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Notes from Patriots training camp 7/30/2016: Rookie Joe Thuney looks like a stud in the first padded practice

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The Patriots continue their training camp with their first padded practice!

The New England Patriots had their first padded practice and it allowed the trench players to make their first statements of the season. Offensive and defensive linemen collided in one-on-one drills and helped with the rushing attack.

The team also experienced its first wave of injuries, but hopefully none are very serious.

Attendance

Running back Dion Lewis (knee), safety Nate Ebner (Olympics), defensive tackle Alan Branch (hip) were not in attendance.

Running back Brandon Bolden was not in practice for an unknown reason. Rookie wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell did not practice either, but came on the field after the team activities were over.

Rookie defensive tackle Vincent Valentine was not in attendance as he attended the funeral of his teammate from the University of Nebraska.

Injuries

Right guard Jonathan Cooper was carted off the field with a foot injury during a walkthrough, which isn’t a good sign. Cooper was acquired this offseason and was the favorite to be a starter. He has plantar fasciitis, per Ian Rapoport, which could be related to this injury.

Interestingly enough, rookie 6th round pick Ted Karras took over for Cooper instead of Shaq Mason or Josh Kline. Mason and Kline are not participating in team drills and could compete once they have worked their way back from their injuries.

Center Bryan Stork left practice early, as did rookie running back D.J. Foster. It is unknown if they suffered any injury.

Defensive tackle Anthony Johnson was carted off the field at the end of practice.

While wide receiver Julian Edelman did not practice, he played catch with Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo after practice.

Offense

Center Bryan Stork didn’t finish practice and that opened the door for back-up David Andrews to see more snaps with the top unit. Andrews won an offseason conditioning award and he’s neck-and-neck with Stork in the competition. While Stork has battled injuries during his time with the team, Andrews has always been available and that could give the Andrews the ultimate edge.

Running back Donald Brown was leading the positional group in drills as LeGarrette Blount fumbled and had to run a lap. Fullback James Develin received universal praise for his run blocking.

Rookie Joe Thuney stood out in one-on-ones, per CSNNE’s Phil Perry. He held his own against defensive tackles Malcom Brown and Frank Kearse, and edge defender Trey Flowers.

Wide receiver Chris Hogan continues to make big plays and is really acclimating to the offense. Aaron Dobson continues to make standout plays of his own and participated in Brady Fun Time with Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett, when the rest of the team was going through special teams drills.

Defense

Edge defenders Rob Ninkovich and Shea McClellin split their time with linebackers and pass rushers. Ninkovich was playing as the 3rd linebacker in full team drills, per ProJo’s Mark Daniels. Dont’a Hightower worked with the edge rushers for a few sets, too.

Edge defender Jabaal Sheard “shined more than any defensive player,” according to the Herald’s Jeff Howe. Sheard had his way with right tackle Marcus Cannon on multiple occasions.

Defensive tackle Markus Kuhn continues to work with Malcom Brown as the top unit. Terrance Knighton is the next player on, while Alan Branch is unable to practice. Brown has looked really good in his second season.

Defensive back Vinnie Sunseri intercepted Jacoby Brissett. Jonathan Jones and Cre’Von LeBlanc defended passes.

Special Teams

Rookie Cyrus Jones continues to serve as the team’s leading punt returner, along with DeAndre Carter and V’Angelo Bentley.