We're now one full week into 2014 Patriots training camp, with seven practices in the books – the last five having been in full pads. New England is also on a great weather streak, as yet another gorgeous summer day made for ideal practice conditions behind Gillette Stadium Thursday.
Of note from Practice #7:
…The Patriots had some good news on the health front, as WR/spec Matthew Slater suited up for the first time this summer. He's now off PUP. LB Chris White and WR Josh Boyce also were back after missing Wednesday's session.
…WR Aaron Dobson (foot, PUP) and rookie DL Dominique Easley (NFI/knee) rehabbed on the field once again in shorts and t-shirts. There was no sign once more, however, of TE Michael Hoomanawanui, rookie LBs Deontae Skinner (NFI) and Cameron Gordon (unknown), rookie OL Bryan Stork and Chris Martin (NFI), rookie WR Jeremy Gallon (PUP), rookie DB Jemea Thomas (unknown).
…Before practice started, rookie QB Jimmy Garoppolo was one of the first players to arrive on the field. He was working on holding placekicks, taking snaps from rookie LS Tyler Ott.
…A day after they had several heated exchanges in 1-on-1 drills, WR Kenbrell Thompkins and CB Brandon Browner squared off again, only this time after their reps, they slapped hands and patted one another on the back in a conscious show of sportsmanship.
…Former Patriots RB Kevin Faulk made an on-field appearance, watching the proceedings from the sideline at first. Later, during running back drills, he was seen given pointers to the backs, as noted by Patriots Today's Jackie Brittain.
…QB Tom Brady, TE Rob Gronkowski, and CB Darrelle Revis continue to work exclusively with one another when the team breaks for special teams period. Revis is going about three-quarter speed and mostly allowing Gronk to catch the passes thrown his way, which appears to be the point of the exercise. Gronk has not been taking part in full team 11-on-11 work at all so far this summer. These brief periods constitute his most extensive game-like activity of the day.
…Second-year corner Logan Ryan saw some reps at safety, for the second day in a row. Cornerback Kyle Arrington also was given some opportunities back there, something we've not seen before.
…During 11-on-11 team period, rookie RB James White made a nice run through a hole in the o-line and darted downfield, as he slowed up, Revis came flying in from behind and tried to punch the ball away. White held on, but the force of Revis' effort knocked the rookie to the ground.
...Next play, backup QB Ryan Mallett fired a laser pass down the left sideline to RB Shane Vereen. Vereen had gotten a good couple of steps ahead of the defender, but needed to leap and extend his arms fully to make the grab. He landed and continued in stride for the end zone, much to the delight of the capacity crowd who saw the play right in front of them. It was that kind of pass that Vereen had difficulty securing last season on several occasions.
…Later in 11-on-11, with the offense operating from inside its own 5-yard line, Brady dropped back to pass and fired over the middle in the direction of Thompkins, who was coming across the middle. Brady didn't see Revis, though, who was right in the line of the throw around the 10-yard line. Revis juggled the ball a couple times after it hit his hands hard, but spun around and was able to make the catch as he cradled the ball and waltzed into the end zone for the pick-six. The entire defense ran over to celebrate with Revis and then taunted Brady a bit when they got back into the huddle.
…When they turned the units around and the O was heading toward the goal line from inside the defense's 10, RB Stevan Ridley was stuffed in the backfield by a combination of Rob Ninkovich and Vince Wilfork. Again, the defense hooted and hollered, finishing with a "Hell no, we won't go!" chant.
…When the second group of offense and defense came on the field, the last play was a sweet play-action pass from Ryan Mallett to rookie TE Justin Jones, who had to jump near the end line. Two defenders delivered a shot to his midsection, but Jones still held on and kept both feet in bounds for the score.
…Punt team was today's special teams focus. Patrick Chung saw considerable action as the personal protector for punter Ryan Allen, a role Chung played in his initial stint with the Patriots.