About half the normal number of players took to the wet practice fields behind Gillette Stadium Monday morning for just under two hours of work in shells, shorts and helmets. While most of the projected regular season starters and notable faces were inside the stadium attending meetings and some walk-through work, most of the younger and roster-bubble players worked to gel together in the units that will see the bulk of the action this Thursday night against the New York Giants.
"Today we took the players who haven't been getting as many reps in practice as some of the other guys and tried to get them more chances to run our plays so that they are a little more familiar with them for the game," Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick said in his Monday press conference. "Then also, we want to make sure that they are working with the people that they are going to be playing with to help the communication and the recognition and that kind of thing. So hopefully they will be a little bit more of a cohesive unit when they get out there."
Belichick also noted that a number of the players who haven't been working out of late aren't likely to see action in the preseason opener.
"The guys who have not been practicing, guys who aren't practicing today and didn't practice yesterday, I think that you will not see those guys playing in the game," Belichick said.
The players who did not practice but were on the field Monday morning included Chas Gessner, Tully Banta-Cain, J.R. Redmond, Otis Smith, Ty Law, Gene Mruczkowski, Joe Andruzzi, Willie McGinest, Antwoine Womack and Kenyatta Jones. All have been listed as day-to-day, although only Law and Redmond have seen any significant practice action in the early part of camp.
Another interesting Belichick comment dealt with rookie corners Eugene Wilson and Asante Samuel. Both players were on the field in the sometimes heavy rain for the morning session and Belichick said both will start the game on Thursday night, the first chance to see the impressive rookies in any type of game-like situation.
"Both players are going to start the game and they are going to be out there getting an opportunity to go against whoever the Giants put out there, their best guys," Belichick said. "So I think that will be a good evaluation."
The team announced a minor transaction Monday, the signing of 6-2, 205-pound wide receiver Thabiti Davis. Davis spent the 2000 and 2001 seasons with the Giants, but was out of the league a year ago and spent the spring playing for Orlando of the Arena League. His career NFL numbers include 29 games played with five receptions for 74 yards and 32 special teams tackles. The addition of Davis fills the roster spot formerly held by Ben Kelly and puts the team back at the 80-man limit. … Following the wet morning session Jarvis Green, Fred McCrary, Matt Chatham and Dyshod Carter signed autographs for fans at autograph alley in the Fleet Plaza just outside Gillette Stadium. … Tight end Rod Trafford continues to show some ability as he hooked up with both Rohan Davey and Kliff Kingsbury on a number of completions in the slippery conditions. … The team is scheduled to return to the practice fields for a 5:30-7:30 p.m. practice Monday evening. Fans are urged to check Patriots.com or call the camp info hotline at 508-543-1776 for any last minute scheduling changes.