The Patriots returned to the Bryant College practice fields Tuesday afternoon under cooler temperatures. But as has been the case the last few days the team continues to be hampered by minor injuries to some key players.
Damien Woody joined the group of players injured over the last few days that also includes rookie tight end Daniel Graham and Pro Bowl wide receiver Troy Brown. Woody injured his left shoulder mid way through the practice and spent the rest of the day with his pads off and the shoulder wrapped in ice.
Brown, who injured his right knee during the morning session on Monday, has missed the last two practices. Although he has been limited to the sidelines and just a few drills catching balls from the Jugs machine, Brown isn't overly worried about the injury and says he is day to day.
"I'm just taking it day by day," Brown said. "I was fortunate to get up and walk off the field. I'm doing what they ask me to do and taking it day by day. I'm just sick of ice."
As for Graham, the team hasn't discussed his injury officially, but during today's practice he was seen on the sidelines with his left knee wrapped in ice. A possible good sign for both Brown and Graham is that neither player was jettisoned off to work out on the bikes with the usual group of injured players. Instead, both players stayed with their positional groups and remained focused, at least mentally, on the practice.
One player who returned to full action on Tuesday was left tackle Matt Light. Light had been practicing under the protection of a contact-limiting red jersey, but returned to his normal number 72 white jersey and a regular rotation on the offensive line for today's practice.
Practice itself consisted of a usual routine that the team follows for a normal, full pads practice. In one of the early drills the wide receivers and defensive backs went one-on-one. The quarterbacks appeared to have some trouble throwing the deep ball in the drill that took place in heavy winds, the first significant winds of training camp. The question is particularly interesting considering the uncertain wind patterns that could be present at the new Gillette Stadium thanks to its open ends and open concourses.
In the special teams portion of practice the focus was the kick and kick return units. The first unit of kickoff return consisted of Victor Green, Ratcliff Thomas, Larry Izzo, Matt Chatham, and Je'Rod Cherry across the front line. The second line of blockers was Marc Edwards, Tedy Bruschi, Jarvis Green and Mike Vrabel with Deion Branch and Walter Williams back deep to receive.
The kickoff unit had Daryl Porter, Antwan Harris, Patrick Pass, Freddie "Boom-Boom" Coleman and Branch to kicker Adam Vinatieri's right and Izzo, Cherry, Ryan Phillips, Williams and Victor Green to his left.
The last significant portion of practice included the Patriots first and second offensive and defensive units working against scout teams. The first units on both sides of the ball remained as they have been for much of the camp, with the exception of Stephen Neal working in at right guard on the offensive line in place of Woody.
Defensive tackle Maurice Anderson made two standout plays in the practice. He tipped and intercepted a Damon Huard pass mid way through the day, and later made a nice play in the offensive backfield for a loss during the team segment. … Richard Seymour saw a little more physical action in drills and even worked his way into the first team defense on occasion. … Matt Chatham was back in full pads for the practice. … The team ran five timed sprints back and forth across the width of the field following the conclusion of practice. The players broke into three groups for the running: running backs/receivers/defensive backs, tight ends/fullbacks/linebackers and linemen. … Brock Williams remained with the injured players, but was without the restrictive plastic boot that he had been wearing. … David Patten had a number of nice catches on the day, including one under double coverage deep along the sideline during the team session.