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Replay: Patriots Unfiltered Fri Nov 27 - 12:00 AM | Sun Nov 29 - 10:40 AM

Patriots strap on the pads

Three, two, one – contact.

That was the theme of this morning's practice as the Patriots strapped on the pads and got after each other. The players went through live 1-on-1 tackling drills with wide receivers going against defensive backs and linebackers taking on the running backs. Results were mixed, but Head Coach Bill Belichick felt the step up in intensity was a welcomed sight.

"We wanted to bring the speed up closer to where it would be under game conditions," Belichick said. "No matter how much work guys do preparing in the offseason, it's almost impossible to simulate these conditions without putting on the pads and hitting."

In addition to the tackling drills, Belichick worked on the inside running game, live goal line situations and finished the workout with rookies going at each other in a team period.

Not surprisingly, there were some memorable hits doled out throughout the practice. Linebacker Andy Katzenmoyer gave running back Kevin Faulk a jolt with a textbook, open-field hit, and cornerback Kato Serwanga did a nice job corralling Tony Simmons during the tackling drills.

The intensity went a notch higher during the traditional end of practice goal line work. The offense, which enjoyed success on Monday and Tuesday, was stymied by an inspired defense today. Raymont Harris followed Max Lane and Greg Robinson-Randall into the end zone on the first play, but the defense pitched a shutout on the final five plays.

The highlight of the drill came on the final play when Faulk dashed through a crease on the left side only to be walloped by reserve linebacker John Munch. As Faulk was knocked off balance, Tebucky Jones smelled blood and finished him off. The ball was knocked loose, much to the delight of the defense, which reacted as if they'd just won the Super Bowl.

CAMP NOTES: The Patriots spent some time working on kickoff returns. Aaron Bailey and Faulk worked with the first unit as return men and Troy Brown, Patrick Pass and Shockmain Davis also handled some kicks. … Davis, a rookie free agent wide receiver out of Angelo State, has opened some eyes with his speed and hands. … Three of the four players who failed Sunday's conditioning test returned to action. John Friesz, Tony George and Derrick Fletcher all completed the run at 6:30 in the morning and then suited up for practice. The fourth player, Martinez Williams, was still on the sideline. … The injured list remained unchanged from Tuesday as Ted Johnson (hamstring), Brandon Mitchell (leg) and Dave Stachelski (toe) did not practice and the offensive line contingent of Lance Scott, Adrian Klemm, Todd Rucci and Bruce Armstrong are still a few weeks away from returning. … Tackle Grant Williams was forced to leave the lineup with an apparent knee injury during the goal line drill.

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