With just two days before the preseason opener against the Philadelphia Eagles, the Patriots went through some final preparations in their lone practice Wednesday afternoon.
The team came out in just helmets and shoulder shells and worked on some of the plays it will run Friday night with the personnel groups expected to run them.
Several players remain sidelined with secret ailments and at this point have to be considered either doubtful or out for the opener. Matt Light, Tom Ashworth, David Givens, Kevin Faulk, Bethel Johnson, P.K. Sam, Je'Rod Cherry, Randall Gay, Jim Miller, Christian Morton, Matt Chatham, Ted Johnson, Andy Mignery, Cody Scates and Cedric Cobbs didn't practice and won't likely be available against Philly, especially since all have missed multiple and several consecutive workouts. It remains to be seen how much linebacker Rosevelt Colvin will play if at all.
Kickoff and punt returns were the early and late focus of the workout, an area that takes on even more significance during the preseason when fringe players and expected backups try to prove themselves in the kicking game looking to land hard-to-come-by roster spots. Ricky Bryant, Terrell Buckley, Troy Brown and Deion Branch returned punts.
Following the early special teams portion of the workout, the offense focused on the passing game against a nickel scout defense that included some blitz reads by quarterbacks Tom Brady and Rohan Davey. A quick switch saw the offense throw on some yellow mesh jerseys to run some Philly offensive plays against the Patriots first team defense consisting of linebackers and defensive backs.
Wide receiver Troy Brown also jumped in with the first and second defense taking some reps as the slot corner in the nickel. Brown is expected to take some defensive snaps Friday night. Asked if that would be the case, Head Coach Bill Belichick smirked and said, "It's possible."
Both rookie safeties – Dexter Reid and Guss Scott – took second teams snaps and should see significant action in the game. Asante Samuel and Buckley were the second team corners.
During the full-team work, down-and-distance situations were featured with players subbing in and out to create game-like conditions. The work featured some ones vs. ones, but it was mostly the scout teams showing Philly looks to the offense and defense. Brady threw a long touchdown pass to David Patten against the first defense over Tyrone Poole on a beautifully thrown ball. Poole also allowed a scout team touchdown throw from Kingsbury to Chas Gessner in the corner of the end zone.
Linebacker Justin Kurpeikis made the defensive play of the day against the scout offense when he stepped in from of a Kingsbury quick slant and returned it for a touchdown.
. … Long snapper Lonie Paxton was removed from PUP while tight end Zeron Flemister was placed on injured reserve with a ruptured Achilles. … The first skirmish of camp broke out with Dan Klecko tangling very briefly with Dan Koppen. Rohan Davey threw an interception running the scout offense, overthrowing Chas Gessner into the hands of Terrell Buckley. … All three quarterbacks took reps against the scout defense. While Davey is expected to see the most work in the game, Kliff Kingsbury could see as much as a quarter of action. … During two-minute work, Gessner dropped a touchdown pass over the middle on a nice throw by Davey.