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New England Patriots Links 8/05/09 - Chris Baker, Tight Ends are Undersold Story of Camp

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<em>LB Adalius Thomas tackles RB Sammy Morris during a.m. practice at Gillette Stadium.  8/04/09</em>
LB Adalius Thomas tackles RB Sammy Morris during a.m. practice at Gillette Stadium. 8/04/09

Mike Reiss sums up his feelings through the first five days of training camp.

I think the Patriots’ potential for offensive explosion is impressive. I think the tight ends, and their versatility and diversity of skills, is one of the undersold stories of camp so far. I think they will add a lot to this offense, starting with Chris Baker.

A few months ago, I raised the point that perhaps they missed an opportunity to trade up the board -- with all their ammunition -- and land an impact player like Malcolm Jenkins (No. 14, Saints). Instead, they traded back and accumulated four second-round picks.  When I watch practices, it seems to me that they’ve hit on all four second-rounders.

It’s early, but one final thought is that I’ve got to hand it to the Patriots for their draft maneuverings.

On the flip side, the depth at linebacker has to be a concern. I’m curious to see how Bill Belichick and Co. address that area, because I’d be surprised if there weren’t changes before the season.

Mike Petraglia comments on the noteworthy versatility of T Sebastion Vollmer.

"Sebastian looks like a very flexible player," Belichick said this week. "He played mostly left tackle in college at Houston and when he went to the All Star games he played right tackle. We’ve worked him on both sides. In the spring workouts, he worked out at both sides and looked equally comfortable. So I would say from a technique standpoint and from a talent standpoint, it’s rare that you have guys that are big enough and physical enough, which you need to play on the right side, that are then athletic enough and can handle some of the pass rushers that are over there on the left side."

Christopher Price recaps his favorite drill to watch, the one-on-ones.

There were more of my favorite drills — the one-on-ones — relatively early in the practice session. Some of the highlights from that included Ray Ventrone delivering a great hit on Terrence Wheatley, which caused a fumble; Laurence Maroney absolutely blowing past Jerod Mayo with ease; Fred Taylor putting a terrific juke on Vinny Ciurciu (and later in the same drill, Gary Guyton); Tank Williams tackling down Dave Thomas; and Darius Butler absolutely blowing past Eric Alexander.


BenJarvus Green-Ellis drags a defender during a one-on-one drill Tuesday morning.

In what has become a daily activity, the team conducted a one-on-one tackling drill and Ray Ventrone made a huge play, making a perfect form tackle on Wheatley while also knocking the ball loose from the second-year corner and recovering the fumble. Taylor was also impressive in the drill, twice skating through untouched – first breaking Vinny Ciurciu’s ankles with a little shake-and-bake and then doing the same to Gary Guyton.