1. Tight end Asante Cleveland, who was acquired in a trade from the 49ers on Tuesday for offensive lineman Jordan Devey, practiced with the club for the first time and wore No. 44. Bill Belichick said Cleveland adds depth at a position that has been thinned by injury. "We did a lot of work on him out of college from Miami," he said. "We didn’t really want to give up Devey, but you’ve got to give up something to get something. I think hopefully both guys will be able to help both teams in positions of need."
2. Practice ended Wednesday with players from both teams doing conditioning work, split on the two main fields. That sparked memories of last year's joint practice in Washington when the Patriots ran and Washington players did not, as some in Washington seemed surprised at how hard Belichick was pushing his team.
3. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo ended practice on a high note, leading the two-minute offense to a touchdown when he connected with tight end Jimmay Mundine. That made him 2-for-2 with touchdowns in two-minute work. "You try to mimic the game as best you can and that comes up a lot; to come out here and convert on both of them is pretty good," he said.
4. The two-minute work was a big part of practice, and some defenders said afterward that they were gassed from the pace picking up. Good training-camp work.
5. Garoppolo's alma mater, Eastern Illinois, drew some attention as it's also where Saints coach Sean Payton went to college. Both played quarterback and Garoppolo referred to Payton as a "stud." Meanwhile, Payton said he was excited "to see a good player come out of that school ... It has had a pretty good football tradition and it will be good to see him out here throwing the ball around and hopefully doing well."
6. Players and coaches have been impressed with the facilities at The Greenbrier. "The setup is pretty unique, but it's been great," Belichick said, before turning his focus to the Saints. "I have all the respect in the world for the Saints, their entire organization, Sean [Payton] and the way they do things," he said.
7. Why do the Saints train in West Virginia? "We receive a chance to train in certainly better temperatures right now, the altitude here is around 2,000 feet, so we split time here and back at home in New Orleans," Payton said. "The setup is perfect. For us to train with no distractions, it has really been a good relationship.”
8. Danny Amendola served as the top kickoff returner for the Patriots.
9. Undrafted Patriots rookie receiver Chris Harper received more repetitions and showed up a few times, including one long catch down the left sideline. He flashed a bit in the second half of the preseason opener and when I saw him catching a pass from Tom Brady at one point, it made me think he's a player to keep an eye on this week for a potential expanded opportunity.
10. While the overall crowd of fans wasn't as large as expected, it was noted by one Saints reporter that the Patriots seemed to have the majority of support.
11. Thursday's practice, which is open to the public, is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. ET. Payton will meet with reporters at 8:50, followed by Belichick.