I had the pleasure of attending the Patriots’ training camp earlier today and it was packed. There barely a place to sit or stand, which is stark contrast to the last time I was at camp and attendance was lite. The Pats were in full pads and began with some special teams work followed by positional drills. One highlight drill was when the tight ends and running backs worked pass patterns against linebackers with Ryan Mallet at QB. Albert Haynesworth wasn’t spotted in pads, and I couldn’t find him on the sidelines either. Here are some observations from camp:
- Here’s the complete list of players who didn’t suit up for practice today: Albert Haynesworth, Shane Vereen, Mike Wright, Brandon Spikes, Ryan Wendell, Kevin Faulk, Eric Kettani, Marcus Cannon, Matt Light, Ras-I Dowling, James Sanders, Ron Brace, Myron Pryor, Josh Barrett, Brandon Deaderick, Kyle Hix
- Julian Edelman looked good returning punts, a role he flourished in last season. Taylor Price also got some work returning punts. He bobbled a couple but looked good overall.
- In the backs/tight ends vs. linebackers pass drill, Rob Gronkowski really shined, as he did all practice. Rob Ninkovich was burned badly by Gronk and by a couple of their players, and it seemed about halfway through the drill or so he was “banished” to go work with the defensive linemen. Ninkovich has played end on a four-man line.
- Speaking of the four-man line, the defense continued to line up with four-man fronts. It certainly looks to be the way the defense is heading, thought they did do some three-man fronts today as well.
- The wide receivers drew a lot of fanfare while going through their individual drills, drawing cheers with every catch and “Aww’s” with every drop. Chad Ochocinco had only one drop, bouncing back from a tough practice yesterday.
- There was a new player on the field for the Pats wearing #95, and that was newly-signed DE Mark Anderson. He did participate some but he did a lot of watching in his first practice.
- Rookie LT Nate Solder lined up with the first unit and looked good. He did get beat a few times but for his first week of practice he looks every bit the part of a first-round pick. Matt Light may not make it back to the starting lineup if Solder continues to improve.