Potential sidekicks to Devin McCourty in the defensive backfield…
PATRIOTS NEWSWIRE: Day Five of Training Camp
Swanson Returns After Father’s Death (NESN)
Cornerback Daxton Swanson reunited with teammates for training camp after taking two days off to mourn the death of his father, Henry Swanson. Swanson’s father passed away on July 18th from a stroke. The ceremony was held in Palestine, Texas over the weekend.
The second year cornerback was happy to be back on the field on Tuesday.
“I pretty much got everything off my mind. I tried to come back with a clear mind,” Swanson explained after camp. “It felt good to get back out here with my teammates and get back on the field.”
The Sam Houston State graduate came into the league as an undrafted free agent last year playing for both the Colts and 49ers practice squad before being placed on injured reserve. Swanson has done well in the offseason, picking off rookie QB Garoppolo in last week’s practice as well as defeating wide receiver Kenbrell Thompkins in one-on-one drills during Tuesday’s camp.
With Brandon Browner’s four game suspension, Swanson could make this year’s roster but will have to beat out fellow cornerbacks Malcolm Butler, Justin Green and Jemea Thomas who are also looking to take the coveted fifth roster spot among safeties.
Dennard Back to Practice (CSSNE)
After missing OTAs and Spring mini-camp, cornerback Alfonzo Dennard has been taken off the team’s PUP list. Dennard attended Tuesday’s training camp, practicing in full pads with fellow teammates. Dennard suffered a left shoulder injury during last year’s December game against the Browns and had to undergo surgery during the offseason.
While he attended the summer’s fifth training camp practice, Dennard did not fully participate on Tuesday, mostly working on individual drills while sitting out 11-on-11 and 7-on-7 activites. He joined Aaron Dobson, Dominique Easley and Matthew Slater for rehabilitation during the team’s first week of training camp.
When healthy, Dennard adds depth to the team’s secondary cornerback talent which includes Darelle Revis, Brandon Browner, Logan Ryan and Kyle Arrington.
“We all know Zo’s a good player. I’m just worried about him being healthy,” said teammate Duron Harmon. “He's a good player, man. Anytime you get a good player back, it's good.”
Edelman Shines in Tuesday’s Practice (boston.com)
Last year’s top receiver Julian Edelman proved that he’s bringing the same competitive spirit this season, impressing fans with an exciting day of practice on Tuesday. He started the day off by breaking away from cornerback Darrelle Revis for a grab in the back end zone. His next notable catch came as a one-handed grab over Kyle Arrington in the back corner end zone.
Edelman followed up with an effortless catch against Logan Ryan during a deep corner route during 11-on-11 drills.
The sixth year receiver finished the 2013 season with 105 receptions for 1,056 yards averaging 10 yards a carry.
Jones Could Be a Surprise Lock for Roster Spot (Boston Globe)
Rookie tight end Justin Jones is practicing well enough to be a likely roster addition for next season with only Gronkowski and Michael Hoomanawanui as locks for tight end spots. The East Carolina product could be a huge target down field measuring in at 6-foot-8 and 275 pounds.
After a less than stellar college career, Jones is taking every opportunity to excel in the NFL learning as much as possible from his new teammates.
“It’s a great opportunity man. I couldn't have asked for a much better place to be at. I’m excited to learn from one of the greats,” the 22-year-old tight end gushed. “Gronk has been someone I’ve watched since high school. Even during his career at Arizona, he’s someone I tried to model my game after. You can watch as much film as you want, but nothing beats seeing it in person. He’s real physical at the top of his routes. That’s something both Gronk and I have to our advantage — we’re a lot bigger than a lot of people.”
During his time with East Carolina, Jones only caught 52 passes in three years mostly due to injury and academic ineligibility, however, he shined during both the Atlanta and Detroit regional combines where the Patriots took notice.
The tight end has become excellent at being able to advantageously use his own body. Jones also played as his high school basketball team’s star center averaging 2.8 blocks shots and 13.6 rebounds per game.
Ridley Bringing Leadership in the Offseason (Providence Journal)
Fourth-year running back Steven Ridley has become a leader for rookie players during the Patriots offseason practices. Ridley, who is in his contract year, is taking his new role among teammates with pride.
“For me, going on year four, it’s about time I step in there and if the team calls on me and wants me to take that leadership role, that’s what I’m going to do. It’s kind of strange going from being one of the youngest guys in the room to one of the oldest, but time does that to you,” Ridley explained. “I realize that, that there are some guys in there that are looking up to me so I have to do my job to stay on my toes and be their leader at all times — even when the coaches aren’t around. Still have fun, but just be a leader and show these guys the right way to do things.”
Even though he is only 25 years old, Ridley and Shane Vereen are now the eldest running backs in New England for the first time since his 2011 debut. The running back was able to learn his newest position from BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Kevin Faulk, Danny Woodhead, Leon Washington and LeGarrette Blount who have all since left the team.