Observations from Thursday practice

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Following up with a handful of observations from the final media-accessible organized team activity of the 2012 offseason:

  • Given that the team is in its third week of on-field work, it came as little surprise that there seemed to be an increased focused on situational drills. The team ran plays in the red zone, as well as an 11-on-11 period dedicated to no-huddle offense. With playbook installation progressing, the team has the ability to focus on more nuances of the game.

  • The offense was twice forced to run laps for mental lapses during the team period, and on one occasion Bill Belichick had them take two laps. Attention to detail has always been a priority for the head coach, and both he and quarterback Tom Brady gave the offense a mouthful on the heels of the punishment.

  • Red zone was a focus for the team today, and veteran addition Brandon Lloyd snared a couple of impressive catches in the end zone. His strong offseason play continued. Britt Davis, a receiver who projects as a potential practice squad player, made an impressive toe-tapping catch of his own, only to be followed up with a careless drop.

  • Offseason pickup Bobby Carpenter continues to see reps with the first team defense, with Rob Ninkovich continuing to practice with the defensive linemen.

  • Not to make too much out a single practice and small sample size of plays, but rookie cornerback Alfonzo Dennard had an active day, breaking up multiple passes and showing solid instincts and ball skills.

  • Chris Simms, whose precise role and title remain unknown, was seen working with the tight ends at one point during practice today. He’s now been spotted working with the quarterbacks (where the majority of his time has been spent), wide receivers and tight ends.

  • Any number of reasons can explain a player’s absence, so it’s not yet worth jumping to conclusions on the absence of receiver Chad Ochocinco. If anything, the aspect to it that most intrigued me was the fact that a player like Donte’ Stallworth could further prove himself with one less receiver to take reps. Stallworth looked fast returning kicks, and has been smooth in and out of his breaks as receiver. He also showed some speed as a kick returner in practice.

  • Sterling Moore came out of nowhere to play a pivotal role for the Patriots during the 2011 postseason. He remains an under-the-radar player now, and I continue to be impressed with technique and ability to leverage opponents. He plays with good bend and flexibility, and seems to have solid fundamentals to his game.

  • Rookie seventh-round pick Jeremy Ebert was on the field today, despite the fact that he won't graduate from college until June 15. There are rules that limit rookies from participating in offseason work prior to their graduation, and Ebert previously told reporters he would not be back with the team until after his graduation. There are a number of exceptions relating to participation, and it's possible that his situation fit one of those circumstances.

  • Joseph Addai was back on the field and a full-participant today, a week after spending part of last week's OTA working with the Patriots training staff.