The Patriots practiced in shorts, shells, and helmets Wednesday on their training camp double fields behind Gillette Stadium, their first workout of Arizona Cardinals Week.
A mix of good and bad news, as far as attendance was concerned. Running back Shane Vereen (left foot) returned to action after being out since the Tampa Bay preseason game. Offensive lineman Dan Connolly (head) was injured late against Tennessee and did not appear at practice.
A couple transactions were made to the practice squad prior to today's workout. Tight end Alex Silvestro was released and rookie safety Cyhl (pronounced like Kyle) Quarles was added. Quarles played college ball at Wake Forest and spent time with the Ravens this summer. He's wearing jersey number 31.
As is customary following Patriots victories, the team award black jerseys to those players who helped prepare the squad during the previous week's practices. Generally, these are scout team players. This week, four players were honored with the black jerseys: WR Julian Edelman, OL Marcus Cannon, rookie DL Justin Francis, and practice squad LB Jeff Tarpinian.
Cornerback/co-captain Devin McCourty was given the added assignment of returning kicks against Tennessee, something he'd done previously in college at Rutgers. He only had one, but it was a decent one (28 yards). He addressed his new role in the locker room prior to practice. "Just trying to help the team out. Our guys up front do a great job of trying to get on [blockers] and create any type of running lane. My job back there is, when they do create a running lane, to hit it and take advantage of it. I want to make those guys right and make something happen back there."
Meantime, rookies Chandler Jones, Dont'a Hightower, and Tavon Wilson all made big plays against the Titans. Today, their head coach took the opportunity to ensure their debut success didn't go to their heads. "These guys, are you kidding me? They played one game," said Bill Belichick at the close of his daily press briefing. "I don't think any rookie has all the answers after one game. I don't think any experienced coach has the answers after one game either. I mean, it's one game. Everybody needs to be coached, everybody needs to improve, there are a lot of things that everybody needs to do better and I would put the rookies at the absolute top of that list, like not behind anybody – they would be number one. It's going to get a lot harder for them before it gets easier, I'll tell you that."
QB Tom Brady was asked about his nose, which was bloodied and beat up in the second quarter against Tennessee. He didn't say if it was broken only that, "It feels a lot better. It's OK. My wife likes it, so I'm good."
The full injury report will be updated here on the blog later this afternoon.
UPDATE… 6:09 pm
Connolly was, in fact, the only Patriot who did not practice Wednesday. Vereen was limited along with o-linemen Sebastian Vollmer (back) and Nick McDonald (right shoulder); tight end Daniel Fells (shin); cornerbacks Sterling Moore (knee) and rookie Alfonzo Dennard (hamstring). Safety Patrick Chung (shoulder) participated fully.
Out west in Arizona, the Cardinals listed seven players, including starting QB John Skelton (ankle), the only Card who didn't practice. Corner Jamell Fleming (shoulder), linebacker O'Brien Schofield (knee), and strong safety Adrian Wilson (ankle) were limited. Guard Adam Snyder (elbow), corner Greg Toler (hip), and running back Beanie Wells (knee) were full participants.