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Dobson, Easley practice for first time, and other Monday camp blogservations

Posted Aug 11, 2014

Noteworthy observations from Patriots training camp.

The Patriots got some very good health news when they went out to practice on Monday. Second-year WR Aaron Dobson (left foot) and rookie defensive lineman (and 2014 first-round draft choice) Dominique Easley (right knee) suited up for the first time this summer. Dobson (PUP) and Easley (NFI) have come off their respective injury lists. Linebacker James Anderson also returned after missing Sunday’s session, though he did not appear to be very much involved in the proceedings.

On a sour note, though, backup QB Ryan Mallett (unknown) was absent altogether for the second straight day, and cornerback Brandon Browner missed his first session. It’s unclear why.

Other notable occurrences from Practice #13:

…Besides Mallett and Browner, nine other Patriots did not take part in practice. They included rookie running back Tyler Gaffney (left knee), tight end D.J. Williams (right leg), tight end Michael Hoomanawanui (leg), rookie OL Chris Martin (NFI/unknown), DL Chris Jones (left ankle) and DL Sealver Siliga (left hand). Rookie LB Cameron Gordon (unknown) and rookie WR Jeremy Gallon (PUP/unknown) were present, as usual, in shorts and t-shirts doing rehab work. Rookie OL Bryan Stork (unknown) was not seen at all, just one day after he made his first appearance since injuring himself on the fifth day of training camp.

...Safety Tavon Wilson (unknown), safety Kanorris Davis (unknown), and linebacker Ja’Gared Davis (leg) came out with their practice jerseys and helmets and rode exercise bikes early on. They mostly watched the rest of practice with their respective position groups.

…Dobson took part in the installation walk-through portion of practice before stretching, then retreated to the lower practice field to run conditioning sprints under the watchful eye of the medical staff. He rejoined his teammates later to take part in more offensive drills.

…After the team broke into offensive and defensive groups on separate fields, trainer Jim Whelan was seen walking around with a red (no-contact) jersey. He went to several positions on offense, apparently trying to give it to someone. Eventually, tight end Rob Gronkowski took the jersey from Whelan and wore it during 7-on-7 – his first team-period action of the summer. Gronk took a few reps and caught some passes, but didn’t do much more than that.

...Cornerback Alfonzo Dennard also took part in some limited 7-on-7 activity, his first such work of the summer as he returns from a shoulder injury.

…On the defensive field, rookie CB Malcom Butler changed from his blue 29 jersey into a red one just before 7-on-7, which was noteworthy because he didn’t appear to be injured during yesterday’s practice, when he took part fully.

…Safety Nate Ebner picked off Tom Brady during 7-on-7. He was in the right spot and the right time when a pass went off the hands of WR Josh Boyce. A few players later, rookie Jimmy Garoppolo fired a pass over the middle and rookie corner Jemea Thomas made a great athletic play, jumping straight up in the air about 10 yards from the line of scrimmage. He held onto the pass and returned it several more yards before the play was blown dead.

…Butler later intercepted Brady in 11-on-11 with a great athletic play. Brady pump-faked initially to the right, then scanned the field and fired to his left in the direction of Kenbrell Thompkins. Butler deftly stepped in front of the receiver, juggled the ball, but made the catch and kept both feet in bounds as he negotiated the sideline. It was the play of the day on defense.

…Offensively, Brady’s deep pass to WR Julian Edelman in 11-on-11 would have been the overall best play of Monday’s practice, had Edelman not committed an egregious offensive pass interference penalty against CB Kyle Arrington. Edelman had gotten a step behind Arrington, but felt the need to grab hold of Arrington’s jersey with his right hand. With his left arm extended, Edelman secured the pass, but if the play were in an actual game, he no doubt would have been flagged. Fun play to watch, though.

…During the open-field tackling drill, Chandler Jones took part for the first time, matching up against tight ends. Hadn’t seen him do this before, but since the Patriots have been playing more 3-4 looks on defense, with Jones at outside linebacker, this makes perfect sense. He’ll need to get used to playing in open space more if the team ends up deploying him in this fashion.

…Midway through practice, Patriots owner Robert Kraft made an appearance on the field.

…Former Rutgers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano, a long-time acquaintance of Bill Belichick, was a guest of the team, watching from the sidelines. So was Boston College head hockey coach Jerry York.

…Humorous observation at the start of practice: As players were walking onto the practice fields, the o-line came out together , which is not unusual. What was, however, was seeing rookie tackle Cameron Fleming in a Tom Brady red jersey. When the crowd noticed this and started laughing, Fleming raised his arms up in the air several times to encourage them further.

...New England wore shells for just the second time this summer, in advance of Tuesday’s visit by the Philadelphia Eagles. The two teams will practice together Tuesday and Wednesday to prepare for Friday’s second preseason game.

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