Several players who have been out were back in pads Monday morning, and there were signs that others are also continuing to progress well.
The Patriots were in full pads for the session, but they did not go full speed. Part of that may have been because of the very wet field conditions caused by heavy rains early Monday morning and throughout the weekend. The weather conditions actually forced the team to practice on a new field, in part because they did not want to wreck the regular practice fields.
One of the players who donned pads was running back Robert Edwards, who has missed all of camp until Sunday because of a nagging groin injury. Edwards participated in the walk-through period of practice, and after the team stretched out together, he went to the sidelines and ran with linebacker Andy Katzenmoyer, who was not in pads. Head Coach Bill Belichick said Edwards would participate in the afternoon practice, but the coach held him out in the morning because the field was so wet.
Also back in pads were cornerbacks Terrance Shaw and Leonard Myers, defensive end Brandon Mitchell, tackle/guard Adrian Klemm. Shaw (shoulder injury) and Klemm (elbow) wore red "no contact" jerseys, but the fact that they were out there is a good sign. Mitchell, who like Edwards has missed all of camp, did limited work in his first day back.
Along with Klemm, the offensive line started to come back together with the fully cleared Damien Woody and Joe Andruzzi back at center and right guard respectively. Both players spent most of last week wearing the red shirts in practice, but neither donned the warning jersey in the morning. Finally, though he is not back on the field yet, guard Mike Compton appeared to being doing well in his rehabilitation from a calf injury. He walked to lunch without the large leg pad he has been wearing since the injury occurred.
In the practice itself, New England worked on multiple tight end sets and goal line situations. In the special teams work, the kick return unit worked on handling squib kicks.
Giving George a chance to find a team
Belichick said a major reason for waiving safety Tony George over the weekend was to give the third-year player a chance to catch on with a new team. The coach said George's style focused a lot on hitting hard and being a physical presence. While that is something the defensive backs on the roster have to do, Belichick didn't feel New England's scheme was the best fit for George.
"I think Tony is going to play somewhere in the league," Belichick said. "He has improved quite a bit and he has good qualities for a football player. I felt like my relationship with Tony grew in the last year, but it just wasn't going to work out here. This hopefully will give him a chance to find a team where he can fit in, from a scheme standpoint, a little better than what he would here. I felt like I needed to give him that opportunity because he really has worked hard and has given us a real good effort."
The competition at safety is also very strong. Lawyer Milloy, Tebucky Jones, Matt Stevens and Antwan Harris were all ahead of George, and rookie Hakim Akbar has shown signs of catching up.
Rookies get wet
With some help from Mother Nature, there was a bit of rookie initiation following the morning practice. All of the rooks, who already have had their heads shaved, took a running start and dove through a large puddle on the sidelines, slip-and-slide style. The veterans cheered each guy as he went, with the loudest hoots and hollers going to running back Walter Williams, offensive/defensive lineman Stephen Neal and defensive tackle Jace Sayler. Each of those three jumped high in the air and came down in a belly-flop, creating huge splashes… Belichick said the team would not bring in anyone new to be the Patriots quarterbacks coach. Rather than bring in someone from outside the organization, he and the other coaches, particularly offensive coordinator Charlie Weis, will take on a larger role to make up for the loss of Dick Rehbein… Belichick said there is still no news from the team concerning wide receiver Terry Glenn.