Tuesday's Training Camp Notes 7/31
This morning players were in helmets and shells. This afternoon they're in full pads.
Punting Competition Continues:
The punters spent the early part of practice in special teams drills. Working on downing punts near the goal line. While each punter took turns getting the ball deep inside the red zone, Josh Miller appeared to be more successful than the rookies at getting it close to the goal line without putting it into the end zone. Malone continued to display a very strong leg, booming high arcing spirals often deep into the end zone. The ball was snapped from the 45 as each punter practiced his technique on getting it downed by the gunners.
Belichick and Moss:
During warmups, head coach Bill Belichick spent a good deal of time speaking with WR Randy Moss. Belichick usually spends most of the practice near the defense or special teams, until the 11-on-11 work that comes later. Belichick addressed the issue of players taking reps off during camp. In the morning Moss and Tom Brady spent much of the practice watching from the side of the action rather than participating in it.
Belichick spoke about Brady's time off in the morning session. "To get other guys the reps then somebody has to back out and we thought this was a good day to do it at that position" Belichick said. When it came to Moss' time off, Belichick was just as evasive. "It applies to all positions. We did it at a number of spots today."
Not the media variety, but the type where a defender tried to chuck the receiver before they can release into a pattern. During this drill, the Patriots had linebackers trying to stop receivers and tight ends from getting off the line. The more successful linebackers included Larry Izzo and Adalius Thomas, while Rosevelt Colvin had a tough time with the athletic Ben Watson.
Isn't That Special:
Again we're giving you a Willie Andrews update, but this time isn't all about special teams. Andrews and Kelvin Kight practiced press coverage on rookie Brandon Meriweather who had the task of gunner. In the few snaps we were able to see, Andrews and Kight were able to control Merieather's release. Kight and Andrews are fighting for roster spots as a reserve, so any success they have in special teams drills will likely be the reason they win one of the coveted roster spots. Meriweather, however, is relatively safe being a first round draft pick.
Tom Brady was back to throwing the ball this evening. The zip he has on his throws obviously show that his arm is strong. The Brady-to-Moss connection continued in two minute team drills on the far sideline. Unfortunately at the end of the drill when Brady tried to hit his receiver in the end zone, the ball skipped across the ground on a low pass. Brady's competitive fire was evident when he displayed his frustration over the misfire.
Both Matt Light and Kenny Smith ran a lap during the session. The reasons for the infractions weren't evident, but players typically take a lap when they have a mental lapse and the coach in charge vents his frustration by sending the players on a tour of the field. Neither Light nor smith were as enthusiastic about their laps as Junior Seau was on his a few practices ago. Seau smiled and waived to the crowd as he took off on his lap.
The word came in to Patriots Insider during evening practice that RB Justise Hairston was placed on the Patriots IR list. Hairston was released by New England late last week. Once he cleared waivers, he was re-signed as expected according to Scout.com's Adam Caplan. Hairston was a sixth round pick of the Patriots in the 2007 NFL Draft.
Making The Catch:
Ben Watson and Reche Caldwell each had amazing catches during the final portion of practice. In team drills, Watson split the middle deep coverage by diving to haul in a pass just over the reach of linebacker Adalius Thomas. A short time later, wide receiver Reche Caldwell took a deep crossing route to snare a pass from Matt Cassel over the top of Tory James, and just past the reach of safety James Sanders.
The Patriots have one session scheduled for Wednesday: 2:30pm-4:30pm
Read more of Jon's updates in the Insider Lounge where Insiders report on camp directly from Foxboro
Jon Scott has covered the NFL since 1995. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and a long time contributor to the Scout.com network. A New England native, Scott has followed the Patriots for over two decades and covered the team since 2001. He can be reached in the Insider's Lounge under the handle JSinCT.