Bill Belichick was happy with the intensity at practice so far during camp, but the Patriots head coach also is concerned with the amount of injuries that have piled up early on.
With that in mind, Belichick decided to lighten the load for the team over the weekend, holding just one practice on Friday and allowing the players a rare day off on Saturday. The players were obviously grateful as they worked with just helmets for about an hour late Friday morning.
Despite the mundane workout, the Patriots still were able to make some news. First, linebacker Roman Phifer officially joined the team for the practice and took over T.J. Turner's spot at outside linebacker. Phifer passed the conditioning run and became the second former Jet linebacker to join the team this week after Bryan Cox signed on Tuesday.
Also, Andy Katzenmoyer took part in practice, doing all the running drills with his fellow linebackers. Belichick said the Big Kat completed all the tests from the Patriots, but is still a little ways from being resolved as far as having contact in practice.
"The information is in as far as what we can do," Belichick said. "There are some decisions to be made and I think they rest with Andy and whatever other people he wants to consult with."
Katzenmoyer would not comment of his situation and his future with the team remains unclear.
On the field, the team worked on several sub-packages on both sides of the ball. The offense juggled multi-receiver sets with two-tight end formations and one-back lineups.
On defense, the nickel and dime units got some work, including Terrance Shaw, who returned to practice for the first time after injuring his left shoulder in the first practice of camp.
Belichick did put the troops through some strenuous sprints on the hot and humid day before bringing the practice to a close, but with a day off looming on the horizon, the players were more than happy to put in the extra work.