Patriots Sign Punter Baugher

The New England Patriots added another body to the mix on the practice squad by signing Danny Baugher today. The undrafted rookie free agent was last with the Cincinnati Bengals. Two former Patriots found new homes, and the field conditions at Gillette Stadium continue to be a topic of conversation.

FOXBORO, Mass. -- The New England Patriots signed undrafted rookie free agent punter Danny Baugher to the practice squad today.

Baugher was originally signed by the Cincinnati Bengals May 5, 2006 but was released during training camp on July 30. The 5-foot-10, 194-pound Arizona product was nominated for the Ray Guy award - honoring the country's top punter during his senior season.

Other Patriots News and Notes

-- The Washington Redskins signed free agent offensive lineman Nick Steitz (Patriots) to the practice squad on Tuesday according to his agent, Joe Linta.

-- The Buffalo Bills signed free agent offensive lineman Randy Hand (Patriots) to the practice squad on according to Linta.

Both players had spent time in Patriots training camp. Steitz was allocated by New England to play in NFL Europe where he was a member of the Rhine Fire. Hand was an undrafted rookie free agent out of the University of Florida.

-- Former Patriot Martin Gramatica who was released by New England in favor of rookie kicker Stephen Gostkowski was signed by the Indianapolis Colts over the weekend to kick for another former Patriots kicker, Adam Vinatieri. Vinatieri has struggled with injuries to his foot and his groin this season in Indianapolis.

Gramatica went 2 for 2 on PATs on Sunday. He is a perfect for the season with one FG and nine PATs.

Turf Problems

The Patriots home field looked like it had seen better days. On Sunday the wear and tear placed on the playing surface from the multiple events held at Gillette Stadium became center focus. Olindo Mare who had his first FG attempt blocked by Mike Wright appeared to fall victim to the poor footing. Patriots' kicker Stephen Gostkowski had similar trouble in the home opener. Both kickers slid on their plant foot when kicking, causing the ball to come out low and get blocked.

The turf was topic of conversation by the TV broadcast crew, as well as the players and the fans who witnessed how the poor conditions affected the play.

Head coach Bill Belichick addressed the issue in his press conference.

"The field is in terrible condition," Belichick said. "I don't think anybody in this organization is happy about it or thinks it's in good condition. When pressed for a possible solution, Belichick reminded the media that there's only so much even the best groundskeeper can do about fixing the problem. "It's October," Belichick said. "It's not like it's peak growing season here in New England."

Dolphins long snapper John Denney confirmed that the poor conditions affected play. "Olindo Mare was trying to find his footing all game, and you get out there and you roll the ball around and it was covered with all that fine powder," Denney said. "I had to dust that off."

Mare agreed.

"Not having a chance to plant is tough," Mare said of the conditions. "You've got to change the way you approach the ball and the only way to beat it is to go slower and you can't do that. I blame myself. You slip and it doesn't matter how far the… you can't make contact if you are still moving. I'm not complaining; it is what it is."

Truer words haven't been spoken, especially for those familiar with Belichick's much used phrase.


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