The Patriots completed their first day of double sessions at Bryant College on Saturday, and the second practice of the day seemed to show a sloppier group than was apparent in the first two practices of training camp. Between dropped passes, poorly thrown balls and offsides penalties, the intensity that is usually expected from a team playing under Head Coach Bill Belichick simply wasn't evident. Whether it was the fact that the team practiced in shorts rather than in full equipment or signs of weariness on the first day of doubles, the team showed a serious let down from the morning session.
The lack of focus may have been most noteworthy in the later part of practice as the team worked on its two-minute offense. The first three passes of the drill fell incomplete. While the tactic would in fact stop the clock in a game situation, it likely wasn't the performance that Belichick was looking for from an offense that, with the absence of Charlie Weis, currently works directly under his own watchful eye. The team did end the drill on a strong note with J.R. Redmond catching a number of passes, much in the way that he did late in the year and in the playoffs last season. He seems to be settling quite nicely into his role as a third-down type back.
While the afternoon practice may not have been as crisp as the morning session, there were a number of individual performances that were worth noting. Impressive rookie wide receiver Deion Branch made a number of strong catches and ran seemingly energetic and sharp routes. With Donald Hayes on the sidelines with an injury, Branch seemed to have moved into the number three wide receiver slot for many of the team and group drills.
Another wide receiver, David Patten, has picked up where he left off last season and continues to impress. Early in practice Patten pulled in a Tom Brady bomb to beat the coverage of Otis Smith and earn the vociferous praise of most of the fans in attendance. Smith got his turn a bit later in practice as he delivered one of the louder hits of camp to date and sent Patten to the sidelines in a slight daze. Patten later returned no worse for the wear.
The three players who apparently failed the conditioning test, Antowain Smith, Patrick Pass and Greg Robinson-Randall, continued to work out with strength and conditioning coach Mike Woicik. The players spent much of the practice running back and forth across the width of the field while being timed by Woicik, and while Smith and Pass appeared to complete the workout with limited stress, Robinson-Randall struggled. Coach Belichick stated earlier in the day that the conditioning test would not be given at any time over the weekend, but it seems likely it may take even longer for Robinson-Randall to work his was into sufficient condition to even reattempt the test.
Adrian Klemm and Stephen Neal jumped offsides in one team drill and neither player hesitated to turn and run a lap around the field, the punishment for such an offense. … Troy Brown and Kevin Faulk took turns catching punts during a special teams segment. … A number of rookies got a little taste of the NFL when they were forced to carry the equipment of some of the veterans. Rohan Davey, Branch, David Givens and Daniel Graham all left the field with a little extra equipment to lug back to the looker room. … The team is making an effort for even more players to get to the fans for autographs and have set up a schedule for different positional groups to stay after practices to sign items for fans between the goal posts on the south end of the field. Sunday morning the defensive linemen will be signing, in the afternoon it will be the running backs, fullbacks and tight ends. … A reminder to fans, Bryant College parking can accommodate approximately 1,500 cars. Fans wishing to ensure admittance to the campus and practices should plan on arriving early.