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New England Patriots Links 8/03/10 - It's Brady's 33rd Birthday, Give Him A Contract!

Mike Reiss offers some observations from practice 9.

Rookies get soaked. An annual training camp tradition, the team’s rookies and first-year players had to slide though a soaked portion of the far practice field, with Tom Brady and a garden hose making sure each player was completely wet before returning to practice. Last year, second-year players Tyrone McKenzie and Brandon Tate were both injured and were not on the practice field for the "event", but only McKenzie took the plunge this year. Tate successfully stayed hidden behind a group of defensive linemen. Even safeties coach Corwin Brown, in his first year as a coach with the team, got watered down.

Erik Scalavino focuses on Aaron Hernandez and the tight ends at practice.

Still in the 7-on-7 period, which was the liveliest part of the workout, Hernandez ran a nice fly route down the right sideline and nearly came down with a deep ball from Brady. Despite cornerback Kyle Arrington providing as tight a coverage as possible without committing a penalty, Hernandez jumped and spun counterclockwise to get his hands on the underthrown ball. But when Hernandez hit the ground on his back, the ball fell to the ground as well. The rookie again came up slowly from that play.

Overall, it seemed like a tough day for Hernandez. It started with his hose-down and continued when he appeared to get an earful of constructive criticism from coaches and even some veterans. He also might’ve been physically shaken up after making a couple of catches. However, toward the end of the session, Aiken offered an encouraging tap on the shoulder, and at the end of practice, Brady knelt next to Hernandez and gave him what looked like a pep talk.

Paul Perillo notes the Pats are working hard to fill several potential openings in the starting lineup on defense.

"I think all five of those guys have done good things," Belichick said. "Pierre and Rob are definitely ahead of where they were last year. Again, Rob kind of came in late and [there was] a little bit of catch up with him all year, although he did a lot of good things. But I think this year he is starting from much higher ground. Jermaine has picked up things very well. I think each day you can definitely see him getting better, more confident, understanding things that happened the day before and being able to process that, and the same thing with Marques."