By: Steve Balestrieri
The New England Patriots held their second practice of the 2012 Training Camp under sunny and very humid conditions. Early reports called for rain and/or thunderstorms that never materialized, instead baking everyone in attendance including the players.
Speaking of attendance, if yesterday was a record at over 12,150 people attending; Friday’s camp practice looked like it was even more. The place was packed and still people were pouring in with seemingly nowhere to go. Patriots Nation is excited for this team and expectations are really high.
It was nice to speak with WEEI’s Chris Price as well as the Globe’s Shalise Manza Young and Greg Bedard before practice as well as chatting a bit during. All of them are great sources of information and you should check out their columns. All are must reads for Patriots fans.
With that note, here are a few observations I got, and again they should be taken with a grain of salt since the players weren’t in full pads and there was no contact:
The rookie looked like he pulled a hamstring, he came up limping and didn’t return. He was picked on a little bit yesterday, (that should be expected as a rookie) but during one-on-one drills, I like the physicality he showed. He’s got the size to play safety or corner, so we’ll be watching to see if his injury is just a tweak or more serious.
The Secondary is shaping up-
For the second day in a row, the starting secondary has Devin McCourty and Kyle Arrington at corner, with Pat Chung and Steve Gregory at safety. When they bring in an extra DB, Ras-I Dowling is the guy at corner and Arrington is sliding over to his naturally better slot corner position.
Tom Brady Has A So-So Day-
Brady was razor sharp yesterday, looking in midseason form. Friday, he seemed to struggle a bit during the middle of practice before picking it back up at the end of the day. He connected with Brandon Lloyd on a pretty deep ball that got the crowd going. But earlier he badly underthrew a deep ball to Jabar Gaffney and on another he threw a pick to Bobby Carpenter that looked like he was going to Wes Welker but in truth that one had zero chance of being completed.
Donte’ Stallworth Finishes Strong-
Stallworth had a rough start to practice with a couple of drops during drills. But he refused to settle for it and raced back to do it again. I loved his work on the one-on-one drills and at the end of practice he hauled in a beauty of a deep ball from Ryan Mallett. He’s also doing some kick returning as well, showing the young guys how a veteran conducts himself as a pro. Whether he makes the team or not, Stallworth remains one of the good guys of the game.
Brandon Bolden…Lightning In A Bottle Twice?-
Bolden drew immediate comparisons to BenJarvus Green-Ellis when he was signed as an Ole Miss undrafted free agent running back. But he possesses more speed than Lawfirm and shows a nice burst, the offense even used him out of the backfield on a pass play. Don’t go to sleep on him….#38, check him out.
Edelman had a fine afternoon, looking very much part of the equation in the passing game and looking quick, making nice cuts on passing routes. Its early but looks like he hears the rumbles of his being on the bubble. He was arguably the best WR on Friday.
Two Final Notes-
Zoltan Mesko was booming a few punts in practice including one that Erik Frenz from Bleacher Report and I swear hung for six seconds. He also put some great directional punts down deep inside the 10 yard line. He looks excellent.
Aaron Hernandez continues to shine, the coaches are moving him around and he’s making plays. If he stays healthy this year, I see him having a monster season and getting a much bigger share of the load.
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