The Patriots went back to work Sunday morning, moving their workout to the FieldTurf practice area in order to give the regular fields time to recover from late-night rains that left them unplayable. Threatening morning skies gave way to bright sunshine throughout the session, giving the fans who lined the perimeter a chance to see their team in action.
The players sported shells and helmets after two days a physical workouts, including what Bill Belichick called a pair of hard practices on Saturday. The bulk of the work focused on multiple tight end, running sets with even some goal line work featured near the end of the morning.
The team also practiced situational running work, taking several third-and-one reps both on the goal line and in regular spots. While it's tough to tell who is getting the edge with no actual contact taking place, the offense caught the defense on a number of occasions by sneaking a receiver into the flat.
Patrick Pass was the beneficiary of one play, taking a short flip from Damon Huard and picking up an easy first down. Later, Rodney Trafford found himself uncovered on a pair of goal line plays, although Huard misfired on one and overshot his intended target.
The practice featured the fulltime return of Ty Law, who did get some work in on Saturday while wearing his helmet and shoulder pads. During the team period, rookies Eugene Wilson and Asante Samuel remained as the starters at corner (Otis Smith is still out of action), but Law took Samuel's spot on the third play. Count the veteran among those impressed by the rookies' play thus far.
"Wilson reminds me of myself at that age, he's very confident at a young age and he's pretty quiet," said Law, who drew laughs from the press corps with the latter remark. "Both of those guys are very athletic but you have to be careful not to give them too much credit before the lights come on and we at least get to see them in the preseason."
Huard received more reps while Tom Brady seemed to get a bit of a rest. The veteran backup looked good handling the increased workload as he fights to keep his No. 2 spot ahead of Rohan Davey, who is being given the opportunity to move up the depth chart.
Veteran cornerback Tyrone Poole, who in a story on Patriots.com on Saturday expressed some discontent with his role thus far in camp, did not back off any of those sentiments following practice. In the story, Poole indicated that another factor in his unhappiness is his family situation. While he's trying to learn a new system with the Patriots, his wife, Jennifer, and two children remain in Atlanta.
"My wife wants to venture into corporate America and unlike football where you're here for 50 percent of the time and there for the offseason, she needs to be there," Poole said. "She's in the process of trying to get into corporate America and I can't play this game forever."
Since Poole retired once during his career already (in 2001 while with the Denver Broncos), the question was asked if he's considering a second departure from the game. His response did little to quell those rumors either way. "It's like a cloudy day, you don't know if it's going to rain until the raindrops start falling," he said.
When asked if Poole had received less time with the defense than expected, Belichick pointed out that wasn't the case. "I think the reps have been pretty close to balanced at this point," Belichick said. "Probably every players wants more reps but when you have 85 guys in camp you can't give everyone the amount of reps they want."
Wide receivers Troy Brown and David Patten sat out the practice, working instead on the stationary bikes and Stairmaster machines. Belichick said they "had a little bit of tightness" and decided to back off while they recuperated, hopefully avoiding any more serious problems down the road. … For the second straight day, the team worked out under the watchful eyes of three NFL officials. With the exception of one flag tossed during a goal line play, their presence was barely noticeable. … Outside linebacker and special teamer Matt Chatham rotated in the regular defense, switching back and forth with Rosevelt Colvin. … Even though the players weren't in full pads, that didn't stop safety Je'Rod Cherry from lowering the boom on Daniel Graham after the tight end caught a short pass from Davey. … Special teams coach Brad Seely put his troops through some punt blocking drills, having Daniel Pope do the kicking while several players raced in with dives before making the block. … Kevin Faulk, Deion Branch, Dedric Ward and rookie Bethel Johnson alternated while returning punts. Johnson coughed one up under heavy pressure, although he may have been interfered with as he tried to make the catch on a short kick. … Belichick ended the practice with the entire team running 50 yards at about three quarters speed. … Monday's schedule currently has the team set to practice in the morning from 9 a.m.-11 a.m. (open to the public) while the evening workout in the stadium is open to season ticket holders and Foxborough residents only. As always, check with Patriots.com or call the information hotline at (508) 543-1776 for the latest details on practice times.