Originally posted on 60 Max Power O  |  Last updated 7/27/12

The Patriots started their 2012 campaign today, and like every year, practice went smooth. Bill Belichick and Tom Brady are back with a better cast of characters. Gone are Chad Ochocinco Johnson and his inability to grasp the playbook and no Albert Haynesworth sightings, just good old Patriots football. It’s the first day, so we are going to save all the Hall of Fame talk for another time.

On a cool summer day that turned rather warm, the New England Patriots strolled onto the Gillette practice field and started what is hoped to be the year the Patriots get over the hump. Bill Belichick was hands on with the defense early on, while Matt Patricia sent in signals from the sideline. The defense looks much faster, especially at the linebacker position. Second year cornerback Ras-I Dowling is coming off a hip injury, but his size and length makes him a prime candidate to win the right corner slot. Sterling Moore may play a bigger role than people think. He continues to show up and make plays. He made a couple of nice break ups and seems comfortable in the Patriots defense. As expected, Dont’a Hightower moved around and played both ILB and OLB. The defense played a little more aggressive than last year, and they had their communication clearly in sync. This is a team that had a great off-season, and now they are tuning up the machine.

On the other side of the ball, Josh McDaniels ran the offense and would often walk up to Tom Brady, exchange words and laugh. However, make no mistake that play time was over after that. Brady looked sharp; he threw a good spiral and didn’t miss many throws. New Patriots wide receiver Brandon Lloyd displayed some nice moves, and setting up the corners to get open. His skinny frame allows him to dart to open spaces quickly and has good hands. Jabbar Gaffney looks to be a solid addition, beating a cover 2 for a touchdown. Wes Welker and Deion Branch both looked their usual selves and with Branch now matched up against the 3rd or 4th receiver, he can be more of a factor. Rock star Rob Gronkowski returned and looked healthy. He didn’t have any noticeable limp and he moved very well. Aaron Hernandez made some nice catches and his run after the catch ability is just sick.

It was good to see Belichick and McDaniels talk so comfortably, and there was even a Troy Brown sighting. It was much calmer than last year; rarely did a coach raise their voice that would echo to the crowds of 12,000 people.  It was the first day of a long haul, but in New England, it’s like every day…routine.

Patriots Training Camp - Day One

All photos ©2012 60 Max Power O, Precept Media Group

 

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