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Patriots Practice 19: Observations

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Student assistant Mike Rodak files some of his observations from Monday afternoon’s practice, the Patriots’ 19th of training camp, which was held in full pads and in warm conditions:

CB Bodden remains out; DL Wright returns. Despite being present for Friday morning’s walkthrough, and saying that the injury (reportedly his knee) which has sidelined him is not a major issue, cornerback Leigh Bodden was not on the field for the day’s full pads practice. Also not seen were safety Bret Lockett, linebacker Gary Guyton, defensive lineman Ty Warren, offensive lineman Nick Kaczur, and wide receiver Matthew Slater. Three players were in t-shirts and shorts: wide receiver Torry Holt, defensive lineman Ron Brace, and cornerback Terrence Johnson. Holt missed his first practice of training camp. Meanwhile, defensive lineman Mike Wright practiced for the first time since Day 3 of training camp.

Officials present. Four officials were on the field for Monday afternoon’s practice; they will be in town through Wednesday morning’s practice with the Saints before a separate crew arrives to work the game. The officials were not hesitant to throw flags during practice, helping coach Bill Belichick simulate in-game conditions as much as possible. There were quite a few penalties for defenders being offside.

More work for Hoyer. As was the case with the practices late last week, Brian Hoyer received most of the team’s reps at quarterback in full-team work. It would appear that Hoyer will see the majority of playing time in Thursday’s preseason game against the New Orleans Saints, which would be consistent with past years in which the No. 2 quarterback played most of the game. At one point in Friday’s practice, a Hoyer pass intended for a diving Aaron Hernandez was intercepted by cornerback Darius Butler, who has the unofficial lead in that statistic this training camp.

Hernandez fiery. During 11-on-11 drills early in practice, linebacker Thomas Williams gave tight end Aaron Hernandez a hard hit, knocking Hernandez to the ground. The rookie got up and fired the ball at Williams’ back, but there was no further confrontation between the two.

Zone defense in focus. One typical drill during training camp thus far has seen a wide receiver go one-on-one against a defensive back in the red zone. On Friday afternoon, the team added a layer to this drill, having two receivers work against a three-man zone defense in the red zone. More often than not, the zone defense was unable to prevent the offense from scoring.