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Talkin' Patriots; Day 4 blogservations

New England's jawing heats up in training camp practice.

NFL athletes can be some of the most competitive men on the planet.

You don't soar to the heights of football success without a competitive core.

And sometimes that competitive spirit manifests itself in on-field chatter between players, or even coaches.

Check out our favorite photos from day four of Patriots Training Camp at Gillette Stadium on Sunday, August 2, 2015.

That was the case Sunday morning on the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium during the fourth day of New England training camp practice, the second straight session in full pads.

It was true as Malcolm Butler went at it with Julian Edelman and, later, Tom Brady.

It was also true as Brady had plenty to say to Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia during a goal line drill.

The first verbal spat came in a short series of plays in the far red zone midway through the two-plus hour session. Butler broke up a crossing pattern from Brady intended for Edelman and clearly told the receiver all about it.


A couple snaps later Butler missed a diving attempt at a pass defense and after Edelman caught the ball he placed it down on the diving defensive back on the ground in the end zone. Brady them came over yelling with the receiver and got into Butler's face as well.

It all seemed in good, competitive fun.

Brady got loud again near the end of the workout when the Jimmy Garoppolo-led offense punched the ball into the end zone in the goal line drill. From behind the huddle Brady screamed and celebrated in the direction of Patricia who was on the line of scrimmage at the sideline. The coach looked at Brady and may have said something in return, but seemed to take his medicine.

But when Brady got excited again a couple plays later after a questionable goal line run, Patricia indicated that the runner's knee was down short of the score. Brady seemed to indicate that they would find out for sure when the watched film later that night.

Regardless, it was good, loud competition. It's what football is all about, especially in the summer heat. As long as it doesn't cross the line it's makes for good energetic, passionate work and long-term team chemistry.

Beyond the barking, here are one man's quiet blogservations of another sunny, hot training camp practice in Foxborough:


--In case you missed it, the team released Justin Green, Derek Cox and A.J. Lynch late on Saturday. Green missed that day's practice, while Cox jogged off early in the session and Lynch limped off a bit later. No corresponding roster moves have yet been announced.

--Tyler Gaffney and Kevin Hughes were not on the field for the Sunday morning workout. The running back took a big hit on Saturday, but did finish that practice. Hughes had walked off with a trainer and did not finish the day's workout.

--The PUPers still not taking part in practice include Matthew Slater, Brandon LaFell, Dane Fletcher, Chris White, Ryan Wendell, Vince Taylor and Chris Jones. Players on NFI still not practicing include Matt Flynn, Caylin Hauptmann and Alan Branch.

--Flynn did some work on the step machine early on, but then spent the bulk of the day standing with the other quarterbacks and Josh McDaniels watching the practice action, more so than in previous days.

--Branch and Taylor were on the field for stretching.

--Wendell and Slater also watched much of the practice.

--Early in practice Brian Tyms, Travaris Cadet and Brandon King worked on a punt block drill with special teams coach Joe Judge. Slater stood watching on the sideline.

--"Free Tom Brady" chants broke out in the large crowd at various times early in the practice. Similar t-shirts have been a constant seen on fans throughout the first four days of practice action.

--The quarterbacks continue to work a lot on pocket mobility in early practice work, with bags being thrown at their feet and hitting them as they tried to keep their feet moving in traffic.

--The offensive line did a strange stretch/drill in which they walk, bend their knee all the way to the ground and dragged their back leg behind them as they continued forward and alternated feet. It bears some similarity to Tedy Bruschi's old touchdown celebration.

--A lot of defensive backs have been doing pushups after dropped passes in various drills this summer. Either their hands will get better or their chests are going to be huge.

--As he does every summer, Director of Player Personnel Nick Caserio took some reps as a scout quarterback. Caserio was a star passer at Division III John Carroll University.

--Early in group practice work Jonas Gray took a handoff in 11-on-11 action and ran over Tyms, who appeared to be serving as look defensive player at the time.

--Cadet's work on punt block comes after plenty of action as a gunner, as the newcomer looks to create a "the more you can do" role for himself on his new team.

--Jordan Richards struggled in coverage in the drill that pits two receivers against three defensive backs in the red zone. He was beaten first by Aaron Dobson and then by Josh Boyce.

--Veteran Tarell Brown had a nice pass defense in the drill, shooting out one hand to break up a play. Brown got his hands on the ball a couple times in the practice and has looked pretty solid in his first couple workouts after signing with the Patriots late in the process.

