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Return of the Pats; Patriots Practice 10 blogservations

New England returned to the field with a new group of healthy faces.

Bill Belichick's Patriots returned to the practice field's behind Gillette Stadium Monday afternoon following the team's day off.

But a handful of players returned from more than just a single day away, as a number of New England's long list of injury absentees returned to the field.

Two days after starting Saturday's practice with 23 players out of action, New England was "only" missing 17 guys to start practice early Monday afternoon under bright sunny skies and mild temperatures.

Defensive lineman Alan Branch made his summer debut, coming off NFI and suiting up in full pads to take reps on the afternoon.

Julian Edelman was in full pads to open the workout, but then left the field and did some conditioning on the Revs practice field. The receiver did not take part in group or team drills after doing positional work with the receivers early on.

Rookie defensive tackle Malcom Brown returned after missing a couple workouts to an unknown issue.

Though they were not a full go for the workout and did not dress in full pads like the bulk of their teammates, Dion Lewis, Eric Martin and Darius Fleming wore helmets and took part in some heavy conditioning work on the Revs field and the far hill.

Wide receiver Brian Tyms was on the field less than a week after being carted off with what looked like a pretty severe upper-body injury. Tyms did wear a red, non-contact jersey for the Monday afternoon session, but seemed to otherwise take full reps on offense.

Matthew Slater was removed from PUP and on the field in full pads, though the special teams captain also wore a red, non-contact jersey. He took part in some group special teams work but did not appear to be a full go at this point in camp.

While the number of absentees was cut to open the workout, one key player went to the locker room early when left tackle Nate Solder walked off seemingly gingerly by himself early in the session and retreated to the locker room. He did not return.

Still, Monday was about a number of Patriots getting healthier as the full team returned rejuvenated from a day off with a pretty spirited if not always fundamentally clean workout.

Check out our favorite photos from Patriots Training Camp on Monday, August 10 2015 at Gillette Stadium.

Beyond the health-related comings and goings, here are one man's blogservations from behind some much-needed sunglasses:

--With Slater activated the list of those on PUP is now five – Brandon LaFell, Dane Fletcher, Chris White, Ryan Wendell and Chris Jones. (Continue reading for more on White.)

With Branch activated from NFI and backup QB Matt Flynn being released earlier in the day, only Caylin Hauptman remains on that list.

Those players not taking part in the practice included Aaron Dobson, LeGarrette Blount, Tyler Gaffney, Marcus Cannon, Bryan Stork, Joe Vellano and Scott Chandler.

--Blount did some pretty hard straight-line running on the far conditioning hill at one point during the session.

--Wendell, Stork, Cannon were on the Revs practice field doing their running, at times while using an elastic resistance band tethered to their waists.

--Lewis, Fleming and Martin did their running in jerseys and helmets.

--Dont'a Hightower remains in a red jersey.

--Newly-signed quarterback Ryan Lindley was on the field in full pads wearing a red, No. 7 practice jersey. He took part fully in the practice, including chances late to run some team action and then some opportunity reps in 7-on-7. Not really fair to evaluate him being thrown to the fire. He had a few nice throws, but mostly had balls up for grabs and wasn't on the same page as his targets.

--There was a new running back on the field wearing No. 25. He had long dreads. The New England PR department had no word on who he is/was. After practice the team announced the signing of former North Carolina State runner Tony Creecy.

--The team also announced that Chris White and Mason Brodine had been cut, while Logan Stokes had re-signed at tight end.

--Joe Judge took his usual small group of special teams guys to work with early in practice. That included Brandon King, Dekoda Watson, Nate Ebner, Eric Kettani and Geneo Grissom. Clearly they are guys who have a chance to win key roles in the kicking game.

--Watson waved to a group of school-age children who cheered him on. The group wore t-shirts for Danny Amendola's Catches for Kids foundation.

--The safeties once again worked on deep drops and high pointing the ball. Duron Harmon struggled mightily with one throw and doesn't seem to track the ball well down the field in such drills.

--Watson had to run a penalty lap during 1-on-1 pass rush drills.

--With another quarterback on the field, Brady took a rest during special teams open-field tackling. He allowed Jimmy Garoppolo and Lindley to take the throws that begin ball carriers attempt to beat the tacklers.

--During the small group work on the side, Brady threw to Rob Gronkowski and Tyms.

--During kickoff return work Amendola fumbled when an arm reached out and stripped the ball as he broke through the wave of would-be tacklers.

--There was a combination of different looks among the returners. Amendola was back with James Develin at times. He was also back deep with James White.

--Former Patriots fullback and current NFL Network analyst Heath Evans was in attendance for the practice. He actually watched from between the practice fields for a while and chatted with some former teammates, including Brady.

