Greg A. Bedard points to five things to watch against the Saints Thursday night.
1. ROOKIES: All eyes will be on the top three Patriots draft picks on defense: right end Chandler Jones, strong-side linebacker Dont’a Hightower, and safety Tavon Wilson. All three should get plenty of action, with Jones and Hightower starting and Wilson mixing in with the dime package to thwart tight ends. Jones will get a lot of good experience against Saints left tackle Jermon Bushrod.
2. LINE DANCE: The Patriots offensive line got whupped by the Saints in Tuesday’s practice. Time to see how well New England learns and makes corrections. Keep an eye on Nate Solder and Marcus Cannon. The second-year players have struggled of late.
3. SPECIAL TEAMS: The biggest clue as to which bubble players are in a good position to win roster spots comes from special teams. Expect Sergio Brown, Nate Ebner, and Niko Koutouvides to be out there trying to show they can stand out from the rest.
4. CORNERING THE MARKET: The Patriots are not going to have a Super season unless their cornerbacks show great improvement. A lot of eyes will be on Devin McCourty and Ras-I Dowling, who started last season. They need to be competitive, make plays on the ball, and play with the correct technique.
5. STUDY UP: Third-string quarterback Ryan Mallett did not inspire a lot of confidence last preseason, but with an offseason under his belt, there aren’t any excuses. Mallett needs to play with a quick tempo and get rid of the ball in rhythm with the offense. No holding the ball.
- The New England Patriots announced the signing of rookie free agent OL Kyle Hill.
- Paul Perillo shares his notes from Wednesday's practice, noting the O-line continues to be a revolving door.
- Andy Hart notes the shirts-and-shells practice was a bit less intense yesterday than on Tuesday. Matt Patricia continues to dress like he lives in a cardboard box.
- Patriots Today - Keep an eye on these four. (2.56 min. video)
- Patriots Today - Wrapping up the joint practices. (1.58 min. video)
- Patriots Today - Aaron Hernandez on deck. (1.55 min. video)
- Patriots Today - Brees and Brady connect. (1.51 min. video)
- Locker Room Uncut - Ridley, Hoyer and more. (2.27 min. video)
- Player Interviews: Stevan Ridley (3.12 min.), Aaron Hernandez (3.43 min.) and Dan Connolly (4.02 min.)
- Training Camp-Cast - The PFW crew recaps Wednesday's joint practice with the Saints. (9.57 min. program)
- Jeff Howe gives us his five things to watch throughout the action tonight.
- Christopher Price tells us who we should watch for tonight against the Saints. 'Whoever is returning kicks for the Patriots' is near the top.
- Mike Petraglia tells us ten things we learned Wednesday at Pats training camp. Rookies Dont’a Hightower and Chandler Jones continue to get a lot of work with the first team.
- Mike Reiss wraps up the key storylines from Day 14 of Training Camp.
- Jeff Howe details Wednesday's morning session. Pats and Saints practiced lots of situational work in the kicking game.
- Tom E. Curran sends another Postcard from Camp: Both teams did a lot of situational work in the morning.
- Greg A. Bedard gives us a rundown of what went on between the Patriots and Saints in yesterday's light joint practice.
- Mike Petraglia notes that Aaron Hernandez appreciates the new NFL practice rules. "It's saving me."
- Zuri Berry gives us an inside look at Aaron Hernandez's training regimen. Way cool.
- Steve Silva finds that Aaron Hernandez approaches the game differently than Gronk and Graham.
- Tom E. Curran talks tight ends, and the immense talent that has been on the field the past two days.
- Jeff Howe talks up the quickness and shiftiness of Shane Vereen, and what makes it difficult for the defense to get their hands on him.
- Julian Benbow reports Patriots tackle Kyle Love is a highly motivated man.
- Phil Perry sees New England's O-linemen needing to study more and working hard to be versatile.
- Greg A. Bedard believes people should stop freaking out about the O-line.
- Mike Reiss, Mike Rodak and Field Yates post Version 2.0 of their dueling 53-man roster projection for the Patriots.
- Julian Benbow notes the last time Ben Grubbs was in Gillette Stadium was in January when Sterling Moore's hand broke up what would have been a game-winning TD pass to Lee Evans.
- Christopher Price notes the Patriots-Saints game will be officiated by replacement refs.
- Shalise Manza Young & Julian Benbow Patriots Notebook: Tom Brady & Drew Brees pass the compliments back and forth; Saints guard Ben Grubbs has bad memories of Gillette Stadium; Jimmy Graham says he's the best TE on the field; Saints defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo singled out Hernandez as a particular problem; Pats signed UDFA OL Kyle Hill (Duke).
- James Walker (ESPN) Notes from Patriots-Saints practice.
- Kerry J. Byrne (Cold Hard Football Facts) Clash of the 5,000-yard quarterbacks.
- Kevin Fishbain (Pro Football Weekly) Vereen's receiving skills mesh well with Patriots' offense.
- James Walker (ESPN) Stevan Ridley: 'Ball can't be on the ground.'
- Jason Cole (Yahoo! Sports) Patriots well-versed in dealing with aftermath of scandal that awaits Saints.
- Gregg Rosenthal (NFL.com) Defensive power rankings: Texans, Niners elite. Patriots in the "Not sold" category.
- it's all about basic schemes to start. (Nat'l Football Post) In the NFL preseason,
- Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) NFL prohibits any gambling by officials.
- Mike Pereira (Fox Sports) NFL making wrong call on this one.