The practice action took place in helmets, shells and shorts, and didn’t lead to the most active, competitive workout of camp. That makes sense with the Patriots coming off a week of pretty intense work with the Eagles, including last Friday night’s preseason opener.
Add in the fact that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers arrive in town on Tuesday for another series of what should be pretty physical, competitive workouts, and it’s quite logical that Monday’s work was one of the more bland sessions of camp.
Maybe the biggest news of the day was that backup quarterback
Beyond that, here are one man’s observations from the sunny, warm practice fields:
--Six players were not dressed for/seen at the workout. That included
Vega is a new addition to the list of injuries, as he saw action on Friday night against the Eagles and had not previously missed practice time.
Gronkowski was on the field in shorts and a t-shirt, watching the workout.
Harrison was in shorts and did his usual running/rehab work on the Revs practice field.
A number of other players were in jersey and helmet, but did not participate fully in the workout. That included
Previously injured players
Connolly and Zusevics actually did some extra conditioning work while the team segment was going on late in practice.
--Chad O’Shea and the wide receivers broke out another drill early in practice, This one involved the pass catchers running shallow crossing routes behind three evenly spaced tall tackling dummies. The receivers then caught passes in each of the open windows between the tall bags.
--A DirectTV blimp flew over the practice fields during the session.
--The Patriots made a minor roster move on Monday, releasing rookie free agent tight end Brandon Ford and signing young journeyman cornerback
--While most players were in shorts and short sleeve shirts,
--During some early team work on defense, McCourty took reps at right cornerback. He then bumped back to safety for the rest of the practice, including team action against the top offense late in the workout.
--When McCourty was at safety
--Haslam, Green, Dennard and Dowling all rode stationary bikes for a while late in practice.
--During kickoff return action
--While Stephen Gostkowski went one for three on field goal attempts with just he, the snapper and holder from 45-ish on the side field, including one that hit the uprights, he was much better with the pressure on. He was good from 50-plus yards on a pair of kicks to cap drives in the team action.
--During some nickel situations,
--The quarterbacks did a drill at one point where one of the passers stop in the middle of a ring of seven pass catchers. The passer rotated to work on their footwork and then had to locate and throw to a receiver that called for the ball. They worked the drill in both directions, clockwise and counterclockwise.
--Robert Kraft walked onto the field midway through the workout and watched much of the practice.
--Amendola eventually made a nice, one-handed catch with his left hand on a short throw from Brady that he tipped to himself. Of course he probably should have caught the ball the first time.
--Josh McDaniels continues to experiment with various combinations in the backfield. He’s used fullbacks, tight ends and even wide receivers together in the backfield at times. We’ve seen
--Zupancic and Allen did the snapping and holding for Gostkowski’s long field goal attempts during the team segment of practice.
--Gostkowski also did a pooch punt attempt on a long field goal attempt. Scott O’Brien had to remind his field goal team to run down and cover the kick near the goal line.
--Many of the young players put on shoulder pads for a segment of “opportunity” reps late in practice. Tebow was the quarterback for the offense in the drill, with Brian Daboll watching closely. Josh Boyer seemed to call in the defenses from the sideline for that side of the ball.
--Interesting to keep an eye on the playing time and reps for tight end/fullback
--Brady took some extra reps with Amendola on the other field while the “opportunity” reps were going on.
--Brady, Mallett and Tebow did some extra conditioning running together after practice. Tebow still had his pads on at that point, but still found a way to out stride the other passers to win each sprint.
--Kyle Arrington celebrated his 27th birthday, although there were no signs or singing from the crowd.
--The Patriots return to the practice field from 2-4:30 pm on Tuesday for joint practice work with the Buccaneers in advance of Friday night’s second preseason game between the two teams at Gillette.