The Patriots continued on the week's theme of highlighting situations during a physically light Sunday morning workout focused on metal reps that will precede a nighttime full pads practice held inside Gillette Stadium.
The team worked on substitutions and sideline signals while also focusing on the 2:00 drill. About 10 minutes into the team portion of practice, linebacker Rosevelt Colvin made his training camp debut, replacing Willie McGinest on the field.
There was no contact during the practice, but Colvin's removal from the PUP list is a major step in his return to full duty. He will ease his way back in and it would be surprising to see him play Friday night in the preseason opener, but he will practice in pads tonight and begin the process of catching up to his teammates.
"We felt like it was a good day to get back out there," Colvin said Sunday morning. "I always said the hip would tell me if I was ready and it's pretty much been feeling the same for the last couple of weeks and it's not regressing. I talked to the training staff and the coach and we all agreed that today would be the day.
"I'm keeping my [emotions] in check. I wasn't in the locker room playing One Shining Moment or anything like that. It's a step in the right direction. We have to keep building days upon days."
"He's making steady progress," Head Coach Bill Belichick said. "He's not there yet. This will be his first day in pads and he has to through the process just like everybody else."
Colvin wasn't the only player making his camp debut. Tight end Christian Fauria and linebackers Willie McGinest and Eric Alexander also practiced for the first time.
Much of the morning situational work did, however, include specific plays that may never come up during a season – something Belichick always covers with his team as a just-in-case. Belichick was instructing defenders on kicking or getting a loose ball out of bounds in the end zone. The team also worked on Hail Mary defense, onside kicks and a red zone scramble drill where the receivers stray from their routes to get open while the quarterback buys time.
"We worked on a couple of those situations today," Belichick confirmed. "You can't do it all at once. We try to break it up into segments. It's a cumulative process. This is the best time to do it because you can allocate the time to it."
While McGinest, Fauria, Alexander and Colvin returned to practice, several Patriots remained sidelined, including cornerbacks Christian Morton and Randall Gay; safety Je'Rod Cherry; linebackers Ted Johnson and Matt Chatham; offensive linemen Tim Provost, Matt Light and Tom Ashworth; long snapper Lonie Paxton; wide receivers Bethel Johnson and David Givens; and defensive lineman Richard Seymour. … New defensive lineman Dana Stubblefield worked in at end in place of Seymour while Jarvis Green took some snaps with the ones in place of Ty Warren, who appeared to be slowed, but still practiced. …Offensive lineman Bob Hallen rotated in with the first team at both guard spots and center, stepping for Joe Andruzzi, Dan Koppen and Russ Hochstein during the situational work. … Terrell Buckley remains the first nickel back even after Asante Samuel's return from the sideline while Green and Dan Klecko were the inside rushers. … After two days off, the team ran 100-yard "sprints" at three-quarter speed at the end of practice. … Belichick said that his team has a ways to go to be ready for the season. "We're not there yet by any stretch of the imagination," he said. "But we're closer than we were a week ago." ...A Patriots "non-stadium" training camp record 6,656 fans watched practice Sunday morning on the fields behind Gillette Stadium.
A crowd of 18,036 fans attended a special season ticket holder in-stadium practice back on Aug. 3. The team has now drawn 59,633 fans to their 12 public practices.