--It was code red for the Patriots offense on a bad play early in practice. A red-clad Brady looked for a red-clad Tyms crossing underneath. The receiver never turned his head and the throw deflected off his shoulder before being picked off by Hightower, in his own red jersey.

--Veteran Tarell Brown has gotten reps with a variety of different groups. Monday he was back getting time at right corner opposite Malcolm Butler.

--Speaking of Butler, he was probably the best player on the field. He had a nice pass defense early on a Brady deep ball down the right sideline intended for Jonathan Krause. Later, he undercut a crossing throw for Josh Boyce in which he seemed to just reach out his right hand for the interception of the Brady pass. Butler has probably been the most active, consistent, productive defensive player to this point in camp.

--The offensive line has taken maybe the biggest hit with injuries. During a team segment the first group to take reps was, from left to right, Chris Barker, Shaq Mason, David Andrews, Tre Jackson and Cameron Fleming. The group has a combined zero career NFL starts, including three rookies and a second-year player in Fleming who played just five games a year ago.

--While Solder leaving early was another downer for the line, Sebastian Vollmer did take a few reps at right tackle in team action late in practice. It looked like Vollmer's first full-team, full-contact reps of the summer.

--Barker actually took reps with both groups of linemen, remaining at left tackle when others rotated out. Andrews also worked with both groups, moving to left guard when Josh Kline came on at center.

--Garoppolo had a nice touchdown to a crossing Josh Boyce to close out one red zone drill. After that rep, Bill Belchick had a long chat with safeties Devin McCourty and Jordan Richards as they moved on to the next segment of practice.

--Jerod Mayo knocked Rob Gronkowski off his feet with a pretty nice hit that seemed to stun the tight end after a reception. Don't see that too often. Mayo has had a very strong summer and seems to be flying around with no fear. He actually rushed Brady on the next snap and probably would have had the sack in a game setting.

--Mark Asper had to take a penalty lap from his right tackle spot, seemingly for a false start.

--Develin actually caught a kickoff and impressively returned it in kickoff return action.

--The defense over all definitely was the story of the practice. The unit was solid against the pass both in terms of pass rush and coverage. From interceptions and pass breakups to would-be sacks and forcing the quarterbacks to pull the ball down it was an overall impressive display.

--Zach D'Orazio took some reps as a quarterback in the practice. The first, not so unusual, as a scout team look guy for the defensive front. Later, though, he ran some read-option in group action with the offense. D'Orazio actually was a quarterback early in his college career at Akron. Certainly possible that he's the emergency guy at the position heading into the preseason opener against the Packers.

--Lindley had a nice deep ball touchdown to Krause late in practice although it looked like the young receiver may have pushed off veteran cornerback Bradley Fletcher.

--Jonas Gray looked quick and agile in the workout, the big back seemingly quicker than he looked in the spring.

--Mayo also bumped into Tyms and knocked him to the ground late in practice.

--Brady hit his own nice deep ball touchdown to Josh Boyce late in practice, beating Darryl Roberts. Boyce has had a number of productive deep balls this summer.

--There was a seemingly scripted segment of field goal blocks in which Brown, and Jabaal Sheard blocked Stephen Gostkowski's attempts. Brown's was scooped up by Butler for a would-be score. Sheard actually blocked a pair of attempts, while Patrick Chung got a piece of another.

--Develin, the only fullback on the team, did a lot of work by himself late in practice. He hit the sled, then the heavy back for a while before moving onto explosive hip work on the other sled. He certainly works as hard as anybody at his craft as a former defensive lineman who's turned into a guy Brady called the best fullback in the NFL.

--Opportunity segments are common late in training camp practices. They give young and unproven players extra reps to prove themselves. Monday it came in the form of opportunity 7-on-7 work.

--Jake Bequette didn't seem to do much if anything at all during the practice. He was dressed in full pads and held his helmet, but mostly just watched from the sideline or behind the offense.

--Brady has taken to turning his practice jersey inside out after practice when he takes his pads off and walks off the field. Not sure why. But that makes TB12 look more like TBS1.

--Krause, White and Robert McClain took punt return reps from the Jugs machine after practice. McClain has been doing a lot of special teams work. The veteran slot corner may have to prove himself in more than just inside coverage if he's going to have a key role with the team based on what he's been asked to do over the first couple weeks of camp.

--Those players talking to the media after practice included Tyms, Branch, Brandon Bolden, Slater, Amendola, Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich.

--The Patriots return to the practice fields again on Tuesday afternoon at 1:45 p.m. The session had to be closed to the public due to bad weather in the area. Be sure to check for any schedule changes.

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