FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Observations from Friday afternoon's practice, the Patriots' fourth of training camp, which was held in shorts and shells under overcast conditions.
Ochocinco debuts in Foxborough. Chad Ochocinco made his practice debut on Friday afternoon. Despite walking onto the field out-of-uniform, Ochocinco donned shells and a No. 85 jersey in time for the first drill. He appeared to be a full participant throughout the practice, working closely with quarterback Tom Brady in learning routes and other aspects of the Patriots offense. Hernandez apparently gave up his No. 85 for Ochocinco. Hernandez wasn't practicing, but he was seen in shorts with the No. 81 on them during the session.
Cannon among those rehabbing. Fifth-round draft choice Marcus Cannon signed in time for Friday afternoon's practiced and joined the group of players doing strength and conditioning work on the sidelines. Joining him were tight end Aaron Hernandez, defensive linemen Ron Brace and Brandon Deaderick (all active/PUP), as well as offensive lineman Mike Berry and safety James Sanders (active/NFI). Not spotted was defensive lineman Myron Pryor (active/PUP).
Defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth has not yet been seen at practice; the team has yet to announce the trade that will bring him from Washington. In addition, offensive lineman Logan Mankins (franchise tag), cornerback Kyle Arrington (exclusive-rights free agent), and running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis (restricted free agent) remained out of action due to CBA transition rules. Offensive lineman Nate Solder, cornerback Ras-I Dowling, and running back Shane Vereen remain as unsigned draft selections and thus out of practice.
Punting unit in focus. Friday afternoon marked the first action for the punting unit. Returners seeing action included wide receivers Brandon Tate, Julian Edelman, and rookie free agent Jeremy Ross. Linebacker Rob Ninkovich, not veteran Matt Katula, handled long-snapping duties for the unit. Friday afternoon was also the first time that rookie free agent kicker Chris Koepplin (UMass) had a chance to kick field goals. After hitting his first four, Koepplin hit the upright on his fifth from 44 yards and missed wide twice from about 47 yards.
Mallett's impressive arm. One of the most talked-about attributes of third-round draft selection Ryan Mallett has been the power of his throwing arm. Fans had the first time to see this on Friday, and Mallett did not disappoint. However, Mallett -- as well as Brady and fellow quarterbacks Brian Hoyer and Jonathan Crompton -- were all unable to score bulleyes in the "bucket drill," which has returned for a second season. The drill consists of a large trash bucket being placed in the corner of the end zone, with quarterbacks attempting to throw the ball into the bucket from about 15 yards deep. After the drill, Mallett worked on his drop-back technique with offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien.
Rookie Williams banged up. Rookie cornerback Malcolm Williams (seventh-round) appeared to cramp up during 7-on-7 work and had his right leg stretched by a trainer on the sideline. He returned to action during positional drills but was later seen with the training staff in the area between the two practice fields.
'Opportunity session' debuts. Friday afternoon saw the first "opportunity session" of this year's training camp, with less experienced players working extra time in an attempt to stand out. Safety Sergio Brown intercepted quarterback Jonathan Crompton during this period, while rookie free agent linebacker Jeff Tarpinian dropped his own would-be interception.
Two former faces. Former Patriots running backs Patrick Pass (2000-2006) and J.R. Redmond (2000-2002) were on-hand and reunited with Brady and running backs coach Ivan Fears following the practice.