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Training Camp Notebook: Day 5 P.M.

News and notes from Monday afternoon's practice.

Who's Hot: The Offensive Line
They got Tom Brady good on his 32nd birthday (details below).

Who's Not: Paris Lenon
The free agent linebacker got burnt a few times in passing situations and has yet to make many positive plays in these first few days of camp.

Play of Practice: *Welker TD from Brady
*In red zone work, Brady made a great pre-snap blitz pick-up, sensing that Gary Guyton and/or Brandon Meriweather were gunning for him up the middle. Brady appeared to call for a new protection scheme, which got both players to retreat a bit from the line of scrimmage. In that moment of hesitation by the defense, Brady called for a quick snap, which caught the defense off-guard. WR Wes Welker ran a nice corner route and easily separated from rookie Darius Butler. Brady lofted the ball to Welker in the right corner of the end zone for the score.

Absent from the 10th practice of training camp were Jonathan Wilhite, Shawn Springs, Tedy Bruschi, Al Johnson, George Bussey, Ryan O'Callaghan, Benjamin Watson, Le Kevin Smith, Myron Pryor and Richard Seymour. The boys on PUP/NFI remained on those lists – Brandon Tate, Rich Ohrnberger, Mark LeVoir, Darryl Richard, Ty Warren and Shawn Crable. Randy Moss and Stephen Neal were back after missing the morning workout.

Those players in attendance for the Monday afternoon practice did so in shorts and shells (smaller shoulder pads). The focus of the session was on a red zone and two-minute work, as well as punt coverage.

Noteworthy plays:

  • It was a good day for the offense. From the drills in individual work to the actual application of that during the team period, Tom Brady found open receivers and rarely missed them. It was one of the better afternoons for the guys in white shirts. Brady threw several touchdown passes to different receivers in both 7-on-7 and full squad action.
  • Butler was beaten not only by Welker, but also by Moss for a score. But the rookie came back later and made a nice defensive play on what would have been another TD for Moss. Butler timed his jump just right and batted the ball out of the corner of the end zone.
  • Rookie safety Pat Chung also made a great defensive effort on Moss. During a red zone play, backup QB Kevin O'Connell rocketed a pass over the middle to Moss, who was cutting across the back of the end zone. It looked like a sure six until Chung came diving in from behind Moss, outstretching his arm to knock the ball away.
  • Moss had his moments, though. Later in a 7-on-7 series, he made a one-handed grab in the corner of the end zone for a touchdown. The crowd let out a joyous roar.
  • Pats owner Robert Kraft made an appearance midway through the practice.
  • Rookie Julian Edelman is getting better at fielding punts. He still has his struggles, but he's working on it. Before practice, he and Welker caught punts off a Jugs machine. But the task was made more difficult. Not only were they holding a ball in one hand, but they also had to toss it in the air as they caught the incoming punt, and then had to re-catch the first ball, kind of like a juggler who looks to add more items to his routine. For the most part, they pulled it off. At one point, Welker caught one, tossed another in the air and caught it again, and then grabbed a third with one hand while he tossed one of the two in the air again. He wound up with all three footballs before he was done.
  • The punt unit got some situational work in as they tried some plus-50 kicks, downing the ball near the goal line and working under a heavy rush.
  • During the two-minute drill, Brady's first play from deep in his own territory was a bomb to WR Joey Galloway, who hauled in the pass at around the 10-yard line. The next play was an incompletion to Moss, then a short gain to Faulk inside the 5. Brady looked for Moss again in the back of the end zone, but Meriweather was there to make the interception, foiling the drive. Meriweather ran the ball out to about the 3-yard line, before falling to the ground to end the series. He celebrated by doing a little Curly Shuffle-type thing. Cradling the ball under his left arm, he used that as an axis, around which he spun himself by pushing off with his legs in a counter-clockwise direction. The crowd got a big kick out of Meriweather's spontaneous antics.
  • After the morning practice, Brady and tight end Chris Baker stayed a little late to work on some red zone routes. The extra time payed off in the afternoon, when Brady and Baker hooked up for a nice touchdown during 7-on-7 action. Baker made a nice move to the inside slot and Brady's pass was perfect. The play was especially noteworthy because the two failed to connect on a similar play in the morning.
  • As noted, Brady's birthday celebrations weren't limited to the morning practice, when fans came equipped with numerous signs and giant cards to honor him. Matt Light stole the quarterback's helmet during the pre-practice stretching routine and Brady looked embarrassed that he couldn't find it for a while. Once he did, the team came together to start practice, but not before Dan Koppen delivered a cake to No. 12's face. No sooner did that happen then Light doused him with a bucket of water. It took Brady a good five minutes to join his fellow quarterbacks as he wiped off the cake residue with a towel.
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