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Practice rundown #14

Posted by Greg A. Bedard  August 13, 2012 07:28 PM

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By Greg A. Bedard, Globe Staff

FOXBOROUGH – A rundown on what happened during practice Tuesday afternoon.

ATTENDANCE PLEASE
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).

Continued to be 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 sidelines.

DRESS CODE
Full pads.

TOP PLAYS
On second-and-goal, QB Tom Brady held the ball a while and then threw a dart to 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 but catching a beautiful seam pass from Brady over S Nate Ebner.
Brady and 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. Koppen 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: Thomas (vs. Deaderick), Bulman (vs. Cannon), Wilfork (vs. McDonald), Scott 2 (vs. Hill twice).


  • Cannon is known for his very quick feet, but he hasn’t been able to show them very much. In practice and in the game against the Saints, Cannon just has a really tough time against strength. We saw that again when veteran DL Tim 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 him is to just muscle Cannon.
  • 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 in game.
  • McDonald got his first one-on-one reps of camp and he unfortunately drew Vince Wilfork both times and had no chance.
  • Donald Thomas (2-2-0) is probably the most enthusiastic of the linemen and he had several good battles, including a near-stalemate with Bulman, but Thomas won out.
  • Jones was mediocre. He and Solder had a draw, and then Jones was pushed outside by Weems.
  • Francis and Cunningham both got reps rushing from DT.

ODDS AND ENDS

  • No Hernandez and Lloyd left the Patriots will just two TEs (converted DL Alex 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.
  • In addition to a poor one-on-one period, 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.
  • In addition to his 2-0 performance in one-on-ones, Scott had two would-be sacks during 11-on-11.
  • If 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.
  • The receivers were lucky there were no officials on the field because both Edelman and Jabar Gaffney used push-offs to have big catches.
  • Hightower showed some nice coverage skills against Stevan Ridley in one-on-ones.
  • Vereen is by far the best downfield receiver among the RBs. It’s not even close.
  • Brady was 7 of 10 in 7-on-7, and Mallet was 2 of 2. Brady threw a lofted touchdown to Welker over Arrington, and fit a ball to Vereen in a tight window with two or three defenders closing.
  • Marquice Cole keeps showing up in coverage drills. He finds a way to make plays. McCourty also had a pass breakup.

    SCHEDULE
    Tuesday: 1:30-4 p.m.
    Wednesday: 1:30-4 p.m.
    Thursday: 1:30-4 p.m.

    Rest TBD.

    Shalise Manza Young contributed to this report.

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

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