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New England Patriots Links - Friday After Practice Edition

Ian Rapoport tells us what happened at Friday's full-pads practice.

– There weren’t as many noticeable drops today, a sign that the receivers were concentrating better. Chad Ochocinco had an improved performance, for instance. And Julian Edelman and Wes Welker continued to impress, while Taylor Price made one sick catch on a throw behind him.

– TE Rob Gronkowski is a beast. Ask Gary Guyton or Dane Fletcher about that. Gronk crushed both with nasty blocks in drills. Considering how stellar he’s looked catching the ball, he could be primed for a huge year.

– There is always talk about Jerod Mayo expanding his role to include some blitzing and he clearly has the skills. During a blitz pickup drill, he straight ran over Danny Woodhead, driving him into the passer. Nice.

– The bucket drill continued to confound the QBs, who usually drop back and throw it long distance in the bucket with no problem. Not this year. They have all, even Tom Brady, struggled with accuracy issues, and the fact that the only person to get it in the bucket was departed Jonathan Crompton says a lot. They got to improve.

– OT Nate Solder doesn’t know what he’s doing, but physically he looks very stout. On one rep, he lined up across from Mark Anderson, dealt with his initial burst by keeping his hands on him, then moved his feet to keep a cut-back at bay. Very nice. On another play, he got steamrolled. A work in progress. Another random player who has looked strong is Maneri. Big jump from last year.

– Things got intense in a late goal line drill, with Love stuffing one runner, but Stevan Ridley out-ran everyone for a TD. The nicest play came when Brady hit Ochocinco in traffic to beat Devin McCourty for seven. The D is still bringing it, though.

Mike Reiss recaps Friday afternoon's practice.  Here's one point:

Receivers recover after rough Thursday. After a Thursday practice filled with dropped passes, the Patriots offense recovered somewhat on Friday. Wide receiver Chad Ochocinco, who dropped nearly a half-dozen balls thrown his way on Thursday, had one drop early in practice but also snagged a bullet from quarterback Tom Brady in the back of the end zone during red zone work, despite tight coverage from cornerback Devin McCourty. The offense still had its moments though, with quarterback Brian Hoyer and center Rich Ohrnberger sent on two laps after a botched snap exchange, while rookie tight end Lee Smith drew the ire of head coach Bill Belichick and was sent on a lap after committing a false start during red zone work. Running back Sammy Morris acted as the goal line fullback during the red zone drill, a possible role for a veteran trying to stick in a crowded backfield.