View a collection of the best images from the Patriots joint practice with the New Orleans Saints in Foxborough on Wednesday, August 10, 2016.
Last week Bill Belichick was asked if the second practice between the Patriots and Saints would be a physical one considering it would be taking place the day before a game. Before the questioner was finished, the coach began to answer, "No, we won't do that."
That was certainly the case on a soggy Wednesday morning in Foxborough as the teams went through a glorified walkthrough in short, shells and helmets only. The pace and tempo were virtually nonexistent as the teams went through a variety of situations and personnel groupings during their roughly two-hour practice.
The most notable development was the presence of Julian Edelman, who left Tuesday's practice with a left foot injury. Reports indicated that the injury was not believed to be serious, but it was still a welcomed sight to see the slot receiver trot onto the fields despite a steady rain falling at the time.
Edelman took part in the pre-practice routine and some drills before escaping to the Revs field for some running. He did not take part in any reps against the Saints defense.
Rob Ninkovich was not as fortunate. The defensive end tore his triceps muscle during Tuesday's practice and was not present on Wednesday. Still, not all was lost as reports say the veteran might only miss 4-6 weeks of action, which could have him in position to open the season in Arizona depending on the speed of his recovery.
On the bright side, left tackle Nate Solder was back on the field after missing Tuesday's workout for undisclosed reasons.
With the preseason opener just a day way, here are one man's blogservations from the Patriots 12th practice of training camp.
-In addition to Ninkovich, the Patriots were without Dion Lewis (knee), Tre' Jackson (knee), Sebastian Vollmer and Danny Amendola (knee, ankle), all of whom remain on PUP. In addition, Jonathan Cooper (foot) and Bryce Williams both missed practice.
-Chris Hogan, Logan Ryan and Jonathan Freeny continue to wear their red, non-contact jerseys.
-As has been the case for the past several days, D.J. Foster, Donald Brown and Keshawn Martin were all in uniform but immediately retreated to the Revs field for conditioning work. Later, defensive linemen Frank Kearse (who is wearing a cast on his right hand/wrist) and Anthony Johnson joined that group on the lower field. Johnson eventually returned to the practice fields and did some work with the heavy bag in the corner where the offensive linemen spend the bulk of their group practice action.
-Amendola made an appearance on the practice fields about 30 minutes after the workout began. He was wearing cutoff sweats and had gloves but did not appear to do any conditioning work while with his team. He left the field before practice ended as well.
-Freeny spent several minutes running sprints with a member of the team's medical staff.
-Edelman was able to field some Ryan Allen punts along with V'Angelo Bentley and Cyrus Jones before practice.
-The first joint work took place in the red zone with the offenses divided into two groups in each of the four end zones. The Patriots worked on the left field with Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett operating with the wide receivers and Tom Brady on the opposite end with the running backs and tight ends. The Saints broke up in similar groups on the field to the right.
-The teams used a variety of combination routes during the drill. Although the drill was conducted at something considerably less than full speed, Aaron Dobson and Nate Washington recorded touchdowns after breaking into the clear. Garoppolo said afterward that he feels things are progressing well each day.
"We're going in the right direction. We've got to take it day by day, and like I said, you never know who you're going to be out there with. All the tight ends, all the receivers, all the skill guys on offense, it's a long process in camp, but we're definitely going in the right direction. It's kind of a feel thing. You read their body language, you know what they're going to do before they do it type of thing. I think as a quarterback, it's a good feeling when, before the ball is even snapped, you know what this guy is going to do before he does it. It's just a comforting feeling."
-Shaq Mason lined up at right guard on an offensive line that included, from left to right, Solder, Joe Thuney, David Andrews and Marcus Cannon.
-AJ Derby made a nice cut toward the sideline and caught a pass just out of the reach of Saints linebacker Stephone Anthony. Anthony was New Orleans' first-round pick a year ago.
-Saints cornerback Delvin Breaux, who did not take part in the practice, had an interesting twist while running sprints. While running back and forth across the field he would alternate looking back over his right and left shoulder, likely simulating the situation he'd be in in coverage deep down the field. Not something I've noticed before.
-There was plenty of kickoff work in the practice, including onside work for both teams. The first group with Stephen Gostkowski for the drill was, from left to right, Darryl Roberts, Cedric Thompson, Ramon Humber, Jordan Richards, Brandon King, Vinnie Sunseri, Kamu Grugier-Hill, Kevin Snyder, E.J. Biggers and Jonathan Jones.
-Gostkowski didn't actually kick off during the long kicks. Instead a ball boy threw to the returners.
-When New England flipped it and had a hands team to handle onside kicks the front line included Shea McClellin, Jamie Collins, Brandon Bolden, Logan Ryan, Patrick Chung, Dont'a Hightower and James Develin. Rob Gronkowski, Duron Harmon, Devin McCourty and Chris Hogan were at the next level.
-Josh Kline and Geneo Grissom generally get the early reps as the blockers in front of the returners on kickoff return. They will be guys to watch in the event of potential short kickoffs in game action as teams work through the new touchback rule that places the ball at the 25-yard line.
-A lot of time was spent on run-on field goal situations for both teams.
-Hogan had to do a lap for an unseen infraction at one point.
-New England fielded a defense with seven defensive backs for end-of-game situations. The look had Jabaal Sheard and Chris Long on the front, with Hightower and Collins at linebacker. The secondary was comprised of Malcolm Butler, Justin Coleman, Patrick Chung, Cyrus Jones, McCourty, Harmon and Richards.
-One player chose to answer Mother Nature's call by sneaking behind the arborvitaes on the far end of the practice field rather than hit the nearby porta johns.
-Martellus Bennett had a couple bobbles and drops in the wet conditions, even in the competition-free tempo. Not a big deal now but a player's bad-weather capabilities almost always come into play at some point during a season in New England. Of course with his time in New York and Chicago, Bennett is no stranger to weather games.
-During the 11-on-11 work late, with Garoppolo taking his many reps, Brady spent an extended period of time well behind the action talking to Saints head coach Sean Payton. The two know a little something about successful passing attacks in the NFL.
-As the team segments were coming to an end, it was clear there was going to be some "opportunity" work to close out the rainy day. To get ready for that, Jacoby Brissett began warming up and throwing the ball around with a group that included Steven Scheu, Devin Lucien, Joey Iosefa and Bear Pascoe. Pascoe ran in place and caught the ball by Brissett's side, while the rest lined up and took turns catching passes from the young passer.
-As the day came to a close the teams gathered together and were greeted by Eric LeGrand, the former Rutgers player who was paralyzed in 2010. LeGrand delivered an inspirational message to the players, as did Celeste Corcoran, one of the survivors of the Boston Marathon bombings, and Jami Goldman Marseilles, a double-amputee marathoner. LeGrand later spent time with Robert Kraft and took photos with the Patriots four Lombardi trophies.
"The message was to look at every obstacle as an opportunity, and to not let whatever problems you're dealing with conquer you. You conquer the problem or situation," rookie receiver Malcolm Mitchell said.
-Garoppolo, Trey Flowers, Mitchell and Gronkowski were among the players who met with the media, as well as several Saints players including Drew Brees.
-The Patriots will open the preseason Thursday night against the Saints at 7:30 p.m. at Gillette Stadium. The next scheduled practice open to the media will take place on Sunday at 9:15 a.m. New England will then host Chicago for joint practices on Monday and Tuesday (Aug. 15-16) ahead of their preseason matchup with the Bears on Aug. 18. As always, please check with Patriots.com for all the latest schedule updates.