]()On Sunday, a cool, overcast day, Bill Belichick stood at the podium during his training camp press conference and asked for the heat to be turned up. Well, Mother Nature was listening.
Tuesday morning, the Pats hit the practice field for the 8:45 session in hot, humid conditions, just the type of weather for which Belichick had wished.
"We finally got a little bit of heat today, which I think we need," Belichick said after the Tuesday morning workout. "We're kind of in the dog days with guys fighting through soreness."
While the players surely prefer the more mild temperatures, they do understand that benefits of practicing in the summer heat as it relates to preparing for the season and specifically for early season games that might come under similar conditions.
"It's good. We need to work in these kind of conditions," linebacker Tully Banta-Cain said. "It makes us better as a team. We'll play some teams in the heat this year and we have to be ready for it."
"Until we get to 110 degrees, it's fine. Then we might have a problem," wideout Deion Branch joked.
The morning session was the first of the day's two workouts with the second set for 7 p.m. inside the Gillette Stadium bowl in what is a ticketed event for season-ticket holders.
The big news of the day came away from the field when the club announced that it had reached an agreement that would bring Richard Seymour to camp. The veteran defensive lineman held out for the first four days and was expected to be in Foxborough some time Tuesday and presumably back on the field Wednesday.
Belichick would not commit to any timetable, saying only that Seymour would be on the field when he was ready to practice, which likely meant after he passes the conditioning test.
Belichick would not discuss any details regarding the settlement reached with Seymour and would not say whether it was a long-term or short-term arrangement.
Meanwhile, Belichick and his staff continued to coach the players who actually showed up for camp on time and worked through practice in shorts, shoulder pads and helmets; the night practice is expected to be held in full pads.
The passing game continues to look a bit out of sync, although Kevin Faulk made a nice diving catch on a pass from Tom Brady, and Doug Flutie connected deep down the middle to rookie tight end Andy Stokes after looking left to move the safety.
]()Both the offense and defense spent time running plays off cards. When one side of the ball is running plays off cards, it means that a coach is holding up a formation and a play on a sheet of paper that another club runs so that the Patriots first-team offense or defense can get a look at it. It is how in-season practices are run during full-team work when the first unit plays against the scout team.
The defense was the first to run someone else's stuff and then the offense took its turn giving looks to the first team defense. Belichick explained the card work by simply saying that his team will face many looks and plays this year that they wouldn't see practicing against their own system. So as part of preparing for both the season opener and the 16-game schedule, he has to give his team a look at some of the things it will face, including different fronts or actual plays that he thinks teams will try to use against the Patriots. The scout team ran a couple of trick plays during the session.
The running game seemed to be a big focus Tuesday morning, although without full pads it was not the physical work usually associated with the ground attack. Corey Dillon showed some explosion to the outside and broke free into the secondary a couple of times, but it was tough to get a good read on who is actually winning those battles up front when they aren't being run at full speed. Given that the team wasn't in full pads, it was not running the plays full tilt.
One offensive play stood out not because of some great run or pass, but because of the downfield blocking. Brady threw a short pass to Dillon in the left flat and Dillon turned up field and broke free as wideouts David Givens and Deion Branch cleaned out the lone remaining defender by driving him down the field with a smothering two-on-one block.
Rookie quarterback Matt Cassel, who has impressed with arm strength and accuracy, had some sort of miscommunication with running back Kory Chapman when he turned left to hand the ball off and Chapman ran to the right. The result was a fumble that left them walking off to be replaced by the first unit.
During the special teams portion of the workout, Brad Seely's punt returners – Kevin Faulk, Bam Childress and Tim Dwight – stood back inside their 10-yard line and handled punts with the punt coverage team bearing down on them. They had to make the correct decision to fair catch the ball, let it go to toward the end zone ot not fair catch it but block the first coverage man.
Dwight, who was removed from PUP on Monday, was not in shoulder pads for the practice as he works back from a foot injury.
]()Other notes: The following players did not practice: linebackersWillie McGinestandChad Brown, running backChad Morton, tight endsDaniel GrahamandBenjamin Watson, safetyRodney Harrisonand wideoutsTroy Brown, Bethel JohnsonandP.K. Sam. Chad Brown was not present on the practice field.Monty Beiselreturned to full-team practice after tightening up last Friday, andMarquise Hillalso returned to action. … NFL officials were at practice and will be on hand through Thursday. RefereeWalt Coleman, who is famous in New England and infamous in Oakland for his tuck rule call in the 2001 AFC Divisional Playoff game between the Patriots and Raiders, was on hand with three members of his crew. The officials showed the media and later the players a video highlighting rule changes and points of emphasis for 2005. Player safety appeared to be the No. 1 concern with crack back blocks and horse collar tackles among the newly illegal tactics. Coleman did acknowledge that he has not been assigned to a Raider game since the Jan. 19, 2002 playoff game between the Patriots and Raiders in which he uttered this now famous phrase in his southern accent, "After further review, the quarterback's arm was moving forward …" The rest was drowned out by the 60,000 fans on hand at Foxboro Stadium. …Dan Koppen'soffensive linemates played a minor prank on him at practice. Gillette Stadium vendorSteve Chaseof South Boston, Mass., resembles the Patriots starting center, bright red hair and all, and caught the eye of Koppen's teammates. They handed Chase a practice jersey with the No. 67 on it and had Chase walk onto the practice field during the team stretch and hand Koppen a Minute Maid Italian Ice, which the center happily started eating. …Mike Vrabeland Beisel worked with the ones at ILB with Banta-Cain andRosevelt Colvinat OLB. The second team linebackers wereMatt ChathamandWesly Mallardinside andAndre TorreyandGrant Steenoutside. … PFW'sAndy Hart** reported three geese flyovers at the morning practice.