The Patriots went through their final workout this afternoon before tomorrow's trip to Canton, Ohio, for Monday's night's preseason opener with the 49ers. Coach Bill Belichick put the players through an extended walk through as the team suited up in shorts and helmets.
Offense and defense packages shuffled on and off the field throughout the afternoon. In addition to the regular sets, the defensive substitutions included nickel and dime alignments. Offensive coordinator Charlie Weis switched personnel often, using third down multiple receiver sets and two-tight end run packages. The final portion of practice consisted of two-minute drills that culminated with work on two-point conversions and field goals.
Coach Brad Seely also found time to run his coverage units through some drills. The punt return team focused on the vise guys (players who try to prevent the outside coverage guys from getting down field) and Troy Brown, Kevin Faulk and Patrick Pass took turns handling Lee Johnson's kicks.
Many rookies were sporting new looks after being raided in their dorm rooms by the veterans. Most had their heads shaved, but one exception is linebacker Maugaula Tuitele. The rookie free agent out of Colorado State is known for his long-flowing ponytail. Somehow he managed to keep it, having only a neater, more clean-shaven look to show for his "initiation." He says it's the first time he's been free of facial hair since he was 16.
The team will have another walk-through practice in Canton on Sunday night and will visit the Hall of Fame as group. Game time Monday is set for 7 p.m.