The Patriots held their morning practice session under bright, sunny skies with high humidity and rising temperatures. It was just the way Patriots head coach Bill Belichick likes it.
Players were dressed in full pads for the early practice. Both Junior Seau and Laurence Maroney continued to sport the red "no contact" jerseys they have worn since the start of training camp. The session was held on the practice fields behind the stadium in front of roughly 8,000 ravenous fans.
Missing from the session were Chad Scott (injury), Rashad Baker, Kyle Brady, Garrett Mills Asante Samuel (contract issue) and Kareem Brown. Brown remained away from practice as part of his reported punishment for violating team rules. The seven players on the PUP list were also not in attendance.
Offense runs a lap:
Towards the end of the first session, during 11-on-11 team drills, a member of the team's offense apparently had a false start causing the coaching staff to dole out immediate punishment. The entire unit, including non-participating members of the offense, was required to run a lap around the field. Afterwards, Tom Brady commented on the lap event.
|Members of the Patriots' offensive unit run a lap around the field as punishment for a mistake during a team drill. July 29, 2007 (Photo Kevin Saleeba / PatriotsInsider.com)|
"When we run out in practice and when we run laps [it is because] we''re getting in trouble," Brady noted. "We get cheered for that [by the fans], so I don''t know if they know why we,'re running. I don''t think they''d be cheering us if they did."
Gay On Moss:
Randall Gay was lined up over the top of Randy Moss in coverage drills. It was Gay's second day of practice as the corner opposite Ellis Hobbs. Gay had a little work to get back into coverage shape as he bit on a move by Moss on a deep ball. Moss easily stretched his hands out to make a picture-perfect catch for a score as Gay could only watch him run down the field for a sure touchdown.
|WR Randy Moss (81) catches a deep pass over his shoulder. DB Randall Gay can be seeen following Moss. (Photo Kevin Saleeba / PatriotsInsider.com)|
The full pad practice took on a new tempo when the team began to get more physical in team drills. There was a significant increase in hitting towards the end of the morning session. Most of the action came when the team ran interior line rushing drills.The competitive juices flowed as players could be seen grabbing, pushing and shoving each other to gain the advantage.
During the drill running back Kevin Faulk looked sharp, showing quickness and explosion to the hole.
At one point Faulk's quickness couldn't help him as he was leveled at the line of scrimmage shortly after making a cut to avoid a fallen offensive lineman. As Faulk attempted to avoid a fallen Russ Hochsten to sneak behind the still-standing Gene Mruczkowski, he was leveled courtesy of linebackers Corey Mays and Larry Izzo.
|RB Kevin Faulk attempts to squeeze through an opening in the line just before Corey Mays (R) and Larry Izzo (L) tackle him on July 29, 2007. (Photo Kevin Saleeba / PatriotsInsider.com)|
Faulk also took a beating when offensive tackle Nick Kaczur was unable to get to prevent defensive lineman Rashad Moore from getting position to close on Faulk who was trying to avoid Kenny Smith. Moore flattened Faulk for the second time in that series.
Sammy Morris and Faulk took the bulk of the carries during the interior line drills
Sharing The Load:
Quarterbacks Matt Gutierrez and Matt Cassel took snaps against some members of the first team defense, during drills. It was by design rather than by necessity according to starter Tom Brady. Brady has put himself on a limited number of passing reps in camp, to the benefit of both Cassel and Gutierrez
Evans Continues to Rumble:
Fullback Heath Evans took a few snaps on the interior line drills. He looked solid as an inside runner, didn't get hit like Faulk did earlier. Evans outweighs Faulk a little which is probably he didn't go down when he was hit. Faulk is 5-foot-8, 202-pounds while Evans registers 6-foot, 250-pounds.
Maroney Returns Kicks:
RB Laurence Maroney ran back kickoff returns during special teams drills. He did not take any snaps during the interior line drill, and seemed to be away from the action while the hitting was happening. Other players who have tried their hand at returning kicks are; Bam Childress, Sammy Morris, Wes Welker, Willie Andrews and Ellis Hobbs.
Gaining An Edge:
Kelvin Kight made a nice shoestring catch over the middle during unit passing drills (receivers only). Kight has made a number of acrobatic catches during the first weekend of camp.
Benefitting from Extra Attention:
tight end Matt Kranhick spent a good deal of time learning from the tight ends coach and fellow end, Ben Watson. At 6-foot-7, 260-pounds, Kranchick is one of the largest players on the roster. His size was evident when he lined up against Watson.
|TEs Ben Watson and Matt Kranchick practice a blocking drill under the watchful eyes of TE Coach Pete Mangurian on July 29, 2007. (Photo Kevin Saleeba / PatriotsInsider.com)|
Gostkowski was the only kicker to practice kicks. Miller was holding for Gostkowski, Paxton was snapping. Danny Baugher and Tom Malone spent a good portion of practice watching from the sideline.
More camp updates from Gillette can be found in the Insider's