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Patriots.com News Blitz - 8/15/12

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Greg A. Bedard of the Boston Globe reports that linebacker Dane Fletcher cleared waivers on Tuesday afternoon and will remain with the Patriots on the team's injured reserve list. Fletcher was placed on waivers Monday along with wide receiver Britt Davis after he tore his ACL in the first quarter of Thursday's preseason opener against the New Orleans Saints. Other NFL clubs had until late Tuesday afternoon to claim Fletcher, but no deals were reached. "He can remain with the team and won't count against the roster limit of 90 players," writes Bedard.

Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com reports that offensive lineman Logan Mankins was in full pads for the first time this season during Tuesday's practice, although he did not participate in one-on-one drills or team sessions. Reiss writes that the Patriots are "taking it slow" with Mankins. Reiss also notes that tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez were held out of practice for the second straight day along with wide receiver Brandon Lloyd. Gronkowski and Lloyd were spotted on the field before practice, while Hernandez was not seen at all. Reiss adds that "it doesn't appear to be anything serious" holding back the three players.

An article from the Associated Press reports that expectations are high in New England for veteran safety Steve Gregory. The article states that Gregory "has started alongside safety Patrick Chung since the beginning of training camp, developing a rapport along the way, and has impressed coaches ever since his arrival." Gregory came into the league as an undrafted free agent in 2006 and spent six seasons with the San Diego Chargers before joining the Patriots this year. "He's done a nice job to this point," adds director of player personnel Nick Caserio. "He's been here since Day 1 of the offseason. And so far, so good."

Shalise Manza Young of the Boston Globe writes that the Patriots secondary had a big day in practice on Tuesday, recording four interceptions in 7-on-7 and team drills. "Given that they're often working against Tom Brady, that kind of performance can only bolster a largely young group that is working to get on the same page," notes Young. Young observed that safeties Steve Gregory and Patrick Chung each had an interception on quarterback Tom Brady, while Josh Barrett intercepted Brian Hoyer and Nate Ebner picked off Ryan Mallett.

Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald writes that the Patriots will be relying on cornerback Devin McCourty to have a productive season after a disappointing campaign in 2011. Guregian observes that there have been "glimpses of the guy who produced nine turnovers his rookie season" but adds that it is still "way too early to suggest the old McCourty is back." Guregian believes that McCourty will be helped this season by a "stronger set of safeties" in Steve Gregory and Patrick Chung and an "effective pass rush."

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