FOXBORO, Mass. -- On the first day of training camp, Bill Belichick reminisced about how physical camp use to be, weather it was wearing full pads or doing the Oklahoma tackling drill, Belichick almost looked as if he missed those days.
So, yesterday, the old ball coach huddled the team around in a circle toward the end of practice to tell them the hitting was on.
The highlight of yesterday's session was the full-contact goal line standoff between Brady's first offensive unit and the starting defense, and the defense won this first battle.
The first offense reached the end zone only once in three tries against the starting defense, and that score was questionable as referee Ed Hochuli would have ruled Corey Dillon's knee down at the 1-yard line.
The second offense failed to reach the end zone in three tries, highlighted by linebacker Freddie Roach's stuffing of Laurence Maroney on the 1-yard line.
"That was hard," Maroney said of the hit after practice. "That's what we got to do is go out there and work on stuff. It will be nice to go to the film and see what I can correct."
Dillon likes what he sees out of the team so far in training camp.
"We're coming together," the running back said. "We got a pretty solid football team. We got to get better than we are. I think that's everyone's goal on the team."
The goal line drill came right before the end of practice, where rookie Stephen Gostkowski was 7-for-7 on field goal attempts ranging from 30-42 yards out.
Gostkowski also boomed kicks toward the end zone in kickoff drills. He was the only kicker to see action yesterday morning.
Receivers coach Brian Daboll kept Jackson, Childress and the rest of the wideouts after practice for some extra time on catching and footwork.
The team was in full pads yesterday, despite conditions that saw the temperature rise into the 90s with a humid haze in the morning.
Hochstein was able to snap the ball to Tom Brady yesterday. Brady had missed a few practices in the past few days, but returned yesterday and took part in every drill.
"I don't care who the quarterback is, but it's nice to see No. 12 behind me," Hochstein said.
Vince Wilfork did a great job at clogging up running lanes during the goal line drill
the Patriots goal line offense featured Ben Watson, David Thomas and Walter Rasby as a three tight end set with Heath Evans at fullback in front of Dillon
Tedy Bruschi missed yesterday's practice, as did Troy Brown, Koppen, Richard Seymour, Marquise Hill, Jarvis Green, Garrett Mills and Daniel Graham
Both sides are still mum on Deion Branch's contract situation
Jackson got an earful from Daboll during drills for not running routes deep enough
John Stone is playing with the first offense while Troy Brown and Deion Branch are not at practice
Wesley Britt took Light's spot on the offensive line
Dillon has some high praise for another Boston sports superstar: David Ortiz. "He can crush the ball," Dillon said. "He's one of the best clutch hitters I've ever seen. Last time I got out there was when I was in Cincinnati. I knocked a couple around and that ain't Balco, no cream and no clear. I was the real deal."
Hazing is in full effect so far for rookies. Jackson had to carry Reche Caldwell's pads back to the locker room, while Gostkowski had Josh Miller's and Corey Bramlet had Brady's.
The team will have only one practice today, at 2:30 p.m.
Jonathan Darling is a special contributor to Patriots Insider. Jonathan's articles can be found regularly here on Patriots Insider by searching for "Jonathan Darling" in the archives.
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