New England had a light, no-pads practice Wednesday afternoon. For the most part the team worked on substitute packages and getting groups on and off the field.
The workout was likely a precursor to what the Patriots will work on during the closed practice at Foxboro Stadium Thursday night. During his press conference, Head Coach Bill Belichick said the team will have pretty much a normal practice, but playing in the stadium under the lights will help create a more realistic environment.
"Being at the stadium, and being there at night, there are some things that we want to try and take advantage of, such as the kick and ball handling at night in preparation for the preseason games," Belichick said. "We also want to get some game-like substitutions to help make sure that our communication with the coaches and the quarterbacks is good and we are able to substitute people as we would in a game. Those are things we can work on down there at the stadium in a more realistic way."
In the action that did take place, the defense seemed to have much of the upper hand. Linebacker Bryan Cox and safety Lawyer Milloy each nearly intercepted Drew Bledsoe passes. However, quarterback Tom Brady did manage to hit tight end Jermaine Wiggins in the back of the end zone for a red area touchdown. Wiggins juggled the pass, but was able to control it while toeing the back line.
Because the offensive line is lacking so many bodies, defensive lineman Stephen Neal, the former wrestling champion, donned a white jersey and practiced at right guard and tackle. Brown product Drew Inzer got some looks with the first-unit at left guard, as did Josh Rawlings, the All-NFL Europe performer.