Sights & sounds at Gillette

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Leftover sights and sounds from the Patriots' training camp practice Monday morning at Gillette Stadium:

1. One of the big offseason storylines was whether Devin McCourty would line up at safety or cornerback. He's been exclusively at cornerback in training camp, and assuming there are no injuries, he looks primed to stay there. This reinforces the thought that McCourty's time at safety in 2011 was more a result of a personnel shortage than a real desire to move him there. "When you play in New England, you have to be ready for anything," McCourty explained.

2. Former major league baseball pitcher Tom House was at practice, working with Tom Brady on his mechanics. Brady's attention to detail and fundamentals is well documented (link here), and House is his new "throwing coach" following the passing of Tom Martinez. Backups Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett also spent a little time with House.

3. Second-year cornerback Ras-I Dowling chatted with reporters after practice. He had one of the plays of the day, diving to bat down a Tom Brady pass along the sideline intended for Brandon Lloyd in 11-on-11 work. On Sunday, he intercepted a long Brian Hoyer pass. It doesn't take a professional scout to see that at 6-foot-1, 210 pounds, Dowling offers something the team's other cornerbacks don't -- size. He's been working as the third corner, but has also taken reps with the top group in place of Kyle Arrington at times.

4. Didn't know Patriots backup quarterback Brian Hoyer and Saints backup quarterback Chase Daniel were roommates at the East-West Shrine Game prior to coming out of the 2009 draft (both entered the league as free agents). Watching Daniel play well in the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game on Sunday night (outside of an end-zone INT he'd like to have back), he kind of reminded me of Hoyer. The two will reconnect tomorrow when the Saints come to town for joint practices.

5. The role of scouting assistant Chris Simms was brought up by reporters today, with Hoyer answering that it was nice to have a former NFL quarterback (especially one who has been in the team's system) to bounce things off in addition to Josh McDaniels. "You want to get as many vantage points as you can," Hoyer said. "If Josh is busy, I know I can go to him and talk it over and see what he kind of thinks of it."