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New England Patriots Links 8/09/11 - Shaun Ellis: Patriots "Made Me Feel Like a Weapon"

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Shaun Ellis was asked if it was that easy to flip the switch ... to go from green to blue.

Guys change teams all the time. I've just been fortunate enough to play 11 years with the Jets. I had a great time, a great experience. It's just one of those things when it's time to move on, you have to move on. I've found a new home here and guys have welcomed me in. I was kind of a little hesitant at first, a little weird feelings, but once I got in here they made me feel like a weapon. Is it easy? Yeah it is.

Mike Rodak offers his observations from practice 13 Monday.

Skies open up. [Tell me about it!]  About an hour into practice, heavy rain started to fall on the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium. The team practiced through it and did not move into the Dana Farber Fieldhouse. The conditions quickly became a factor, with quarterback Tom Brady and center Dan Koppen botching their first wet snap exchange of a 9-on-7 session. Both players ran a lap, as did quarterback Brian Hoyer and center Chris Morris later during the rainstorm. Meanwhile, Brady did not have his best day of camp, under- or over-throwing a number of his targets while also being intercepted by safety Sergio Brown during 11-on-11 work.

Red zone work in focus. The red zone was a big focus of the later part of practice on Monday. The defense made two impressive goal line stands, with defensive tackle Vince Wilfork stopping running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis short of the goal line, followed by linebacker Jerod Mayo stuffing Green-Ellis at the line. Wide receiver Chad Ochocinco made an impressive sideline grab in the end zone, but it didn't appear as if he got both feet down in bounds. Tight end Will Yeatman and wide receivers Julian Edelman and Tyree Barnes also made touchdown grabs during the drill.

Christopher Price gives us a rundown of Monday's afternoon practice.

Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski seemed to be laboring through much of the first part of the session, and at roughly the halfway point after one drill, he went to one knee and called for a trainer. He walked to the sidelines under his own power — quarterback Tom Brady checked on him — and then walked off the field. He was not limping or flexing any muscles, so it could be heat-related. Something that bears watching over the next few days. In addition, late in the practice session, right guard Dan Connolly appeared to be getting his right elbow or forearm examined at the end of a drill — also worth keeping an eye on going forward.

The conditions put the players under some level of stress they haven’t faced through the first two weeks or so of camp. As a result, it wasn’t the sharpest session of the summer: There were a handful of missteps, including a botched snap between Brady and center Dan Koppen in the rain that left them running a lap. (Backups Brian Hoyer and Chris Morris had to do the same later in the session, and offensive lineman Nate Solder and Mark LeVoir also had to run penalty laps.)

It was a sluggish day for the offensive line. Not sure if that was because of the heat, the constant rotation of new defensive linemen or the fact that the Patriots are a little thin at the spot — Wendell, Cannon and Light were all out — but they struggled through a good portion of the session. That extended to the rest of the offense as well, as there were several missed connections between Brady and pass catchers, with the quarterback delivering low passes to several players, including Chad Ochocinco, Tyree Barnes and Darnell Jenkins. (Jenkins and Ochocinco both made nice sliding grabs.) Brady was picked by safety Sergio Brown on a short ball meant for Barnes, while a Brady pass for Lee Smith was knocked down by linebacker Jerod Mayo.



  • Steve Buckley thinks Bill Belichick secretly is enjoying this mad, late-summer dash to slap together a team that will be game-ready by Week 1.
  • Greg A. Bedard gives us the rundown on practice #13. The struggles of the offense are revived as the defensive front is active.
  • Greg A. Bedard talks about the injuries that occurred during Monday's practice, including Rob Gronkowski.
  • Karen Guregian notices that Ochocinco appears cured of his earlier case of the dropsies.
  • A. Sherrod Blakely tells us what he took from Monday's practice: Ochocinco's learning curve is still evident, but he's starting to catch on.
  • Mike Reiss cleans out his Patriots notebook before the start of camp on Monday.
  • Shalise Manza Young profiles the new big defenders brought in by Belichick & co, and looks at what roles they are expected to play.
  • Mike Reiss resets the D-Line roster (again) and wonders just how many linemen the Patriots can keep. The first cutdown date is Aug. 30th to 75 players.
  • Tom E. Curran thinks the Patriots aren't necessarily going away totally from their 3-4 roots. They will switch and mix and match.
  • Mike Reiss feels the Patriots current roster, loaded with 21 D-Linemen, opens up a number of possibilities for Belichick to evaluate.
  • Greg A. Bedard resets the roster as it stands late Monday night. Nice graphic.
  • Karen Guregian says it seems as if Belichick is throwing as many D-Linemen into the mix as he can, to see if he can squeeze out a pass rush by game day.
  • Mike Reiss reports former Jets coach Eric Mangini says adding Shaun Ellis is a 'really good signing' for the Patriots.
  • Ian Rapoport notes Shaun Ellis was nervous before entering the locker room of the team he had spent a decade "furiously hating."
  • Shalise Manza Young reports Shaun Ellis is recovering from a hip problem and has been placed on the PUP list for now.
  • Ian Rapoport tells us not to worry about Shaun Ellis being placed on PUP. It's a procedural move.
  • Christopher Price says the Patriots are keeping it simple with Andre Carter.
  • Karen Guregian talks about what Andre Carter's role on the defense will be.
  • Jeff Howe reports Dan Connolly has "higher expectations" in 2011, and is ready to assume his role at right guard.
  • Gethin Coolbaugh notes that Gary Guyton doesn't care what the scheme is, he is ready for a big season with the Patriots.
  • Tom E. Curran focuses on fringe player Eric Moore, who made plays for the Patriots after being signed off the street last December.
  • Jeff Howe picks up on Bill Belichick's high praise of Taylor Price and sees it as an indication of more playing time for him this year.
  • Mike Reiss offers a few soundbites from Bill Belichick's press conference where he talks about the new linemen.
  • Monique Walker highlights Bill Belichick addressing defensive changes and his philosophy during his Monday presser.
  • Jeff Howe and Shalise Manza Young talk about how Belichick isn't neglecting any aspect of game preparation as they the preseason opener nears. (1.15 min. video)
  • Ian Rapoport posts his video of the day: Meet Patriots rookies Ryan Mallett, Lee Smith and Markell Carter. (1.40 min. video)
  • Monique Walker Patriots Notebook: Shaun Ellis made a smooth transition from the Jets to the Patriots; Dan Connolly is expecting a lot more from himself this year; Plus injury updates.
  • Ian Rapoport Patriots Notebook: Andre Carter remembers the pre-draft meeting with Bill Belichick back in 2001; Dan Connolly is a returning starter for the first time in his career and he's trying to make it stick; Gerard Warren is another big DL addition to the monsters already at camp; Taylor Price gets praise from Belichick, who said "everything" is better about him this season.