With a full-contact in-stadium practice scheduled for 7 p.m. tonight for season ticket holders, the Patriots went the light route for the Tuesday morning practice.
Most of the veteran returning players worked without helmets or pads in a walkthrough situation while younger guys and newcomers did some walkthrough and live team drills in helmets and shoulder pads.
NFL officials are in town for a couple of days and after addressing the team at 4:30 about rule changes and "points of emphasis" they will be an active part of the nighttime full pads practice.
Tuesday's morning workout was a chance for newcomers and young players to emphasize the fundamentals of the team's offensive and defensive system while offensive coordinator Charlie Weis and defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel worked with the first units teaching some additions to the playbook.
One player benefiting from the extra work is Dan Klecko, who is making the move from defensive tackle to inside linebacker. Head Coach Bill Belichick likes what he has seen so far from the second-year pro out of Temple.
"Dan's adjusting well. He feels better about it each day. For a guy who has never played on his feet, he looks pretty good all things considered."
Klecko wasn't the only player benefiting from some extra reps. The team period also was an opportunity for all the quarterbacks not named Tom Brady to take some reps running the offense. Rohan Davey looked to bounce back after struggling Monday during two-minute work. He connected with rookie P.K. Sam down the middle for a long completion. Kurt Kittner also looks to be making strides in the offense. Wide receiver J.J. Stokes stood out during that session, shaking coverage to make some nice in-stride catches over the middle.
Defensively, the secondary has been plagued by injuries, and with the corner ranks thinned out and most of the veterans not participating in the team period, safeties like Je'Rod Cherry, Dexter Reid, Scott Farley and Shawn Mayer moved in and out at corner and safety.
The play of the day came when linebacker Justin Kurpeikis jarred the ball loose from tight end Zeron Flemister following a catch over the middle. Klecko recovered the fumble for the turnover.
After practice, running back Corey Dillon addressed the media about his increasing comfort level in the system, but was asked specifically about the hits Rodney Harrison had laid on him during his first week of training camp.
"There's going to be a lot of that the whole year I guess from Rodney," Dillon said. "I'm going to get used to that but he's going to have to get used to me too because I'm going to come."
Each day before the team stretches, it runs as a unit across the field and back a couple of times to loosen up. On Tuesday morning, Belichick didn't like the pace at which the rookies ran and stopped the team to let the rookies run alone back and forth across the field three times. … The team gathered in a circle after team stretch to sing Happy Birthday to Brady, who turned 27 on Tuesday. … The officials at practice Tuesday morning were not active during what was a light practice, but did address the media and answered question following Belichick's press conference. Referee Bill Leavy and his crew will be on hand to emphasize changes to players in practice over the next couple of days. Asked about the officiating, Belichick merely said, "Our approach is to know the rules and play within them." … The Foxborough Geese were back as five flew quite low in formation over the practice field and then returned in the opposite direction toward the end of practice. … The following players were not dressed for the workout: Asante Samuel, Ty Law, Christian Morton, Matt Light, Tom Ashworth, Willie McGinest, DeVonte Peterson, Eric Alexander, Ted Johnson, Rosevelt Colvin, Lonie Paxton, Andy Mignery, Christian Fauria, David Givens and Cedric Cobbs. Rookie safety Guss Scott was not on the field. … First round draft pick Benjamin Watson remains out of camp in a contract dispute that has now reached six days. The Patriots have no contact with him during his absence. "We can't supervise him," Belichick said. Asked about players missing training camp practice time, Belichick added, "Every player is different. I think it affects everybody, but some more than others. It's not helping him. It's not helping us. So I don't know who it's helping.
"We're going to have a 53-man roster based on the players that performed and established themselves."