Right tackle Sebastian Vollmer (unknown) has now been absent for two straight practices, after playing sparingly in the second preseason game versus Philadelphia.
Vollmer did not seem to suffer any sort of injury during the game, but apparently he did. However, NFL teams are not obligated to submit injury/practice participation reports until Week 1 of the regular season.
Joining Vollmer on the absentee list on Tuesday were a half-dozen other Patriots: D-linemen Chris Jones (left ankle) and DL Sealver Siliga (left hand); tight end D.J. Williams (right leg); rookie running back Tyler Gaffney (left knee); rookie linebacker Cameron Gordon (unknown); rookie OL Chris Martin (NFI/unknown).
On a positive note, tight end Michael Hoomanawanui (leg) was back in pads for the second consecutive day, although after team stretching period, he retreated to the lower practice field with several other rehabbing players to work on extra conditioning.
Mayo may or may not play**
Linebacker Jerod Mayo also suited up for the second day in a row after missing a handful of practices and the Eagles game. Earlier in the locker room, Mayo only hinted that he sustained an injury and wouldn't say whether or not he'd be available for Friday's preseason tilt against Carolina.
"I'm not sure. It'll be a step by step thing. It'll be like riding a bike. Once I get a couple of plays under my belt, I'll be OK.
"Feel good," Mayo added. "Out there yesterday, ran around a little bit. I feel pretty good."
LaFell to face old Panthers teammates for first time
Wide receiver Brandon LaFell, meantime, spoke to a large group of media about his emotions as he prepares to face his former team this week.
"It's going to be a little weird, just going out there and seeing some of my old teammates, looking at those jerseys knowing I was just in those jerseys last year," admitted LaFell. "But I got to do my job."
LaFell has looked better in recent days after a slow start to camp, in which he dropped several catchable passes and didn't seem quite comfortable in his new offense. He agreed that his learning curve has been much steeper of late and that his connection with QB Tom Brady is growing stronger each day.
"From OTA to now, if I had to put it on a scale from zero to 10, I would say like an 8 now," LaFell said Tuesday. "OTAs I was shell-shocked, didn't know what to expect. It was all new to me.
"The more and more reps I get with this guy [Brady], getting our timing better and also he's trying to find me more. He expects you to be exactly where he wants you to be when running a route. Not a yard off, not a yard too deep, not a yard too short. He expects you to be exactly where he wants you to be because he's going to put the ball placement exactly right.
"I've learned in this game that when you go out there and force, force, force every time, something bad happens," LaFell remarked. "When you go out there and do your job, be patient, things are going to happen for you."
Revis getting "butterflies"**
It's often said that the third preseason game is most like a regular season contest, in part because most of the starters play most of the game. The preparation for the game is also more like a regular season week, as opposed to the training camp schedule that just concluded yesterday.
"This week is more emphasis on more of a game week, like the regular season. Guys are just getting into that mode," cornerback Darrelle Revis pointed out. "More emphasis on game plan scenarios, in all three phases, and preparing like this is Week 1 or Week 2."
It's also the time of year that veterans like Revis are most excited about, because camp is drawing to a close and the start of meaningful games is so close.
"Yeah," he laughed, "the butterflies, they're coming back. You get anxious, real excited just to start the season back up. This is a great game we play. Guys are ready to go. They're excited about this year and we have to go out and prove [ourselves] every week."