It was a beautiful day for a full padded practice Saturday morning that provided plenty of pleasant surprises.
- The Patriots were in full pads today and Chad Ochocinco was there in all his glory. He had a really good showing catching a lot of balls from Brady and the Patriots stable of backup quarterbacks. At one point, he easily shed off CB Jonathon Wilhite running a picture perfect route.
- Early on in the practice session, the Patriots broke up into what appeared to be simultaneous full squad scrimmages with the 'A' team Defense facing the 'B' team Offense and the 'A' team Offense facing the 'B' team Defense.
- Conspicuously absent from today's practice were G Logan Mankins and rookie T Nate Solder. Despite that, the first unit for the Patriots trotted out a pretty solid front line featuring Dan Koppen, Ryan Wendell, Dan Connolly, Mark Levoir and Sebastian Vollmer.
- TE Rob Gronkowski was a beast in practice hauling in a one handed catch through traffic, over the middle from backup QB Jonathon Crompton.
- During passing drills, Tom Brady could be heard giving some sage route running advice to none other than Chad Ochocinco. Number 85 seemed to heed Brady's words which is a good sign for the Patriots.
- Late in the practice, Devin McCourtey 'pick-sixed' Brady for his second interception of the practice. His overall performance in today's session showed why he may develop into one of the premier shut down corners in the NFL this season.
- Brown alum Buddy Farnham saw a surprising amount of action returning kickoffs during special teams drills. If you like rooting for the the small school underdogs to make the squad, a la Danny Woodhead last year, then Buddy Farnham is your guy.
- BenJarvus Green-Ellis was absent from today's practice, but for a short period the session turned into the Danny Woodhead show. Third year RB Thomas Clayton also saw a significant amount of touches on offense.
- Newly acquired Albert Haynesworth did not practice today, but he should fit in well with a solid defensive unit that featured Vince Wilfork, Leigh Bodden, Patrick Chung, Brandon Merriweather, Devin McCourtey, Jerod Mayo, Brandon Spikes, Gary Guyton, Mike Wright and Jermaine Cunningham starting on the first unit today.
- It was really nice to see Ryan Mallett get his fair share of snaps today. With his 6' 6" frame and his commanding voice calling out signals, it was a stretch to think that this future heir apparent to Brady is just a rookie. Remember, this is the kid who left Michigan for Arkansas because he wanted to play for "a real football program."
Overall, the Patriots looked very good in their practice session today and it was a good sign that a majority of the big name players actively participated. Stay tuned for more Patriots camp updates, with what has already been a very active first week of the season, who knows what tomorrow will bring.