* We’ll start today’s “Coordinator Watch” with quarterbacks coach Bill O’Brien, who was fired up early on during some teaching in the passing skeleton. His rookie tight ends had some trouble figuring where to line up, and O’Brien lit in to them pretty good, pulling them off the field for a couple plays to drive the message home. There’s no question that O’Brien is in command of that offense, and his style is a bit Parcellsian. On the other side of the ball, Matt Patricia was, again, signaling plays in from the sideline during 7-on-7s and, at the very least, is being broken into a leadership role. One interesting note here is that during those 7-on-7s, Bill Belichick stood behind the offense, and not the defense, indicating some level of autonomy given to Patricia. As of late, Belichick seems to be taking more of the “head coach” role he has in the past, rather than concentrating on one side of the ball or the other.
* Since contact is not allowed until training camp, it’s hard to do a whole of running-game stuff, but the Patriots did walk through some goal-line drills near the end of practice. The coaches, of course, have to install this stuff now, even if they can’t do it at full speed.
* Nick Kaczur continues to be running as the team’s left guard, in Logan Mankins’ place, though Dan Connolly is getting reps rotationally in the interior. When the team went to goal-line looks, Connolly was the fullback, a role he played last year. Reserve LB Thomas Williams also played some fullback there, as he has recently.
* Darius Butler was back with the first team at left corner, with rookie Devin McCourty running with the reserves, after getting starter reps yesterday. The coaches also used Jonathan Wilhite on the outside, as they did yesterday, when McCourty got some run at slot corner.
* Patrick Chung seems to be evolving into the type of “Swiss Army Knife” defensive back he was at Oregon, lining up all over the field. At times, he’d stay on the field when the first and second groups were switching, so it’s clear the coaches are trying to throw as much at him as possible. It’ll be interesting seeing how he’s employed in the fall.
* Brandon Tate’s another one who’s getting every opportunity in the world to prove himself. He’s playing a lot with Brady’s group, and Brady seemed pretty happy with the kid’s performance at points of practice. During two-minute work, with the offense deep into the red zone, Brady threw to Tate, running a comeback by the pylon, into a tight window. Tate caught it for the touchdown with seven seconds showing. Seems like trust is growing there.
* Matthew Slater may be on the roster bubble, but he’s not going down without a fight. He was impressive today too, and made a nice diving catch near the goal during red-zone work.
* Interesting to see George Bussey getting some first-team reps at left tackle during team drills at the end of practice, and also to see Brian Hoyer getting to run some with the starters at that point too.
… And we’ll be back with some more over the course of the afternoon. And again tomorrow, too, to wrap up minicamp.