Cleaning out the Patriots notebook

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Cleaning out the Patriots notebook ...

1. One of the more interesting drills in camp is when Bill Belichick tries to create stress for quarterbacks by throwing a blocking pad at them. He nailed Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett in the head over the last few days, but to both quarterback's credit, they kept their eyes downfield, didn't lose concentration, and completed the pass. "He's got me a couple times," Mallett said with a chuckle. "I've never had that happen before."

2. Tight end Rob Gronkowski looks like one of the best players on the field. It also looks like rookie Lee Smith, the fifth-round pick out of Marshall, is going to be given every opportunity to assume the Alge Crumpler-type role as a blocking tight end. He's getting a lot of quality practice reps, both on offense and on the kickoff return team.

3. Fun to see Logan Mankins and Albert Haynesworth go 1 on 1 in practice. They are two of the best at what they do. "Albert is a good player, a big, strong guy," said Mankins. "The first one, I was glad I got him, but the second one he got me. It's going to go back and forth." Mankins compared having Haynesworth on the roster to practicing against Richard Seymour. "It only made me better and if Albert practices hard, it will only make me better too," he said.

4. Nice moment Thursday when military personnel arrived on the field during practice and the few thousand fans in attendance all stood up and gave a standing ovation. "Thank you for your service!" one fan yelled out.

5. I don't think Bill Belichick is thrilled with the condition of the practice fields as he spent part of Thursday's session speaking with a groundskeeper. At one point during practice, quarterback Tom Brady slipped while dropping back to pass.

6. Patriots rookies spent Friday morning touring the team's Hall of Fame. That is one of the nice parts about the Hall, as it is an on-site venue to introduce newcomers to the history of the franchise.