Five notes from the fifth day of New England Patriots Training Camp:
1. Brandon Spikes Sees Increased Workload
While he's been able to at least find his way onto the practice field, Patriots third-year linebacker Brandon Spikes hasn't been able to do a whole lot outside team drills. But on Tuesday, Spikes spent the entire practice on the field, with his fellow teammates. Though on limited reps, he looked explosive on several different plays (breaking up a pass here and there). He played alongside Jerod Mayo and Dont'a Hightower on the first-team at linebacker.
2. Chandler Jones, Nate Solder Bringing Out The Best Of Each Other
With Rob Ninkovich still out of commission, first-round selection Chandler Jones received the majority of the first team reps at right defensive end. During one-on-one action, Jones lined up against the Patriots' 2011 first round draft pick Nate Solder. Jones got the best of Solder here, blowing right past him for a "sack". Solder redeemed himself though during 11-on-11's.
3. Receiver-Cornerback One-On-Ones Begin
Throughout camp, we've seen members of the defensive and offensive lines going at it. But on Tuesday, Bill Belichick ran one-on-one drills with the corners and receivers. For the most part, both sides shined during this drill. Devin McCourty and Ras-I Dowling both had the challenge of covering Brandon Lloyd, while Kyle Arrington got matched up with Wes Welker a ton in the slot.
4. Offensive Line Showing Some Life
Though they've been the most critiqued group of Patriots thus far in camp, the offensive line had a strong showing on Tuesday. Donald Thomas was described as having a "fantastic" day as the team's left guard, while Dan Connolly--who was the right guard today--also had a solid outing. Ryan Wendell received more reps at center today, with Dan Koppen getting the majority of the snaps. Marcus Cannon also had one of his better days at camp.
5. Jermaine Cunningham Continues To Shine Bright
After turning in a fairly productive rookie season, Patriots defensive end/outside linebacker Jermaine Cunningham was somewhat of a forgotten man in New England last season. He hardly found his way on the field last season. But according to many, Cunningham has worked hard, and continues to be a "player to watch" in many peoples eyes. Certainly a good thing to hear from a player some people thought to be a lost cause.