The former are a little nicer to look at, which is why I’ll follow the trend of putting up pictures of them. Here’s what the latter did out there today in shorts and shoulder pads …
* Before we get to the serious stuff, gotta point this one out. At one point during team drills, Tom Brady and three of his linemen staged a race behind the action, running from one sideline to the other. It was neck-and-neck early, but Stephen Neal pulled away late, with Brady second and Matt Light and Dan Koppen giving chase. Suffice it to say, Neal was pretty happy with himself.
* Among those not spotted at practice were WR Julian Edelman, S Bret Lockett, G Logan Mankins, and OT Nick Kaczur. WR Darnell Jenkins, LB Eric Alexander, TE Aaron Hernandez and LB Jermaine Cunningham were there, but didn’t practice. And OT Mark LeVoir returned to practice after missing Monday.
* Rookie TE Rob Gronkowski looks dominant, or as dominant as you can in practice, and was particularly impressive in scoring touchdown after touchdown in red zone drills. He got separation a couple times in the back of the end zone, and on another play, bodied up Jerod Mayo, slipped a little push-off in there, and went up for a Tom Brady bullet by the goal post.
* There was a lot of rotation, personnel-wise, out there. But what I found interesting in particular was S James Sanders getting a lot of action with the first defense. Sanders was paired with Patrick Chung for a pretty extended period in there, before Brandon Meriweather came in to spell him.
* The team also seems to be easing Gary Guyton and Leigh Bodden back into the lineup. Darius Butler and Devin McCourty were the first right and left corners, respectively, with Butler kicking inside in the limited time Bodden joined them on the field. Guyton, meanwhile, worked behind Brandon Spikes and Mayo. Probably no big deal, with guys coming off nicks.
* Newcomer Quinn Ojinnaka saw time at both guard and tackle again with the reserve. These practices being in shorts, it’s tough to make any judgment on him now.
* The defense hacked the coaches off during late 11-on-11s, prompting collective laps around the field on consecutive plays. Missed the reason for the first one, but I believe second one was a substitution issue — With 10 players out there before the snap.