Kicker Stephen Gostkowski, left, cools off next to long snapper Jake Ingram. (AP)
FOXBOROUGH – The Patriots concluded their morning practice (9:30) on the 19th day of training camp and were once again in full pads.
Here are a few observations from the session:
1) Le Kevin Smith takes the field … then is traded off it. Walking in to today’s practice, those in attendance saw Le Kevin Smith in full pads, standing with his teammates, before he was escorted down the stairway to the locker room. At first, it was thought that perhaps Smith was a victim of the heat. It was later learned that he had been traded to the Broncos. It is always interesting to hear/see how trades go down behind the scenes and this was a case where the deal must have been finalized this morning based on Smith’s presence at the start of practice.
2) Not all four-man line. One of the hot topics of camp has been the Patriots’ usage of the four-man line, as they played it almost exclusively in the preseason opener. The Patriots, who have been a base 3-4 defense in recent years, got away from the four-man line at times in this practice.
3) Jerod Mayo/Gary Guyton chemistry. Through the first 19 days of training camp, it’s been interesting to watch how second-year players Jerod Mayo and Gary Guyton have developed a bond, both on and off the field. This morning was a practice where that 1-2 punch came to the forefront on the field as they spent some considerable time together in 11 on 11 work.
4) Heat challenges players. For the second day in a row, the heat challenged the players to remain focused. One noticeable change was that there wasn’t as much jogging and running between drills. When the horn sounded to signal the end of a certain part of practice, the players either broke for water, or walked to the next part of practice. Logan Mankins, who was carted off the field yesterday, was back at practice. Afterwards, he joked: "I'm alive and well."
5) Terrence Nunn dazzles on long pass. It might have been out of bounds, but regardless, rookie wide receiver Terrence Nunn turned in the best catch that I’ve seen to this point in training camp. It came in 11 on 11 drills, with Nunn sprinting down the left sideline, with Leigh Bodden in coverage and safety James Sanders providing help. Quarterback Brian Hoyer lofted a beautiful pass and Nunn went into a full-out dive to catch it right before it hit the ground. Regardless of whether it was out of bounds, the catch showed tremendous concentration and athletic ability.