New England took the field in shorts for the first time since the second day of camp, breaking up a stretch of four-straight workouts in full pads.
“We’re coming off last night’s practice – I thought we had a good night there. We got a lot of things done – spent some time in the red area and dealt with a couple other situations. [We’ll] probably slow some things down a little bit here this afternoon but I think the players are working hard,” Belichick said. “They’ve taken the coaching and things we’ve asked them to do and really tried to work on them. I see some improvement here. We have a long way to go, we have a lot of timing and execution to build but I think that we’re moving in the right direction. Hopefully we can just keep taking one good step every day here and we’ll see where we’re at about a week from now when we go against another competitive team.”
The alteration in attire and intensity might also be a reaction to New England’s growing list of players not participating in practice. Not only did
Based on what was a bit of a sloppy practice that saw a couple other players leave the field early, the Patriots look like they are very much in need of the team’s next day off which is scheduled for Saturday.
WR depth tested
Beyond Lloyd missing his second straight practice, two of New England’s other veteran receivers also missed reps on Thursday.
With the trio of veterans out of action,
Weems to be getting more reps
Weems credits his teammates and coaches for helping get him up to speed with the offense quickly after signing with the team July 27.
“It’s been good. All the guys took me in with open arms and everyone answered all the questions that I’ve had in regards to the way things are done around here,” Weems said. “It’s been a good group to learn from and watch, because if you watch them that’ll tell you everything you need to know in terms of work ethic and things like that.”
Weems seems to play with a physical presence, getting reps at tackle that included throwing third-round pick Jake Bequette to the ground in one pass rush drill. Physically Weems believes he has what it takes to fight for a job in the NFL.
“I feel like I can compete,” Weems said. “That’s the first thing you have to have, is just be a competitor. If you play this game you’re a competitor. I’m just looking forward to tomorrow and what I can do to get myself better.”
A day after the fracas that was all the talk from Wednesday night’s season holder practice, Belichick was asked a few questions about the brouhaha in his daily press conference.
“Football is competitive. We’re in a competitive camp. I think some of those things are just part of football,” Belichick said. “We deal with a lot of things in football. I don’t think it’s a big deal.”
The coach was asked if such an altercation can be a team-building exercise.
“I don’t know about all that,” Belichick responded. “A fight that crystallized the team? I don’t know. Not any that I can think of.”
On a more lighthearted line of questioning, Belichick admitted that it wasn’t the worst practice fight he’s seen in his 30-plus years in the NFL. And when such rhubarbs erupt, Belichick said he isn’t overly interested in getting involved.
“The only thing I try to do is stay out of the way and not get hit, which that has happened more than once,” Belichick said with a smirk. “I’ll be the last one to try to break that up – [they’ll] probably go after me.”
Cannon building steam
A year ago at this time
Cannon went on to see action in seven games as a rookie. But a year later – with a full offseason in the books – Cannon has taken the bulk of the reps at right tackle in camp, impart because
“I think what he was able to do last year was build a base and get an understanding of the offense and things that we were doing and his position and so forth. I think he started at a much higher point this year than he did last year when he came back in October from the PUP situation,” Belichick said. “Of course the opportunity for him to be out on the field every day in the spring and in OTAs, the offseason program and now in training camp has been tremendous. That’s so important for him. He’s gotten a lot out of it. He’s improved so many things from where he was at the end of the season because he just didn’t have that base to build on last year. I would say he’s way ahead of where he was last year. I don’t think he would have been able to do a lot of the things that he’s been able to do so far this year. He’s still got a long way to go. He’s still a second-year player with not much of a first year but relative to where he was last year, it’s leaps and bounds ahead of that.”
With depth and reps along the offensive line continuing to be an issue, the Patriots filled their final roster spot with the signing of rookie free agent Temple offensive lineman
“I think he’s been on a steady course since he got here. He’s very – Tavon works hard,” Belichick said. “He’s very attentive, he asks good questions, he really pays attention and he’s a hard working kid, both on and off the field. Steady improvement, long way to go, tough position to play and a tough position to transition into…
“I think he’s coming along. As long as we can keep making progress and keep heading in the right direction, I think eventually it will come together for a lot of these young guys.”
The 21 players not taking part in the afternoon workout were: Allen,