Brandon Spikes returns to practice "with a vengeance ... making deflections, picking off passes, calling out signals with Jerod Mayo and sniffing out running plays."
Defense plays big. Patriots fans are accustomed to strong outings from their offense, but it was the defense's day on Tuesday. The secondary forced a number of turnovers, getting their hands on the ball and making good on opportunties to intercept passes. Steve Gregory, Patrick Chung and Kyle Arrington were all able to corral picks, and the defense was especially strong overall during situational work.
Play of the day. The aforementioned Chung interception came on a beautiful play in the end zone, as he rose high to snare a Tom Brady pass with one hand. Chung's ball skills continue to impress this training camp, and he looks the part of a very good all-around safety.
Extensive card work. Perhaps as a sign that the team has begun to focus some attention on its upcoming opponent, the Philadelphia Eagles, the Patriots brought out scripted card plays, which allow one side of the football to practice plays that an opponent typically runs. In the case of the Eagles, squaring off against an athletic quarterback (Michael Vick) is typically a consideration coaches make as they draw up their cards and prepare for the week ahead.
One-on-one notes. For those who did participate in one-on-ones between the offensive and defensive lines, here are some highlights: Chandler Jones put on a neat countermove against offensive tackle Nate Solder, rushing inside after initial charging upfield. ... Jermaine Cunningham burst off the edge. He is arguably the quickest defensive linemen on the Patriots' roster. ... Tough to gauge Nick McDonald's ability to consistently anchor in the middle of the line, as he had struggles against Vince Wilfork followed by more success against Marcus Forston. Wilfork routinely defeats interior linemen on his own, and Forston is a developmental undrafted rookie. McDonald's versatility and athleticism are strong points. ... Ron Brace's power can be overwhelming. Impressive stuff from a guy who needs to have a good week.
Cannon's power. Offensive tackle Marcus Cannon has had an up-and-down training camp from this vantage point, but one trait of his that continues to catch the eye is his power in short areas. When Cannon is able to engage defenders and get his hands on them, he has excellent power and pop to knock them off their center of gravity. On two occasions today we saw Cannon use such force against defenders that it almost seemed to catch them by surprise.
Jeff Howe gives us some details from the Patriots' 15th practice of camp.
Tom Brady was very sharp with the exception of a late glitch. He completed 20 of 26 passes for two touchdowns and one interception during 11-on-11 work. Two incompletions were easy drops. Two completions, including a touchdown, would have been taken away with sacks.
Odd moment late in practice, as Justin Francis appeared to kick McDonald on the ground. On the next play, Francis steamrolled Cannon for a pressure.
Safety Nate Ebner had a nice leaping interception on quarterback Ryan Mallett. Two straight days Ebner picked off Mallett, though this one had a higher degree of difficulty than yesterday’s, which hit him in the gut.
Not sure if it’s due to the return of offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, but the Patriots have run a variation of trick plays in camp.
Cornerback Sterling Moore made a pair of nice pass breakups in 1-on-1s.
- Andy Hart notes Robert Gronkowski is one of four NFL players who will appear in a new ESPN Monday Night Football campaign.
- Erik Scalavino reports Brandon Spikes had a lively practice, plus more notes from Camp.
- Andy Hart tells us the story of the day continues to be the injury report, and the fact that Matt Patricia was wearing gray socks pulled all the way up to his knees.
- Andy Hart tackles the Ask PFW mailbag: In full preseason swing!
- Patriots Training Camp quotes from Tuesday.
- Press Conference: Nick Caserio (13.58 min. video).
- Patriots Today - Is Urban's legend growing? (1.48 min. video)
- Patriots Today - Good day for running backs. (2.41 min. video)
- Locker Room Uncut - Catching up with the players. (2.01 min. video)
- Player Interviews: Steve Gregory (4.09 min.), Dont'a Hightower (2.09 min.), Kyle Arrington (2.26 min.) and Brandon Spikes (2.12 min.)
- PFW In Progress - The PFW crew break down the latest Training Camp news. (2 hour program)
- Training Camp-Cast - The PFW crew breaks down all the Training Camp action from Tuesday. (14.05 min. program)
- Greg A. Bedard takes a look at yesterday's practice: The secondary wins the day while the offensive line really struggles.
- Mike Petraglia tells us 10 things we learned Tuesday at camp. Stevan Ridley fumbled the ball, but had plenty of clean reps after on the 1st-team hurry-up.
- Tom E. Curran sends us another Postcard from Camp: Day 20. Who's hot? Shane Vereen. Very smooth... looked fast and comfortable.
- Mike Reiss wraps up the key storylines from Day 20.
- Karen Guregian believes the Patriots need Devin McCourty on his own island this season, but it's too early to suggest he's back to his Pro Bowler form.
- Mike Petraglia talks with Brandon Spikes on his approach after missing four practices: "Be a shark, it's shark week, you know."
- Tom E. Curran thinks the Patriots took a chance waiving Dane Fletcher, that his very specific role with NE may not have as much relevance around the league as it does here.
- Dan Duggan reports Dan Koppen is fighting for his job this year more than ever.
- Mike Petraglia notes Chandler Jones says he's a different player than Jason Pierre-Paul.
- Julian Benbow talks with Alex Silvestro about being on the razor's edge of roster decisions, his experience joining the team last year and his relentless work ethic..
- Dan Duggan says Justin Francis has ramped up his energy in training camp, and he appreciates Nick Caserio's positive comments about his versatility and high motor.
- Mike Reiss looks at the intriguing possibility of former University of Florida and track star Jeff Demps as a returner for the Patriots.
- Christopher Price wonders if the next Patriots QB is already on the roster.
- Mike Reiss answers his weekly reader mailbag: O-line still a concern.
- Jeff Howe notes Nick Caserio shoots down reports of free agent Chad Clifton coming to Foxborough for a physical.
- Shalise Manza Young Patriots Notebook: DBs impress in practice; Brandon Spikes feels like he's getting better, learning the differences of the defense; Dont'a Hightower has taken snaps at all three LB spots and embaces the challenge; Dane Fletcher cleared waivers and has been placed on IR for the season.
- Josh Alper (ProFootballTalk) Tom Brady isn't bothered by replacement officials.
- Ian Rapoport (NFL.com) Olympian Jeff Demps hopes to play in the NFL in 2012.
- EA Sports (easports.com) Madden NFL 13 Ratings Reveal: Top 10 overall receivers.
- Rich Cimini (ESPNNY) Jets safeties promise to play rough: Bell, Landry will bring old-school, physical approach to opposing tight ends.
- Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) Jets safeties plan to get physical with tight ends.
- Greg Rosenthal (NFL.com) Areas of concern for all 32 NFL teams.
- Don Banks (SI) Who won, lost in preseason Week 1.
- Peter King (SI) MMQB Tuesday Edition: Don't rush to judgment with just one week of preseason down; Mail.
- Marc Sessler (NFL.com) Awards: Preseason Week 1 edition.
- Ben Volin (Palm Beach Post) Hard Knocks recap: Chad Johnson didn't know the Miami Dolphins offense, either.
- James Walker (ESPN) Dolphins 'Hard Knocks' report: Episode two.
- Kevin Kelly (Cincinnati Enquirer) With top RBs out, Bengals' backups can man up. Green-Ellis out Thursday with foot injury.
- AP Report (ESPN) Bucs' Underwood learned hard lessons while with NE.
- Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) NFL in-game communications go digital, finally.