That gave the Sunday morning session a little more of an intense feel, with more drills and scrimmage action involving full contact.
“We’ve certainly done a lot of work without pads, going all the way back to the spring relative to the passing game and doing some non-contact things,” head coach Bill Belichick said in his pre-practice remarks to the media. “Today is the start of where we’re able to see the contact. Certainly will help us in our evaluations of some of the bigger linemen and people like that, feel the play and working those positions.”
“It’s always nice to start playing real football,” left guard/co-captain
“I definitely had to brush off some rust,” second-year linebacker Dont’a Hightower confessed. “First day back in… it feels like forever. I’m glad to be back [in full pads]. It just feels good to be back in my pads. Might take me a couple of days to get where I want to be.”
The Patriots were able to focus a bit more on the running game now that they’re in full pads and can simulate game conditions. Goal-line situations were worked on for the first time in this camp, at the tail end of Sunday’s practice.
“I love those inside runs,” added Hightower. “The guards, the tackles, the fullbacks… all that stuff. Hopefully, I’ll get a little more action in there tomorrow.”
Missing from action
For the first three days of camp, New England has been without the services of six players. It’s been the same six each day: tight end
Gronk, for the second straight day, made an appearance on the field as a spectator in shorts and a t-shirt as he continues to recover from back surgery and multiple surgeries to his left forearm. Edelman and McDonald also were on the field for periods of time doing rehab work of their own.
Armstead, who was placed on the non-football illness list prior to camp, has not yet been spotted out on the field. Before practice today, Belichick revealed that Armstead’s current illness is unrelated to the heart troubles that cost him his final season at the University of Southern California.
“It’s a different situation. If we have anything [new to report], we’ll talk about it, but not at this time.”
Meanwhile, right guard
A view from the pocket
The tiny devices are placed on the side of the helmet opposite the QBs’ throwing arm, giving the coaching staff a unique and different ground-level look at a play’s development from the signal caller’s perspective.
“It’s something we haven’t done before, so, we’ll take a look at it and see how effective it is or what we can get out of it. I’m not sure exactly how effective that will or won’t be,” Belichick acknowledged, “but it’s something we’re trying that’s a little bit new. We’ll see how it goes… Anything we can do to help instruct and coach the players better.”
Spikes on Hernandez
“Honestly, I never really pay attention to outside [influences]. All we really have is us here, the guys in this locker room, guys we go to war with. I think the team is always going to face a little adversity, and that's what brings the team closer. We've all got to get through it and push forward, can't really look back. It won't change anything.”
Play of the Day: Wilfork forced fumble/fumble – Ridley was victimized the second time by
...New England will be back at practice Monday evening, but it will be on the Gillette Stadium game field and is open only to season ticket holders. The Patriots are then scheduled to have a practice back on the grass fields on Tuesday afternoon (open to the general public) before taking a day of rest on Wednesday.
...Legendary actor Robert Duvall was a guest of owner Robert Kraft Sunday. The two appeared together on the field during practice and posed for pictures with several players during breaks in the action.