Rain greeted the Patriots at training camp Wednesday morning, but that didn't stop Bill belichick from taking his team through full-pads practice outside. The head coach has expressed disappointment about the cool weather so he was glad to at least see some rain to make things difficult on the players.
"This was a good opportunity for us this morning to get out there in the rain and be able to deal with the conditions, the elements – handle the ball in wet weather and play on a wet surface and have to keep our feet under us."
So while it wasn't exactly a driving rainstorm hovering over the Bryant College campus, it was steady enough to keep things wet. The weather didn't play much of a factor early on as the team focused its efforts running the ball with they key to that portion of the workout being communication.
With the team now heavy into the second week of training camp, Belichick is putting the onus on the players to get the defensive calls and make the proper adjustments to the offensive formation. The offense faced a similar situation.
"The practices now are to get the team ready to play a game," Belichick said. "We're probably doing a little less coaching out on the field than what you saw early in camp so the players can operate on their own like they will in a game situation. Then we correct it on film."
The offensive line injuries continue to draw attention, but Belichick is pleased to get long looks at players like rookie Greg Robinson-Randall and Jason Andersen. He is pleased with Andersen's versatility and said Robinson will continue to get an opportunity to play at right tackle.
Referees were on the field for the second straight day and there were a few flags thrown. Tebucky Jones was nailed for pass interference and Tedy Bruschi for defensive holding.
Quarterback Michael Bishop is taking all the snaps with the second unit in preparation for the first two preseason games when he will see a bulk of the playing time. He has looked very sharp at times in camp, but continues to search for consistency. None of the quarterbacks, including Drew Bledsoe, have been overly impressive, but have played OK.
Bishop did throw an ugly interception this morning, hitting cornerback Antonio Langham in the numbers on a short out pass to the right that was intended for fullback Chris Floyd. Rookie quarterback Tom Brady was victimized by an interception when Larry Whigham tipped a ball into the hands of Cory Gilliard. Many of the passing situations came against defensive blitzes, which put a little more pressure on the quarterbacks to make proper reads and decisions.
Wide receiver Tony Simmons had a strong morning practice. Bishop hit him deep for a touchdown over Langham's head with safety Chris Carter arriving too late to help. Simmons then ran past cornerback Kelly Malveaux and Brady hit him for another long completion.
In the afternoon session, the team is expected to continue situations with one area of focus being the game-time communication between the quarterback and the coach.