Willie McGinest was back on the field and took part in an instruction-based, spirited session Tuesday afternoon at Bryant College.
McGinest split his time working with the linebackers on some drills and with the defensive linemen on other drills. On his first day back, he worked his way in with the first defensive unit during the team portions of the practice.
Under bright skies and humid temperatures, relieved only by occasional breezes, the Patriots wore shorts, helmets and shoulder pads for the two-hour session highlighted by a rotation of positional drills and an extended team session.
In a practice that began over the weekend, Head Coach Bill Belichick gave veterans Bobby Hamilton, Anthony Pleasant, Roman Phifer and Christian Fauria the afternoon off. The players attended the session dress only in shorts and jerseys and watched from the sidelines.
Following a rotation of positional drills, the running backs went one on one with the linebackers and the wide receivers went one on one with the defensive backs in pass coverage. The linebackers and running backs proved rather evenly matched in their battles, with each side getting the upper hand on various reps of the drill. On a somewhat negative note, Rohan Davey continued to be rather erratic with his throws in this drill and throughout the afternoon session. While he shows flashes of brilliance and obviously has a strong arm, there are times when his throws are well off the mark.
In the extended team portion of practice the opposing units lined up on opposite sidelines of the field and substituted players onto the field as if it were a game situation. The battle on this day had to go to the defense. While both sides made some plays in the session, the defensive unit came up with multiple interceptions and kept the offense from moving the ball with any regularity. The biggest play for the offense came when a Brady pass was tipped at the line of scrimmage and appeared headed for the land of interceptions. But Troy Brown snatched the ball out of the air and advanced it for positive yardage.
In the team session the physicality of the drill was not overly limited by the fact that the players were in shorts. As is customary in many of the drills, the players did their best to remain on their feet during play, but were still able to put forth an impressive physical effort. The contact level on and around the line of scrimmage was high and rarely did it appear that the players were shying away in terms of initial contact.
In one of the more humorous developments of camp, veteran defensive backs Ty Law and Lawyer Milloy have taken to mimicking quarterback Tom Brady for his excitable, boisterous, enthusiastic nature on the football field. Midway through the afternoon session Brady completed a pass to Jimmy Farris in the end zone, on which Farris made a tremendous diving catch. Following the play Brady was rather vocal in his celebration of the play and his complements for Farris. A few plays later Brady threw into the end zone again, but this time Law made a leaping interception. Law proceeded to celebrate in quite an animated nature and directed the celebration towards Brady. Twice later in practice the defense made plays, once on a Milloy interception of Brady, in which Law and Milloy openly mimicked Brady's style of post-play celebration and directed the display at the quarterback. For his part, based on his smirking response to the defensive outbursts, Brady seems to be taking the ribbing in the good-natured way that it is being sent.
Scott McCready joined the list of receivers making impressive catches. He made a nice one-handed catch in a drill with the quarterbacks and then made a tough catch in the corner of the end zone in the team session when they moved down the field and worked in the Red Zone. … Farris had another impressive practice. Not only did he make the diving catch that brought on Brady's praise, but later in the same drill he made an over-the-shoulder catch in the end zone. … Mike Vrabel, Kenyatta Jones and Jace Sayler all took the infamous punishment lap during the practice. … Matt Chatham was the only addition to the injured group on the stationary bikes. … The kickoff team worked during the special teams segment. The first group consisted of Tebucky Jones, Antwan Harris, Patrick Pass, Fred Coleman and Deion Branch to the right of kicker Adam Vinatieri. Larry Izzo, Je'Rod Cherry, Ryan Phillips, J.R. Redmond and Victor Green lined up to his left. … Branch pulled a ball off of his shoe tops for a catch in the team segment. The catch was even more impressive considering he was entangled in some questionable contact with Otis Smith when he made the catch