Monday afternoon's workout saw a lot of passing work, with both offense and defense enjoying their share of success. Early on, it was the wideouts getting the better of the defensive backs in 1-on-1 drills.
Torrance Small beat Ty Law with a nice inside-outside move and Drew Bledsoe hit him in stride for a short gain. Bledsoe then hit Troy Brown, Ronney Daniels and Jermaine Wiggins on successive plays as the DBs had trouble keeping up.
At the opposite end of the field, Michael Bishop hooked up with Shockmain Davis for a deep bomb down the left sideline. Davis beat safety Tony George on the play. George was not discouraged, however. A few plays later, the same combination tried to hook up for a 15-yard out pass but George read Bishop perfectly and stepped in for the interception and would-be touchdown.
Bledsoe ended the drill as sharp as he began it when he hit Daniels, who got behind rookie Leonard Myers, for a long touchdown pass.
The results changed dramatically when the focus switched to red zone work. Suddenly, the defensive backs were everywhere. The offense ran routes from the 20-, 15-, 10- and 8-yard lines while the defense countered with their dime package in the 7-on-7 drill. Law, Tedy Bruschi, Terrell Buckley, Matt Stevens, Otis Smith, Tebucky Jones and Lawyer Milloy put the clamps down on the offense, causing 10 incompletions on 13 attempts.
The play of the day came on the first attempt. Damon Huard looked toward David Patten in the end zone but Law got his hand on the pass, deflected it in the air and Smith corralled it for the interception. Bledsoe did hit a couple of touchdowns later in the drill, one to Walter Williams (who returned after sitting out the morning practice with a leg injury) and the other to Patten. Small had a potential scoring pass go through his hands in the back of the end zone earlier.
Offensive coordinator Charlie Weis then went to work on situational plays as Belichick watched closely. Bledsoe and the first unit looked good on a pair of third-and-threes and then a third-and-six. On the latter, Charles Johnson made a terrific catch on the sideline after Bledsoe rolled to his right to avoid pressure. The play may have been incomplete on the sideline, but Johnson showed great hands and body control just to make the catch.
Huard wasn't as fortunate in this drill, however. He was intercepted on back-to-back passes by Kato Serwanga and Je'Rod Cherry. By the way, anytime Cherry comes up with an interception, is it fair to call it a "Cherry Pick"? Just wondering.
After Brad Seely worked with his kick return units on some situational kicks, including squibs, line drives and high, shorter kicks, the practice finished with the customary afternoon two-minute drill. Bledsoe marched the troops deep into the red zone with nice completions to Kevin Faulk, Patten and then Bert Emanuel. Emanuel's catch came on third-and-two from the 12 with 35 seconds left on the simulated clock and beat an all-out blitz. The drive stalled at the 5, though, and Adam Vinatieri was forced to come on to boot a field goal.
PRACTICE NOTES: Tight end Johnny McWilliams practiced for the first time in camp after sitting out with a hamstring injury. He showed soft hands during some early drills but didn't participate much in the full-scale workouts. … Willie McGinest also continued his Frank Shorter imitation, running more laps around the practice fields than a marathoner. … At the end of the first unit's two-minute drill, the offense was faced with a fourth down with 10 seconds to go. Vinatieri came out and the field goal teams on both sides were set to go. The coaches like to simulate game conditions as much as possible during times like these, so Bruschi did exactly what he'd do during a game: he called a timeout to try to freeze the kicker. The plan worked – sort of. Vinatieri's kick from 40 yards away was just wide to the right, but he was kicking toward a special set of goal posts that are much more narrow than regulation ones. The kick would have been good under normal circumstances.