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New England Patriots Links - Weekend Update: Patriots Sign Former Jets DE Shaun Ellis

Mike Petraglia posts his Saturday practice observations, noting Aaron Hernandez and Nate solder made some big catches.

Tom Brady led the first team unit with several sharp passes to Chad Ochocinco on sideline routes while also finding tight ends Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski on several impressive pass and catch combinations.

Ochocinco, since dropping several balls on Thursday, had another impressive day of holding onto the ball, especially in heavy traffic. One of his best catches of the day came in route-running drills when he went up against Malcolm Williams and Sergio Brown and fought off both to come down with the ball on a 30-yard "Go" route.

That was followed up immediately by a nifty grab of a Brady bullet by Hernandez on a sideline out pattern. Hernandez showed outstanding hands all day.

He caught a pair of catches on fade routes in the back right corner of the end zone in red zone work before running a route on the other side, sticking out his right hand and making a one-hand grab for the TD. As they did on the Ochocinco leaping catch, the crowd approaching 10,000 exploded in cheers on the Hernandez catches.

But the loudest cheer of the day was reserved for 6-foot-8 rookie left tackle Nate Solder, and it came from his teammates. A high, spiraling punt was sent in his direction as he stood all alone on the far 15-yard line. Clearly, this was one of those situations with a reward – catch the punt and there’s a reward for your teammates. Solder settled under it and caught it cleanly, ending the practice just shy of the typical 2 1/2 hour standard this week.

Tom E. Curran offers his Saturday post-camp roundup, with WR Chad Ochocinco elevating his game.

His shining moment? Elevating between rookie corner Malcolm Williams and safety Sergio Brown to make a leaping 50-odd-yard reception on a bomb from Tom Brady. As for the drops? Didn't see one.

The best 10 minutes or so of practice were the 1-on-1 tackling drills between tight ends, running backs, wideouts and the secondary players.

Best Hit? Bret Lockett guessing right on a shimmy by Wes Welker and taking the wideout down hard. Best Truck? Undrafted rookie Will Yeatman, who goes 6-5, 268, running over 6-foot, 200-pound Matt Slater. Yeatman didn't bother to put a move on and Slater was left crumpled for a few moments before struggling up.

Worst Whiffs? Brandon Meriweather getting out-quicked and out-efforted by Julian Edelman and Stevan Ridley on back-to-back reps. Meriweather failed to even make contact on each play.

Albert Haynesworth, Matt Light, Kevin Faulk, Ron Brace, Brandon Tate, Brandon Spikes and Mike Wright were among those sitting this practice out. Aaron Hernandez had a slew of diving catches during practice.

The work of the tight ends early in camp - Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski, but also rookie Lee Smith and Yeatman - has been eye-opening.



  • Tom E. Curran reports former Jets DE Shaun Ellis will be the newest member of the Patriots, pending a physical.
  • Mike Reiss gives us his initial reaction to the Shaun Ellis pickup.
  • Monique Walker analyzes the Shaun Ellis acquisition and says its shows the Patriots are taking things seriously with its defense.
  • Christopher Price takes a closer look at Shaun Ellis and his impact.
  • Mike Reiss tells us Jets head coach Rex Ryan's reaction when asked about free-agent defensive end Shaun Ellis becoming a Patriot.
  • Mike Reiss cleans out his Patriots notebook, with observations on free-agent acquisition Mark Anderson and which players are having a nice camp.
  • Karen Guregian says Leigh Bodden and Devin McCourty make a formidable duo.
  • Jeff Howe catches up with Patriots WR Tyree Barnes, as he reflects on the Navy SEALs tragedy in Afghanistan and his own experience in the U.S. Military.
  • Ian Rapoport reports the clock is ticking for the Patriots to get up to speed, especially on the slow-starting offense.
  • Shalise Manza Young notes Brady-the-Perfectionist isn't very happy with the progress the Patriots are making so far.
  • Mark Farinella says 3rd-string rookie QB Ryan Mallett has discovered some unexpected twists and hits in his first training camp with the Patriots.
  • Matt Kalman notes the increased competition doesn't faze Julian Edelman, now in his third training camp.
  • Ian Rapoport notes DE Mark Anderson's experience with free agency was "humbling"" and he's happy to have landed in NE.
  • Mark Kalman reports Stephen Gostkowski is back into his normal routine so far in this late-starting training camp.
  • Tom E. Curran talks about Haynesworth's history of summer knee maintenance and says it's no reason to panic.
  • Matt Kalman evaluates the competition and depth at the receiver position.
  • Mike Petraglia says it's all business between Bill O'Brien and Tom Brady, with some trust thrown in.
  • Mike Reiss posts some quick-hit weekend thoughts from the Patriots and around the NFL.
  • Ian Rapoport Patriots Notebook: Sammy Morris has already become a go-to voice for the rookie RBs; It's unclear why Albert Haynesworth didn't practice Friday, but Kyle Love stepped in in his place; Kyle Arrington was excited to be back on the field finally on Thursday; Long snapper Matt Katula was back practicing yesterday allowing fill-in Rob Ninkovich to go back to playing LB.
  • Monique Walker Patriots Notebook: Stephen Gostkowski is easing back into practicing, after offseason surgery to repair a torn quadriceps in his kicking leg; Injury reports and absences; Scott O'Brien says Julian Edelman has come a long way as a receiver and punt returner.
  • Ian Rapoport catches us up on some contract details, including BenJarvus Green-Ellis' RFA tender.
  • Mike Rodak noticed the Patriots made two minor roster moves on Saturday, waiving CB Thad Turner and injured OL Kyle Hix.
  • Mark Farinella talks about the Patriots' player pipeline to Louisiana State University.