Day Two of the Patriots rookie camp ended without incident, with the nine newest Patriots again getting through a one-hour practice session.
The most action involved tight end Daniel Graham and wide receivers Deion Branch, David Givens and T.C. Taylor catching passes from quarterbacks Rohan Davey and Major Applewhite. Given that there were no defensive backs or linebackers to give the receivers token coverage, it's tough to get an accurate gauge of how the players fared.
For what it's worth, Graham looked smooth running routes down the seam, and was adept at catching the ball over his shoulder. Branch was clearly the quickest receiver in the group and had the catch of the day when he dove and came up with a deep ball down the right side. All of the receivers seemed to handle most of their chances without much problem.
Speaking Friday, Bill Belichick said both Branch and Givens have multiple talents that could earn them more playing time as rookies.
"Deion played both outside and inside receiver in college," Belichick said. "He has been a vertical player and he has also been a guy that can catch and run with the ball after the catch, which he has done both offensively and on the punt and kickoff returns."
"Givens is a player who also has some versatility. He's a bigger receiver, stronger receiver who has been a productive player for Notre Dame in the kicking game and he also is guy that can run with the ball, but a different style of running. He is a bigger runner, whereas Branch is a quicker, faster guy. I think Givens is a bigger, stronger guy and his role on special teams would be more as a blocker and a cover guy then a return type of player. I think he brings good skills to that area. Hopefully he will be competitive with some of our other players that are also doing those types of things."
One player who took the field but was limited to walk-through speed both days was running back Antoine Womack out of Virginia. An ACL injury suffered after his already injury-shortened season has Womack in rehab mode, but he was still on the field wearing a helmet and working individually with running backs coach Ivan Fears.
Realistically Womack's situation is similar to that of 2000 rookie tight end Arther Love, who began his career on the Physically Unable to Perform list before joining the team in pads in October. Still, Belichick won't close the door on other possibilities.
""He is only about two-and-a-half months removed from surgery, and realistically he is probably a P.U.P guy," Belichick said. "I'd like for him to keep working hard, and if he is ready to go in August, then he'll go in August."
Taking time to heal properly would be a wise move for Womack, who likely would have gone anywhere from Round Two through Round Four had he been healthy, rather than be a seventh-round selection.
"We've got some young backs who will all be a year older and a year closer to free agency," Belichick said. "This gives us a chance to get a guy into the system. It would be great to have him [for the 2002 season], but we may not need him right now because we do have [Patrick] Pass, [J.R.] Redmond, [Kevin] Faulk, Antowain [Smith] and Walter Williams."
The rookies will have one more night of film and classroom sessions before they depart Sunday.