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Intensity picks up, injuries add up

After getting back to work Sunday, the Patriots had a good, hard practice Monday morning. Head Coach Bill Belichick had his players hitting in full pads with the offensive and defensive lines battling each other throughout the morning.

The lines went at each other at full speed, with both sides taking turns with momentum. During a running drill, the offensive line opened big holes for Raymont Harris and Kevin Faulk. At one point, Belichick shouted at the defense, "Are we going to show up here?"

A short time later, Chris Slade and Willie McGinest broke through the line on consecutive plays. Slade stopped Harris in the backfield, and then McGinest got to Bledsoe almost before the snap did, which did not make offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia happy.

Several younger linemen on both sides of the ball received coaching praise during the hitting drills. Defensive tackles Reggie Grimes and Jeff Marriott did well, as did guard Adam Davis.

"We felt like we didn't do a real good job of coming out and being real focused yesterday," said Grimes, who is getting extra reps due to an injury to Brandon Mitchell. "We didn't have a lot of intensity, and we were kind of sluggish. We made up our minds to come out today and have a better practice overall."

Larry Whigham delivered the hit of the day during a punt coverage drill. Whigham, a former special teams Pro Bowler, ran past the blocking of Antonio Langham and Chris Carter and zoned in on return man Tony Gaiter. Gaiter was watching the ball and never saw Whigham, who drilled Gaiter an instant after the ball came down.

Offensive guard Derrick Fletcher also leveled a bit hit on defensive tackle Maurice Anderson. Fletcher was pulling to the right side on a pass when he sent Anderson flying.

The physical practice included a couple more injuries to the offensive line. Max Lane injured his right knee and was held out of the second half of the morning practice. Lane, who has worked hard to rehab an injury during the offseason, threw his helmet a couple times in frustration as he came off the field. Rookie guard Ryan Tujague also suffered an injury.

The other linemen dinged up besides Lane and Tujague are Todd Rucci, Bruce Armstrong, Grant Williams, Lance Scott and Adrian Klemm. By the end of practice, the offensive line was Jason Andersen at left tackle, Fletcher at left guard, Damien Woody at center, Davis at right guard and Greg Robinson-Randall at right tackle.

The injury list also included kicker James Kibble, defensive back Mike Woods, wide receivers Aaron Bailey and Matt Bumgardner, defensive linemen Brandon Mitchell and Henry Thomas, linebackers Chad Cascadden and Ted Johnson, and tight end Dave Stachelski. Johnson wore shoulder pads out to the practice, but did not participate. Wide receiver Martinez Williams made his first appearance in practice.

Redmond addresses the media

Rookie running back J.R. Redmond, who ended his holdout by signing on Sunday, spoke with the media for the first time Monday. Redmond, who is still recovering from minor groin surgery, said he was just happy to be a part of the team.

"To be honest, the only thing I can say about that is that I'm happy to be signed and I'm here with the rest of the team," Redmond said when asked about the holdout. "I just want the chance to get back on the field and play."

Redmond ran laps around the field during practice and appeared to be comfortable running straight ahead at half speed. He said he doesn't have a set date for a return. Redmond also said he would be confident when he steps on the field for the first time, and he likes that Harris and Faulk, the players Redmond are competing with, are each having a strong camp.

"There's definitely not any insecurity. As far as anxiety, there may be some because I want to be out there with my teammates," said Redmond, who also hung around the punt returners during special teams work prior to practice. "As far as the other guys getting good reviews, that's good, because it's going to take all of us to play this game. We need all of us to get through the season. I'm happy they are getting good reviews because that makes my job and all of our jobs that much easier."

Serwanga not impressing himself

Second-year cornerback Kato Serwanga has been taking almost all the snaps with the first-unit defense. That's an impressive feat, especially when you consider Serwanga was a practice squad player in 1998.

"I'm just doing what I do. I don't toot my own horn. All I can do is go out there and do what I do, that's it," Serwanga said. "Every since I got here I've said I do what I do, and I just let things happen. I just make sure I play good football."

Heading into camp, Serwanga was expected to battle with Tebucky Jones and Langham for the corner opposite Ty Law. There doesn't appear to be much competition, as Jones has been working at safety and Langham has been either with the second unit or used as a nickel back. Serwanga isn't taking anything for granted, but he isn't surprised by what he has done either.

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