FOXBORO -- A few final thoughts from Patriots rookie minicamp practices:
Repetition builds reputation. In terms of structure, the second practice of the day looked a lot like the first. While some of the drills were altered slightly, the do-it-all-over-again nature of the second practice seemed to reflect what this camp is all about: basics, fundamentals, and players starting at the ground level as they hope to work their way toward becoming NFL players. By the middle point of the second practice, it seemed like some players were dragging.
A glimpse at what could make tight end Rob Gronkowski's presence unique. When a player is 6-foot-6 and 265 pounds, it's a bit unusual to see him running down the middle of the field as a legitimate threat in the passing game. His home is supposed to be closer to the line of scrimmage. But in both practices Friday, it was hard to miss Gronkowski streaking down the middle of the field with what looked like some pretty good speed. There is a long way to go toward the regular season, and the 20-year-old Gronkowski was one of the youngest prospects in the draft, but this will be an element in the offense that could be fun to watch. One statistic of note from Gronkowski's career at Arizona is that 50 percent of his receptions went for 10 yards or more.
Bill Belichick and the big men. Although the Patriots didn't draft any offensive or defensive linemen until the sixth and seventh round, they certainly aren't being overlooked in this minicamp. In both practices, head coach Bill Belichick spent significant time watching the players as they were broken down with their position coaches -- Dante Scarnecchia for the offensive linemen and Pepper Johnson for the defensive linemen. Since players aren't in pads, it seemed like Belichick was focusing on the players' footwork and hand placement techniques, a topic that was explored in a longer piece on ESPNBoston.com.