For the second straight practice New England had high intensity, much to the pleasure of Head Coach Bill Belichick.
Despite the absence of guard Joe Panos (retired) and linebacker Andy Katzenmoyer (missing from camp), the Patriots had a strong workout in full pads. Belichick said the general plan for camp will be to work on the running game and play-action passes during the morning sessions, and passing drills in the afternoon, which will normally be conducted in shoulder pads and shorts.
With Panos informing the staff of his decision, Joe Andruzzi is the top candidate at right guard. Belichick said the plan all along had been that Panos, Andruzzi and Mike Compton would battle for the two guard spots. Now Andruzzi and Compton, who is at left guard, are clearly the best options at the spot.
However, Andruzzi felt his back tighten up midway through the morning session and had to leave the field. Neither he nor Belichick felt the injury was serious, but it meant that Adam Davis worked with the first-unit at right guard. Davis, who was on the active roster for one week last season, also found himself with the first string early in camp last year because of a string of injuries.
During the practice, the offensive line opened several impressive holes for the running backs, particularly when the second offense and defense went at it. Kevin Faulk, Walter Williams and fullback Patrick Pass all had big runs against the second defense.
After going through the running plays, the team did some seven-on-seven work in the passing game. The first defense got off to a strong start when Otis Smith nearly intercepted a pass intended for Bert Emanuel. Ted Johnson had strong coverage of tight end Jermaine Wiggins and broke up a throw, and shortly after that cornerback Terrell Buckley came up with an interception.
It wasn't all defense though. Quarterback Damon Huard and tight end Rod Rutledge connected for a nice play. Rutledge held on despite a hard hit from safety Tony George as the ball arrived. Brady then hit David Patten down the right sideline past the coverage from Buckley and safety Matt Stevens.
After some punt block work and a break, the team again went head-to-head at full speed. The action was intense, and after one running play wide receiver Charles Johnson and safety Tebucky Jones had some extracurricular pushing.
The work was productive though. Faulk, who is getting extra chances to reestablish himself on the field because neither Antowain Smith nor Robert Edwards is ready to go, turned a screen pass from Damon Huard into a long gain. Compton did a nice job of getting up field to provide blocking for Faulk, who faked out George, who was trying to make an open field stop.
Wide receiver Tony Simmons made a couple nice plays in the morning session as well. His most impressive play came on a bomb from Michael Bishop down the left sideline. Simmons got behind rookie Leonard Myers. Sean Morey, who has been working some at safety, could not get over to help in time on the play.
Besides Andruzzi (back), the only new name for the injury list was cornerback Terrance Shaw, who hurt his shoulder Thursday afternoon. Shaw, who walked off the field after yesterday's practice with ice on his shoulder, has his left arm in a sling. He fell on the shoulder awkwardly towards the end of practice.
The others out were Edwards (groin); Smith (failed conditioning test); Dane Looker (hamstring); Brandon Mitchell (leg); Jabari Holloway (hamstring); Johnny McWilliams (hamstring); Arther Love (groin) and Willie McGinest (back).