New England Patriots Links 6/13/12 - Minicamp Turns Up The Intensity

Tom Brady leads a drill during Day 1 of minicamp.

Mike Reiss cleans out the minicamp notebook with a few quick-hit thoughts.

3. Tried to watch the rookies a little closer than normal, but even if that wasn't the plan, it would have been hard to miss defensive end Jake Bequette surging off the defensive left side in 11-on-11 work to register a "sack" in the end zone that would have been a safety. He got there quickly, which was his reputation at Arkansas. Tough to put much stock in a non-contact drill like that, but if you're a rookie, anything to get noticed helps.

4. Cornerback Kyle Arrington played a solid Super Bowl XLVI, working in the slot against Victor Cruz, and it seems like he's the first option to play that spot this season in sub packages. It will be interesting to see how the competition for the outside cornerback spot in the base defense unfolds, with Arrington and Ras-I Dowling the top candidates. I watched Dowling nicely defend and out-and-up move along the left sideline by receiver Brandon Lloyd.

5. At one point in 7 on 7 work, a group with tight end Aaron Hernandez and receivers Wes Welker, Brandon Lloyd and Deion Branch were joined by running back Shane Vereen. It's early, but a sign that bigger things are expected of Vereen this year.

7. Watched first-round draft choice Chandler Jones closely, and when he plays in a two-point stance at the end of the line, his length stands out as his presence can be disruptive to passing lanes. Can't think of another player in Bill Belichick's tenure like that.

Field Yates checks in with a handful of additional observations from the Patriots' opening day of mini-camp.

Unlike previous offseasons, the NFL has mandated that mini-camps are conducted without the use of pads. And while that may restrict the number of drills that teams can turn to during their on-field work, it doesn’t limit their ability to work on technique. It appeared as though today was a day of technical emphasis for the Patriots. During the special teams period, players worked on proper form to block a punt, while the defensive line and linebackers appeared to talk and walk through a number of methods for taking on blocks.

Bill Belichick has often highlighted a couple of tasks that are imperative for his receivers to accomplish in order to be successful, and they are getting open and catching the football. Without the pads on, it’s hard to accurately gauge a receiver’s ability to separate, but Brandon Lloyd continues to display steady hands.

Rookie cornerback Alfonzo Dennard made another pass-breakup this afternoon, dislodging a pass thrown down the sideline for Jabar Gaffney. That’s the second consecutive on-field session that he’s flashed ball skills.

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