FOXBOROUGH — Two young fans lingered.
They were standing behind a rope at the Gillette Stadium practice field after the Patriots joint practice with the Eagles Tuesday, and they spotted one of the few players left.
“Aaron! Aaron!” they shouted to Aaron Dobson. “Can we get a picture?”
Their patience and persistence paid off: Dobson, New England’s second-year wide receiver, walked over and posed for a photo.
Most of the other Patriots were gone. Dobson stayed. Could you blame him?
Dobson, 22, entered training camp on the physically unable to perform list. He injured his foot in the Patriots’ 34-31 win over the Denver Broncos in Week 12, then aggravated the stress fracture five weeks later against the Bills. He had surgery in the offseason, and Monday was his first day of camp.
On Tuesday, he again stayed out of contact drills.
The Patriots selected the 6-foot-3-inch, 200-pound Dobson from Marshall, in the second round in 2013. He had 37 catches for 519 yards and four touchdowns in 12 games.
And though he missed the beginning chunk of camp, he said he doesn’t feel behind.
“I feel like I did that already. I feel like I stayed attentive in meetings. Like I said, just staying around the game, just doing what I can do,” Dobson said. “Just trying to stay ahead.”
Keeping their cool
Logan Mankins, never one to avoid in-game confrontations, said there is a simple reason the Patriots don’t have as many training-camp scuffles as other teams: Discipline.
“It just comes from the top,” Mankins said after practice. “We try to learn self-control. If you fight in practice, it’s easy to do something stupid in the game and get a personal foul, so we try to hold that anger in, I guess. No retaliating.”
It’s also possible, he said, that they actually like each other.
“We’re a team,” he said. “We practice hard against each other, but we also pull for each other. It’s not just offense and defense — we’re a team . . . We don’t have time to sit out there and punch each other in the helmets or anything. Save that for game days.
“It takes just one bad time to ruin it for everyone else. I think it’s a good policy our team has: We don’t need to hate each other around here. We need to be one unit, together.
“We’ll fight when we need to fight.”
And the practices against different players only help, he said.
“[During] the dog days of camp you kind of get tired of going against that same guy,” said Mankins. “You might start getting annoyed with each other, and then to break it up like that and get new competition — you’re actually getting to watch the defense go against someone else, and you’re pulling for your guys. I think it is good for the team.”
New England’s offensive line has been a series of moving parts during training camp, with several players taking reps at different positions. Mankins, at left guard, has been one of the few constants.
“I think the guys that have been rotating in there have done a good job of being on the same page as I am, and that just comes down to communication,” Mankins said. “As long as they listen to what I’m saying, we’re usually on the same page.”
Some depth moves
The Patriots made two trades Tuesday to enhance their depth on the defensive line, casting doubt on the availability of two key reserves who were hurt last week.
New England traded for Green Bay defensive lineman and former second-round pick Jerel Worthy, according to his agent.
The Patriots also traded for defensive end Ben Bass from Dallas in exchange for cornerback Justin Green, the Cowboys announced.
Both Bass (hamstring) and Worthy (back) are injured.
The Patriots lost Sealver Siliga, who was hurt in a joint practice with the Redskins and was seen wearing a sling this weekend, and Chris Jones, who injured his ankle in Thursday night’s exhibition game against Washington. Both players were key rotational players last year after Vince Wilfork and Tommy Kelly suffered season-ending injuries, and their prognosis is unclear.
According to reports out of Green Bay, New England will send the Packers a conditional pick in the future, provided Worthy makes the team. He had 2½ sacks and 14 tackles in 2012 with the Packers after an All-America junior season at Michigan State, where he had 107 tackles and 12 sacks in three years.
Bass, 6-5 and 294 pounds, played two games last season as a rookie after signing with Dallas as an undrafted free agent from Texas A&M. He had one tackle. Green played two games with New England last season.
The Patriots closed Wednesday’s practice to the public because of the weather forecast. They will extend training camp by one day and have an open practice on Monday, Aug. 18, at a to-be-determined time . . . After practice, many Patriots, coach Bill Belichick, and owner Robert Kraft completed the ice-bucket challenge to raise money and awareness for ALS research. Kraft challenged the Bills, Dolphins, “and our good friends the New York Jets” to complete the challenge next.Rob Harms can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @harms__way.