A light workout for New England as they stare down a bye week.
Steady, light rain greeted the Patriots in their first practice since returning from the U.K. The team was on their game field in the Gillette Stadium bowl for a shells and sweatpants workout late this afternoon.
Not surprisingly, with no game on the schedule this weekend, a large number of players were absent from the session – 11 total, to be precise: rookie WR Julian Edelman, RBs Fred Taylorand Sammy Morris, CB Shawn Springs, LBs Jerod Mayo and Junior Seau, LT Matt Light, NT Vince Wilfork, WR Randy Moss, and DLs Ty Warrenand Jarvis Green.
Afterward, rookie WR Brandon Tate, fresh off the non-football injury list and active against the Bucs, spoke for a few minutes with reporters about his NFL debut this past Sunday in London.
"I went out and made the most of it," he said. "It felt real good. I hadn't been out there on the field in so long, and to take a trip to London was also big for me. I just soaked it all in and enjoyed it."
He admitted that before kickoff, he experienced some jitters. But, he added, those quickly dissipated after he took an end-around handoff on his first play and ran 11 yards for a first down.
"When I first went out there and saw how big the stadium was, that's when the butterflies came. But once I went out there and got tackled, I was all right."
TE Benjamin Watsonrecounted how the London trip was a "good experience" for him and his teammates. The Patriots used the extra time away from home to strengthen team unity by spending quality time together away from the field.
"It was important. As a team, you don't get to go on those field trips. Usually, we just break from work and go home to the family," Watson explained, "but we were forced to hang out together and eat dinner together and go out and experience a new city together. So, it was good."
With the Patriots bye week coming up this weekend at the midway point of the season, Watson pointed out that New England, like most teams, could use the time off to recharge for the back stretch of the schedule. The next time the Pats take the field for a game will be a week from Sunday, at home versus division rival Miami.
"The bye week's always good, especially in the middle of the season, so we can divide the season into two halves. Now, we're just focused on this next day of getting better and getting a little rest and healing up some wounds during the bye, and then focusing on Miami, whose a good football team."