A few storylines/practice notes to pass along from today's OTA session, which was available to the media. Unfortunately, we can not be at the practices, so we are passing along aggregated material from beat writers around the area. A tip of the cap to Mike Reiss, Shalise Manza Young, and Ian Rapoport for their reports on today's practice.
- Defensive lineman Ron Brace appears to be a significant part of the team's plans moving forward. At practice, Brace lined up at starting left defensive end with Warren out (although finally back in town after finishing his college degree). This is a positive sign for Brace, who seemed to be stuck in Bill Belichick's "rookie doghouse" most of last season. I wouldn't be surprised to see him become a big part of the Patriots' defensive line rotation, playing some nose and end in the 3-4, as well as defensive tackle in four man fronts.
- The team really seemed to focus on kickoff returns today. It looks like Devin McCourty, Darius Butler, Brandon Tate, Matthew Slater, Kevin Faulk, and Julian Edelman will all compete for reps there. I'm really looking forward to seeing what Brandon Tate can do in this area once training camp beings.
- Patrick Chung continues to play with the first team over James Sanders. I imagine it will continue that way, even when Brandon McGowan comes back.
- Wes Welker continued to practice, still a positive sign, although that story has been beat to death.
- 2nd year offensive tackle Sebastian Vollmer slid over to the left side with both Matt Light and Nick Kaczur not at practice. Looks like the Patriots are still evaluating Vollmer as a left and right tackle. On a side note, I wonder if the Patriots will experiment with different tackle packages during the regular season. For example, against speed rushers like Dwight Freeney, they could give Matt Light the week off, while starting Nick Kaczur on the right side.
- Brandon Tate seems to be progressing nicely, getting in some work with the first team offense, and not looking all too out of place.
- On defense, Leigh Bodden had a minor leg injury, nothing to be worried about from all indications. Gary Guyton continues to line up with the 1st team next to Jerod Mayo. It also seems like Tyrone McKenzie