New England Patriots Links - Weekend Update: Patriots Sign Former Jets DE Shaun Ellis

Mike Petraglia posts his Saturday practice observations, noting Aaron Hernandez and Nate solder made some big catches.

Tom Brady led the first team unit with several sharp passes to Chad Ochocinco on sideline routes while also finding tight ends Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski on several impressive pass and catch combinations.

Ochocinco, since dropping several balls on Thursday, had another impressive day of holding onto the ball, especially in heavy traffic. One of his best catches of the day came in route-running drills when he went up against Malcolm Williams and Sergio Brown and fought off both to come down with the ball on a 30-yard "Go" route.

That was followed up immediately by a nifty grab of a Brady bullet by Hernandez on a sideline out pattern. Hernandez showed outstanding hands all day.

He caught a pair of catches on fade routes in the back right corner of the end zone in red zone work before running a route on the other side, sticking out his right hand and making a one-hand grab for the TD. As they did on the Ochocinco leaping catch, the crowd approaching 10,000 exploded in cheers on the Hernandez catches.

But the loudest cheer of the day was reserved for 6-foot-8 rookie left tackle Nate Solder, and it came from his teammates. A high, spiraling punt was sent in his direction as he stood all alone on the far 15-yard line. Clearly, this was one of those situations with a reward – catch the punt and there’s a reward for your teammates. Solder settled under it and caught it cleanly, ending the practice just shy of the typical 2 1/2 hour standard this week.

Tom E. Curran offers his Saturday post-camp roundup, with WR Chad Ochocinco elevating his game.

His shining moment? Elevating between rookie corner Malcolm Williams and safety Sergio Brown to make a leaping 50-odd-yard reception on a bomb from Tom Brady. As for the drops? Didn't see one.

The best 10 minutes or so of practice were the 1-on-1 tackling drills between tight ends, running backs, wideouts and the secondary players.

Best Hit? Bret Lockett guessing right on a shimmy by Wes Welker and taking the wideout down hard. Best Truck? Undrafted rookie Will Yeatman, who goes 6-5, 268, running over 6-foot, 200-pound Matt Slater. Yeatman didn't bother to put a move on and Slater was left crumpled for a few moments before struggling up.

Worst Whiffs? Brandon Meriweather getting out-quicked and out-efforted by Julian Edelman and Stevan Ridley on back-to-back reps. Meriweather failed to even make contact on each play.

Albert Haynesworth, Matt Light, Kevin Faulk, Ron Brace, Brandon Tate, Brandon Spikes and Mike Wright were among those sitting this practice out. Aaron Hernandez had a slew of diving catches during practice.

The work of the tight ends early in camp - Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski, but also rookie Lee Smith and Yeatman - has been eye-opening.




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