Checking out Patriots Practice No. 4


The Patriots just finished up another full pads session out on the Gillette Stadium practice fields, and here’s what we have …

* WR Darnell Jenkins, WR Matthew Slater, DB Bret Lockett, RB Thomas Clayton, OLB Derrick Burgess, OG Logan Mankins, DL Kyle Love, OL Nick Kaczur, WR Wes Welker, DE Ty Warren and NT Ron Brace were those not spotted at practice this afternoon. Kaczur was injured in the morning session, left that practice early, and was replaced by Dan Connolly at left guard this afternoon.

* Rookie CB Devin McCourty worked in quite a bit on the left side with the first team during today’s drills, platooning with Darius Butler and Leigh Bodden. Bodden also saw time on the left and Butler on the right, which flip-flops where they normally line up and is a way of building in depth.

* The always entertaining pass-pro drill matching inside linebackers and backs went off in early in practice, and like he always seems to, Kevin Faulk impressed by consistently squaring up and stymieing defenders much bigger than him. Fred Taylor and Sammy Morris both struggled a little in that area.

* Brandon Tate made another crowd-pop-inducing home-run catch down the sideline, following one in the morning, but Taylor Price continues to be the young receiver who jumps off the page for me. He’s consistent catching the ball away from his body, looks fluid in routes, and is always in control. Doing it in practice is a big difference from doing it in a game for a rookie receiver, but this kid’s potential is obvious.

* Another rookie getting first-team reps during team work was second-round pick Jermaine Cunningham. He looked quick off the edge, but because of the coach’s quick whistle, it can be tough to evaluate a pass-rusher in some of these practices.

* The defense, in general today, looked like it got the better of the offense. The youth is showing in aggression, enthusiasm and competitiveness. I think that’s the idea of this camp anyway, and the players seem to be playing into it. You can see there’s more speed on the field now.

* For those wondering about focus out here … Through four practices, details seem to be important. There’s been a lot of special teams work, and situational drills, particularly with the red-zone offense and defense. The offense is in the shotgun less than I can remember in the past. And when the base defensive personnel is on the field, this team is still almost always in the 3-4 … If anyone was wondering.


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