The Patriots returned to their normal practice schedule for the first time since last Thursday as they completed the second session of their workouts on Monday afternoon. After a spirited practice in the morning, Head Coach Bill Belichick stressed the importance establishing consistency but the players had trouble putting back-to-back quality efforts together.
The quarterbacks spent the first part of practice working on their ball-handling and short passing games with the running backs and tight ends. At the same the offensive and defensive linemen engaged in some one-on-one combat, with the defensive players getting the better of it against an inexperienced group of protectors pressed into service by the variety of injuries to the starters. One youngster, rookie tackle Greg Robinson-Randall, more than held his own, though, getting the better of a pair of matchups with Bobby Hamilton and Jeff Marriott.
The team period focused on the passing game, as is generally the case in the afternoon. Drew Bledsoe worked the ball nicely to Vincent Brisby and Terry Glenn, but the throw of the day came from Michael Bishop. The second-year man is made a case for a larger role in the offense with a perfectly thrown bullet over the middle that hit Glenn in stride.
Unfortunately he was unable to build on that during his next set of plays. He sent four straight errant throws into the turf nowhere near his intended target, drawing the ire of offensive coordinator Charlie Weis.
Although the intensity the workout seemed high, the execution deteriorated as the afternoon wore on. Safety Tony George got an earful from Belichick when he lined up on the wrong receiver during one play, and the wide receivers, the rookies in particular, infuriated their coach, Ivan Fears, to the point where he made them walk through their routes after practice. Overall, the coaches seemed to be dissatisfied with the effort.
On the injury front, linebacker Chris Slade had his left leg heavily wrapped for the start of practice and was forced to the sideline after getting beaten by tight end Eric Bjornson down the middle early in the team session. Marc Megna replaced him with the first group. Neither Max Lane nor Ryan Tajague participated in the afternoon workout after sustaining knee injuries in the morning.