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Patriots.com News Blitz - 8/2/2012

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Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com reports that offensive lineman Nate Solder and linebacker Brandon Spikes were at the center of a major scuffle in 11-on-11 drills during Wednesday night's practice. Reiss notes that the fight began when Solder gave Spikes a "good shove" while he was still on the ground, causing many players from both sides of the ball to get involved. Spikes appeared to re-aggravate his injured knee in the fracas and left practice with a trainer, but Reiss writes that he "returned to the field and participated in parts of practice." "There was no serious injury and players afterward said it's just part of the game," added Reiss.

Mike Reiss also notes that veteran wide receiver Brandon Lloyd missed practice for the first time on Wednesday night, but adds that Lloyd's absence should not be cause for alarm. "At this point in camp, if a player like Lloyd is experiencing any type of discomfort, there is no need to push too hard," writes Reiss. Reiss notes that the coaching staff "keeps the big picture in mind when managing players" and sees that as a possible reason why offensive lineman Dan Connolly, defensive lineman Jonathan Fanene, receiver Deion Branch, defensive end Rob Ninkovich, and safety Will Allen also did not practice.

Amalie Benjamin of the Boston Globe writes that defensive end Chandler Jones hopes to silence critics concerned about his lack of strength by working hard in training camp. "Although he wasn't quite a 'project' pick, he was a pick who needed work, with an eye toward him filling the 'elephant' role that requires strength, intelligence, and quickness," writes Benjamin. While Jones still has some work to do, Benjamin notes that the rookie out of Syracuse "has looked impressive in camp" and has been a "pleasant surprise for the Patriots" thus far, especially in his performance in one-on-one drills.

Field Yates of ESPNBoston.com reports that tight end Alex Silvestro has switched jersey numbers from 69 to 49. Silvestro played primarily defensive end during the 2011 season but has worked exclusively at tight end this year in training camp, and Yates notes that the jersey change may be a sign that "his position switch is official." "Silvestro is the only Patriots tight end who was spotted on the field for every media accessible OTA as well as the five training camp practices thus far," adds Yates. The Patriots signed Silvestro in February on the night before Super Bowl XLVI.

Mark Daniels of the Boston Herald notes that Danny Woodhead has taken on the role of veteran among a young corps of running backs. Daniels writes that while Woodhead has just 189 career carries, his work ethic and versatility are invaluable in a group that features two second-year backs in Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen as well as undrafted rookie Brandon Bolden. "Though Ridley has been getting the most reps with the first team in camp, Woodhead has been breaking tackles, catching passes out of the backfield and returning kicks. Because of that, he figures to have a leg up on both Vereen and [Bolden]," writes Daniels.

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