After a scheduled day off on Wednesday due to new CBA rules, the New England Patriots returned to the practice field on Wednesday afternoon for a full-pads session. Here are some notes on what took place from around the web:
1. One player we haven't talked about a lot in this space is defensive end Marcus Bernard. An under-the-radar signing, Bernard proved in 2010 that he can be a pass rushing force and has the potential to help the Patriots as a situational player in 2013. Nick Underhill of Masslive.com writes that Bernard stood out in one-on-one's today, including a "decisive victory" over Chris McDonald. He's still got a ways to go to earn a roster spot, but he's definitely someone to keep an eye on going forward.
2. The Patriots' top draft choice, linebacker Jaime Collins, has had a very impressive start to camp and looks to contribute immediately, and perhaps in a significant way. ESPN Boston's Field Yates notes that Collins showed up big today, coming up with two strips of the football.
3. The Patriots had an injury scare today, as oft-injured cornerback Ras-I Dowling went down with an undisclosed leg injury, according to multiple reports. If Dowling is going to make the team, let alone contribute, he has to stay on the field. Through two full years in the league, he has yet to do this. Hopefully today's injury was a minor tweak and not a setback.
4. Ben Volin of the Boston Herald talks about the play of quarterback Tim Tebow, who showcased improved accuracy in 7 on 7s. Volin writes that Tebow ran a few read option plays, but postulates that it could be to help the defense prepare for what they will inevitably see this year (a lot of teams around the league are experimenting with it).
5. As for an attendance report, the Patriots got a big boost today with the return of receiver Julian Edelman, as we previously noted here. In addition, today's practice also saw the return of Aaron Dobson as well as rookie defensive lineman Cory Grissom who also started camp on PUP. I would mark down Grissom as a player to watch in the coming days. Marcus Cannon missed today's practice, being replaced by Tyronne Green in the line-up.