Musket Blasts: Patriots and NFL Draft Links, 7/30

Patriots Training Camp Aaron Hernandez

Aaron Hernandez is getting plenty of work at Patriots Training Camp. (Photo: US Presswire)

NEPD Editor: James Christensen

Come back every Monday, Wednesday and Friday as I choose my five favorite New England Patriots and NFL Draft links to share. Feel free to submit your own links in the comments.

Patriots Special Teams coach Scott O’Brien gave fans some insight into the return game. (WEEI)

There’s toughness, obviously. It’s like having to run through a door and you don’t know what’s at the other end, that’s number one. Great vision, instincts, cutting ability, but there’s a process. Those are the instinctive things you’re looking for; the mental makeup, besides the physical skills. But there is a learning process with all returners, no matter what experience they’ve had in the past because of the schemes and the coverage principles that we have to deal with here. It becomes a learning process of how they do things besides just the physical skills they do have.

Thoughts from day three of Patriots training camp and day four of camp. (NEPatriotsDraft.com)

Chandler Jones looked much more impressive in pads and full team drills today. He showed good power to speed rush moves and beat Nate Solder with a bull rush on one occasion. His initial punch is very good and he is able to recoil and get free. It’s early but, he has flashed the pass rush potential that Bill Belichick had hoped when he traded up for him in the first round of April’s draft. Jones also showed off his fluidity by dropping into the flat to cover a running back out of the backfield. Based on what we saw today, Jones will be on the field early on.

Former Raider and Seahawk Robert Gallery may play an important role this season for the Patriots. (Boston Herald)

With left guard Logan Mankins rehabbing from injury and right guard Brian Waters waiting to report, the Patriots have been a work in progress on the interior. During the first day, Ryan Wendell worked with the starters at left guard while Dan Connolly was on the right side. But over the last two days, Connolly moved to left guard, and Gallery stepped in on the right side.

Can the Patriots attach the Jets interior line again? (NYJetsDraft.com)

However, it appears as if the Jets are not satisfied with Matt Slauson as their left guard. Disappointing second-round pick Vladimir Ducasse, who lost the same battle to Slauson prior to the 2010 season, is splitting reps with Slauson on the first team. Meanwhile, Slauson is being cross-trained at other positions, including right tackle.

New York Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie continues to show just how smart he is. (NESN.com)

Belichick, who has been lauded across the league for his defensive prowess, was a defensive coordinator for many years before leading the Patriots to five Super Bowl appearances and three titles as New England’s head coach.

Tags: Aaron Hernandez, Chandler Jones, Musket Blasts, New York Jets, Robert Gallery, Training Camp

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