Patriots CB Robert McClain might be undersized, but he still packs a pop

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The biggest hit in New England Patriots training camp Tuesday was delivered by one of the team's smallest defenders.

When 5-foot-9, 195-pound cornerback Robert McClain squared up 6-foot-3, 205-pound wide receiver Brian Tyms in a fundamental tackling drill, the difference in size was hard to miss. It's why McClain had to be fine-tuned with his technique. He was so good, in fact, that he drilled Tyms with a decisive blow that knocked him on his backside and led to him being carted off the field.

"I hate to see guys get injured," McClain said after the workout. "We're all out here working, trying to take care of each other, and it was unfortunate. But we have the pads on, it's football, and all we can do is work hard and do so while protecting your teammates also."

McClain, who shares the same agent as Tyms, expressed his concern for Tyms by checking on him before the cart took him back to the locker room. The extent of Tyms' injury is not known, but the early belief is that it isn't in the season-ending category.

As for McClain, he's worked mostly in the slot in training camp and has been competitive. He also has returned punts at times in camp, which traces back to the 2012 season, when he had 19 returns and nine fair catches for Atlanta.

A few additional leftovers from Tuesday's practice:

  • Cornerback Malcolm Butler, who has had a strong first five practices, intercepted Tom Brady on a slant intended for receiver Josh Boyce over the middle. It was Brady's first interception of camp.

  • Julian Edelman, who appeared to come up a bit gimpy late in Sunday's practice, went through warmups before retreating to the fieldhouse to rehab for the entire session. That made Danny Amendola the go-to guy and he had one of the highlight plays -- a touchdown catch in the left-hand corner of the end zone from Jimmy Garoppolo. Running back Travaris Cadet had another notable play, a touchdown (we're ruling his feet were down) in the right-hand corner of the end zone from Garoppolo.

  • With Marcus Cannon not practicing, it created an opportunity for second-year man Cameron Fleming to get top work at right tackle.

  • Credit the defense for rising up in goal-line drills, which were run for the third straight practice. I had them for three stops in three plays.

  • In one-on-ones, second-year defensive tackle Dominique Easley rebounded from Sunday's practice and had two solid reps, beating third-year guard Josh Kline and undrafted rookie center David Andrews twice.

  • Defensive end Jabaal Sheard consistently has been tough for offensive linemen to handle.

  • Harvard men's basketball coach Tommy Amaker was a guest at practice.

  • The club made four back-end roster moves, signing linebackers L.J. Fort and Cameron Gordon, fullback Eric Kettani and defensive lineman A.J. Pataiali'l.