Foxborough, Mass. - The Patriots began their second-to-last day of training camp under sunny skies as the team held two practice sessions Wednesday. Willie Andrews, a little known defensive back out of Baylor, wowed onlookers with his playmaking ability on the scout team offense in the morning session. In the afternoon session, Andrews lined up on offense to run deep patterns for Tom Brady.
-- Tom Brady, was not on the field for the session. When asked about Brady's status head coach Bill Belichick downplayed the quarterback's absence. "I think you'll be seeing Tom fairly soon," Belichick said. "Let's put it that way."
-- Matt Cassel took most of the snaps during team drills at practice. He looked solid in his drives, finding Keron Henry, Dave Thomas and Garrett Mills at various points. At points Cassel's drives bogged down, but most of the work was decent.
-- The same cannot be said for Todd Mortenson and Corey Bramlet. Both quarterbacks continued their work as reserve quarterbacks and have yet to impress with the limited reps they've been given.
|Safety Rodney Harrison checks his brace at practice during Patriots training camp on August 14, 2006. Harrison did not return to practice after this point. (Photo Kevin Saleeba / PatriotsInsider.com)|
-- The defense made a mistake at one point during practice drawing the ire of coaches. The entire unit took a lap around the fields as punishment.
-- Rookie kicker Stephen Gostkowski took practice kicks at the end of the morning session hitting on most of his attempts. When lined up on the right hash Gostkowski had little trouble kicking the ball down the middle. From the left hash, the kicks were barely squeezing inside the uprights.
-- Mike Vrabel moved from his customary outside position back to the inside during the session. Barry Gardner lined up next to Vrabel. With Roach and Bruschi sidelined, the team was thin at the position, necessitating Vrabel's move inside. Don Davis also saw time on the inside.
-- Willie Andrews had a nice grab during the scout team drills. His athletic ability and speed were evident as he beat defenders for long receptions. When asked about possibly giving Andrews a chance to work out as a receiver, head coach Bill Belichick said with a smile "We'll look at him."
-- Surprises notwithstanding, Willie Andrews appeared for the afternoon session wearing a white number 38 jersey. Andrews receptions earlier in the day obviously sparked the team's interest in adding him to the mix at the receiver position.
In the receiver's four cone drill, Andrews caught every pass thrown at him. He displayed better hands than a number of the receivers running the same drill. Andrews had a pair of deep passes thrown to him during the session, but one was overthrown while another was well defended by Antwain Spann.
-- Tom Brady was back for the afternoon session but looked completely out of sync. He either overthrew receivers or threw to placed they weren't at. At one point BRady threw to Troy Brown who ran an in route while Brady threw an out route. Clearly not himself, Brady stood well behind the rest of the squad as the second team ran their drills. It looked as if the Patriots' QB had put himself in time out for his poor performance.
-- Stevenson who received attention earlier in the day, took a lap for a mistake made in the team drill portion of practice. Defensive lineman Eddie Freeman also took a lap a short while later.
-- WR Eric Davis made a nice leaping catch over the top of cornerback Asante Samuel. Davis continued his up-and-down performance in camp.
-- A rumored trade between the Patriots and the Cowboys was the topic of much speculation. A report in the Boston Globe speculated that the Patriots might send an offensive lineman (Brandon Gorin or Ryan O'Callaghan) to Dallas in exchange fro linebacker Scott Shanle.
Gorin worked with the first team at the left tackle position while O'Callaghan worked at right tackle. With Matt Light recovering slowly from his lower leg injury, and Nick Kaczur still on the PUP, any trade for Gorin or O'Callaghan would eliminate the much-needed depth at tackle. One player not discussed is offensive tackle Wesley Britt, a firth-round pick by the Chargers in the 2005 NFL Draft. At 6-foot-8, 320-pounds Britt has the size to become a solid tackle, and is the largest lineman on the roster.
Britt worked with the second unit during practice, but had split time with O'Callaghan on the first team earlier in camp.
-- The most interesting part of the day's practices came at the end of the second session. Defensive lineman Vince Wilfork lined up deep to field a punt from Josh Miller. With teammates cheering him on, a ball in his left hand, Wilfork prepared himself to take the kick.
Miller punted a high-drifting ball that moved to Wilfork's right. Wilfork had to move quickly, which was no easy feat for the 330-pound lineman. He managed to catch the ball on the run and tuck it away safely.
Wilfork ran a victory lap as teammates, and the crowd cheered their delight. The catch meant that the players would have no wind sprints or meetings for the night.
Players who missed all of practice include Chad Jackson, John Stone, Freddie Roach, Le Kevin Smith, Marquise Hill, Tedy Bruschi Rodney Harrison and Chad Brown. Patrick Pass, Nick Kaczur, and Ray Ventrone have not been seen at training camp.
Read about thoughts and coverage of camp in the Patriots Insider blog.