]()The Patriots put the finishing touches on the final training camp practice open to the public Wednesday evening with a two-hour workout in full pads. There were a few notable faces missing including Tom Brady, Adalius Thomas, Randy Moss and Ty Warren.
Warren hasn't suited up since leaving the field after two plays against Tampa Bay last Friday, but it's unclear why Brady and Thomas missed the practice. Thomas was sporting a slight limp as he walked off the field following Tuesday's workout but there has been no indication that's the reason for his absence.
With the veteran's practice done earlier in the morning before the media was allowed to attend, perhaps Brady got his work in at that time and was given the afternoon off to rest.
In addition to that group, Artrell Hawkins, Larry Anam, Gemara Williams, Kyle Bissinger, Billy Yates, Kyle Brady and Mike Wright all missed practice, as did the five players on PUP.
Much of the 7-on-7 work was done around the goal line andMatt Cassel delivered the ball crisply and accurately. He found Garrett Mills on a couple of occasions and also hit Donte' Stallworth in front of Brandon Meriweather. Overall the offense found the end zone more often than not during the drill.
The focus then shifted to the running game as the first offense went against a defense full of backups at the goal line. Heath Evans served as the tailback and found paydirt on both of his attempts from the 1.
The first defense came on moments later with Kenny Smith replacing Warren at left defensive end with Wright also on the sidelines. Junior Seau manned the inside linebacker next to Tedy Bruschi, but Bruschi switched to the strong side. The defensive line had some changes a few plays in withKareem Brown, Le Kevin Smith and Santonio Thomas replacing the first group while the remainder of the unit stayed the same.
Matt Gutierrez – With Brady nowhere in sight, the third-stringer moved up a notch and got many more opportunities than is normally the case. Generally he did a nice job with them making some nice throws in traffic, the most impressive of which went to tight end Brian Jones in the back of end zone with several blue shirts in the vicinity.
No one – Since this was the final practice we're allowed to monitor from start to finish, PFW is taking the high road. The practice had a light-hearted aspect to it from start to finish and there were no glaring errors to report. Let the games begin.
]()Play(s) of the day:* During a two-minute drill late in practice, Cassel hit a streaking Stallworth on a deep crossing route that picked up a large chunk of yardage. Two plays later, Cassel hit* Benjamin Watson** in stride on an out pattern for the touchdown. It was one of the rare times during camp when the offense got the better of the defense in hurry-up mode.
Have a nice day
Long-time Belichick friend Jon Bon Jovi was a guest at practice and on the field for the evening workout. Perhaps as an homage to his friend's arrival, Belichick had Bon Jovi's greatest hits blaring through the speakers throughout the morning session. The singer and part owner of the Arena League's Philadelphia Soul is a frequent visitor to Patriots training camp. Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft took some time to speak with Bon Jovi and his guests.
Bad hair dayAnother custom of training camp is the rookie haircuts, which were administered between sessions on Wednesday. Zach West and Clint Oldenburg were treated particularly harshly. West had a shaved top and sides but a full head of hair in the back while Oldenburg was left with alternating stripes of hair throughout his head. Mike Richardson was missing his eyebrows while Oscar Lua featured patches in various spots on his head. The rookie initiations continued down in the far end of the field where the coaches had wet down a strip of field for the players to slide around as they tried to catch passes in the slop.
Lonie Paxton's long snapping acumen is well documented and he added another moment to his legend before practice. Standing at the 20-yard line, Paxton let one go and hit the cross bar directly in the middle, much like he did in Denver back in 2003 when the Patriots took an intentional safety. … The pre-practice routine consisted of plenty of return work with Bam Childress, C.J. Jones, Kevin Faulk, Sammy Morris, Laurence Maroney, Ellis Hobbs,Willie Andrews and Wes Welker all getting reps. … Perhaps a positive sign for rookie linebacker Justin Rogers came when he received some instruction from special teams coach Brad Seely before practice. Working as one of the front five on the punt team, Rogers lined up next two Paxton under Seely's watchful eye. If Rogers is to make the club he'll need to prove his value on special teams. … Special teams work continued as Josh Miller, Danny Baugher and Tom Malone alternated bombing punts to Childress, Welker and Faulk.