Right back at it
For the second straight practice, Bill Belichick worked his team out in full pads. Tuesday afternoon, in the day's only workout, Belichick was unhappy with his team's practice effort or sharpness and he let it know it in a post-practice huddle. He then ordered the team to run five timed sprints.
He didn't let up Wednesday morning, as the team again worked out in full pads. Belichick took his foot off the gas pedal over the weekend because he recognized his players' hard work, but Tuesday afternoon he sent the message that training camp will not become your every day summer camp.
Wednesday, the tempo was up during the team session with red zone and goal line work receiving the most attention. The first units didn't receive work against each other, however, as scout teams played against the first offensive and defensive teams.
While we won't pretend to know exactly that the Giants offense scheme is, it appeared that preparation for the preseason opener was at least part of the focus. The Giants offense shifts quite a bit and the Patriots reserve offensive players were motioning quite often, most likely simulating the Giants.
The Patriots offensive line is again an area to watch. An area thought to be a strength with the return of all five starters from last season suddenly looks thin.
Guard Joe Andruzzi has not practiced after undergoing a knee procedure. Damien Woody is out with a shoulder injury. Greg Robinson-Randall is running with the second unit and Matt Light just recently returned to the practice field.
The first unit up front Wednesday morning featured GrantWilliams/Matt Light (rotating on the left side) and Kenyatta Jones at the tackles, former wrestler Stephen Neal and Mike Compton at the guards and Grey Ruegamer at center. Only Compton and Light were in the same spots as last year. Compton hasn't even worked that much at guard during camp, instead taking snaps at center while Woody's works at guard. It's left the line in flux for the third year in a row as the preseason gets set to open.
Defensively, Tebucky Jones and Victor Green both see action on the first team and both are in the field in subpackages as well. Injuries continue to be a concern in the secondary. Cornerback Leonard Myers will be out a few weeks, Brock Williams remains out with an ankle injury and Tom Knight and Ben Kelly still haven't done much other than ride the exercise bikes. The regulars appear as strong as ever with Otis Smith having a terrific camp on one side and Ty Law matching him on the other. Lawyer Milloy has been his steady self and the tandem of Jones and Green are fitting in well.
Some of the highlights from the workout included quarterback Rohan Davey's deep connection with wideout T.C. Taylor. Also Jones made a nifty interception on a Brady pass to Deion Branch over the middle. Branch reached out with only one hand to catch the ball and ended up tipping it into Jones' arms.
Tom Brady's practice enthusiasm may have been the reason behind some practice joking. This is pure speculation, but Damon Huard fired a touchdown pass to Donald Hayes during red zone work and then turned toward the defensive backs sitting out the play and started pumping his fist in celebration, drawing some chuckles from his defensive teammates. Brady is often animated after a play is executed well and celebrates accordingly.
Defenders like Law and Milloy enjoy giving it back to him when the defense turns in a gem. It is most likely part of what makes the chemistry on the Patriots what it appears to be and what it was last year.