Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com believes that Patriots RB Shane Vereen has "closed the gap" on Stevan Ridley for the top running back spot. Reiss writes, "A few weeks ago I would have said Ridley in the top spot, taking the majority of snaps (similar to Green-Ellis with a team-high 34 percent in 2011). But I think Vereen has closed the gap. Don't think they have the answers right now. More competition to be played out but I think they'll both be up over the 25 percent playtime numbers."
Michael Whitmer of The Boston Globe writes that Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski does not appear to be limited in practice after missing time earlier in the week. Gronkowski, who appears to be happy with his progress, addressed the media on Thursday after practice. He stated that, physically, he feels improvement from the begining of camp to this point. "It's just great going out, competing against everyone," said Gronkowski. "Going out there every single day, you get the speed of the game down more, you get the chemistry down with the quarterbacks more." Gronkowski had two catches for 20 yards in the preseason opener versus the Saints and will look to build on that performance on Monday night at Gillette Stadium.
Jeff Howe of The Boston Herald writes that Patriots RB Stevan Ridley appeared to suffer a right knee injury during Thursday's practice. "At this point, there's no indication of the severity or how long he'll be out, but it could be a fortuitous sign that he watched the remainder of practice from the sideline before walking to the locker room under his own power," reports Howe. He adds that this could be an opportunity for Shane Vereen, Danny Woodhead, Brandon Bolden and others in the Patriots backfield if Ridley misses time with the injury.
CSNNE.com reports that Chandler Jones continutes to impress during camp. When asked about the rookie defensive end, Patriots LB Jerod Mayo resonded: "That's our closer." According to Tom E. Curran of CSNNE, Jones "is way farther along" than the Patriots had hoped, and that the entire defense has made progress from last season.