--Jerod Mayo continues to ride a stationary bike between the practice fields at times, often during a special teams segment. That said, the veteran linebacker had a very active day at practice. He was banging around against the run, including run blitzes. He does not seem to be limited physically in any way at this point. Mayo appears to be full bore, at least he was on Sunday.

--Dont'a Hightower and rookie Xzavier Dickson continue to wear red, non-contact jerseys. The two also ran conditioning work together on the far field during some team drills.

--For the second straight day James Develin had a big block on James Morris during the interior line running drill also known as 9-on-7. In the same drill Malcom Brown shed his blocker and made the tackle on a Gray run.

Brandon Gibson.

--Brandon Gibson had been solid to open camp, but the veteran newcomer had a number of drops on Sunday.

--Just a random observation, but Duron Harmon looks thicker in his upper body, especially his shoulders.

--Defensive lineman Joe Vellano left the field with a member of the training staff and returned to Gillette Stadium. He did not return to practice. It was the second straight day a No. 72 left the field early, as Hughes did a day earlier.

--Punt return was the focus of the special teams segment. Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola and Tarell Brown were back deep returning. Brown was a newcomer to the role. The veteran has never returned a punt or a kick in the NFL, although he was a returner in college at Texas.

--During the punt return work Logan Ryan, Tavon Wilson, Robert McClain, Daxton Swanson, Darryl Roberts, Harmon, Butler and Devin McCourty worked as vice guys blocking the scout team gunners.

--Dekoda Watson got in on a punt block (that was probably scripted) during the punt return work. The veteran blocked a pair of punts in 2012 as a member of the Bucs.

--During the punt return work Garoppolo got his usual extra reps reading coverages with coaches acting as opposing defensive backs.

--At the same time Brady did his usual group work with Rob Gronkowski, Scott Chandler and Aaron Dobson.

--The Patriots have been using an on-field digital play clock. Interestingly the clock is often set to 20 seconds. In game action, coming out of a stoppage the play clock is set to 25 seconds. Could be Bill Belichick's way to put even more timely pressure on his offense to get to the line and get to it.

--Once again the linebackers in 7-on-7 were Mayo, Jamie Collins and Hightower.

--Tom Brady hit Aaron Dobson for a deep ball down the right sideline "beating" Butler. Butler actually had tight coverage on the play, which was as much about his failure to come up with the pass defense/interception (he did admit the sun was in his eyes) than what Dobson did. Dobson has shown a knack in his early career, though, for coming down with contested balls in traffic.

--For the first time this summer loud music was played during portions of practice to force the offense to work on its communication. Early songs included "Welcome to the Jungle" and "Boys of Fall." Two very different forms of noise.

--The second group of offensive linemen included Jordan Devey at left tackle, Chris Barker at left guard, David Andrews at center, Josh Kline at right guard and Cameron Fleming at right tackle. This came a day after Barker actually worked at left tackle and Devey at right guard. Kline has also worked at center.

--There was once again a lot of work on the running game throughout the practice not just in interior drills or the goal line.

--Trey Flowers looked a little shaken up after he took a block from both Jake Bequette and Develin on one play in 11-on-11.

--Danny Amendola lost his helmet serving as a runner in a one-on-one breakoff tackling drill. The receiver coolly walked over to his lid, kicked it up in the air and grabbed it to smoothly play it off while still holding the ball in one hand.

--Gronkowski beat Wilson badly in a one-on-one drill and got open down the field. Unfortunately Garoppolo greatly underthrew the ball that actually hit the tight end in the back of his lower leg.

--Garoppolo actually struggled in a lot of his throws on the day, often behind or short of his target.

--Chandler had a bad drop crossing on a ball that was thrown slightly low to the big tight end.

--Dominque Easley had to take a penalty lap at one point in one-on-ones.

--Bequette had a ball zip right through his hands on one pass pattern, looking every bit the converted defensive end on at least that play.

--Patrick Chung had a tough day in one-on-one coverage, especially with Gronkowski.

--Roberts appeared to be close to a pass interference call on a deep ball by Brady intended for Tyms that was underthrown. A bit later the rookie corner had a clear PI call in coverage deep on Boyce.

--Saturday Sebastian Vollmer took reps at right tackle in pre-practice team action. Today, Vollmer took his usual spot in post-practice action after watching much of the workout. Interestingly, Nate Solder sat out the action with Marcus Cannon working at left tackle.

--Those players chatting with the media after practice included Dobson, Butler, Brandon Bolden Gronkowski and others.

--The schedule for Monday and Tuesday of training camp has not yet been announced. Be sure to check for the latest practice dates and times as they become available.

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