Insights and observations from Patriots practice

via By Nick Underhill  

FOXBOROUGH — The Patriots held their third organized team activity in front of reporters on Thursday.

The team worked out in sweats and helmets, first practicing in positional groups and then moving into 7-on-7 drills.

Offensive linemen Logan Mankins, Sebastian Vollmer and Brian Waters, linebacker Tracy White, tight end Daniel fells and wide receivers Anthony Gonzlaez and Jeremy Ebert were not present.

Tight end Rob Gronkowski, wide receiver Matthew Slater, defensive back Nate Ebner, linebacker Brandon Spikes and Myron Pyor were among those limited.

With Mankins (knee) out, Robert Gallery took his place at left guard and Ryan Wendell took the majority of Waters’ snaps at right guard. It is believed that Waters is still contemplating retirement, though he is typically late to report.

One of the standout moments during the session was the play of wide receiver Chad Ochocinco, who drew the ire of his teammates and coaches with his play. At one point Deion Branch had to direct him to the other side of the field when he lined up at the wrong spot, and he later was made to run a lap after jumping offsides.

New receiver Brandon Lloyd, Donte Stallworth and Jabar Gaffney all looked strong and appeared to have an easy rapport with quarterback Tom Brady, while Wes Welker had an uneven day and dropped a few passes.

On defense, Devin McCourty played strictly at cornerback and rookie Dont’a Hightower worked exclusively at linebacker. The rookie received a lot of attention from Jerod Mayo.

At center, Dan Connolly appeared to have the upper hand on Dan Koppen and received the majority of the snaps.

Boston Red Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis was on hand to watch the practice.

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