coach Chad O’Shea. Ochocinco definitely cut down on the glaring around after incomplete passes.
- Brady completed a nice slant to Hernandez against man coverage that went for a big play. Brady then hit Ochocinco on two consecutive passes – one an out, the other an in – to finish off the period.
- LB Dane Fletcher tipped a Hoyer pass.
- Austin and Cunningham each had false starts.
- RB Danny Woodhead showed some nice shake in practice. He faked Jerod Mayo pretty good before Meriweather popped him.
- CB Leigh Bodden continued to play tight coverage all over the field.
- Younger players Stevan Ridley, Marques Murrell, Markell Carter and Matthew Slater continued to get a look on the top special teams.
- Dropped it like it’s hot: WR Chad Ochocinco (contested), TE Carson Butler.
- Fumbling men: None.
- Another very large crowd, especially for a hot weekday.
- Robert Kraft and former LB Tedy Bruschi watched from the sidelines.

KICKING CORNER

Zoltan Mesko had an outstanding day overall. In a full-field punting drill, he averaged 4.23 seconds of hang time on seven kicks. He opened and closed with two poor punts (3.65, 3.83), but in the others he killed it. Mesko’s middle three kicks were 4.65, 4.69 and 4.44, with each going at least 65 yards.

He was nearly as good in the pooch period. He had a 4.22 average and not one of the six kicks went for a touchback. All were inside the 20 with three inside the 10. Matthew Slater downed one at the 2.

K Chris Koepplin had a rough go of it, missing three of his six field goals. Rob Ninkovich had a few slightly off-the-mark snaps.

SCHEDULE

- Wednesday’s practice: 6:30-9 p.m., Gillette Stadium (Closed to the public. Open to season-ticket holders only)

News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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