By: Steve Balestrieri
The New England Patriots got back to work on Saturday, after having Friday off following their pre-season game against the Jacksonville Jaguarson Thursday night.
First of all…and a note to self, when the camera batteries die and you put them on a charger, remember to put them back in the camera before packing the camera bag to practice. Dumb, dumb, dumb…no excuses coach.
The practice was in full pads as Bill Belichick tries to set the tone for being physical and playing physical even with the new rules of the CBA.
Matt Light returned to the Foxboro practice fields for the first time and now off of the PUP List. He took part in drills but no 11 on 11 work.
The Patriots had newly signed OL Zac Roth on the field, but less than an hour in, he was carted off with a leg injury. Nothing is known so far as to the severity of it, but it didn’t look too good as he was leaving. Jeff Tarpinian was also dinged up as he hurt his leg and was seen being tended to by the training staff. He practiced little after that.
The list who wasn’t on the field today was once again long, and although this list may not be complete, this is who we didn’t see in uniform on Saturday: Albert Haynseworth, Brandon Spikes, Mike Wright, Shaun Ellis, Julian Edelman, Taylor Price, Brandon Tate, Ras-I Dowling, Shane Vereen, Kevin Faulk, James Sanders, Danny Woodhead, Malcolm Williams, Christian Cox, Marcus Cannon, Ryan Wendell, Dan Connolly, Brandon Deaderick, and Ron Brace. We learned later that Woodhead wasn’t there because his wife was giving birth to their child today.
Tom Brady was on fire today, his accuracy and timing seemed impeccable. I wasn’t keeping count but it seemed during team drills he threw about 20 passes and maybe two hit the ground. Looks like things are starting to come into place for him and the WRs today. Wes Welker was also hot today, torching whomever tried to cover him, Brady was finding him consistently cutting across the middle. Welker looked like missing the game on Thursday was his motivation. Rob Gronkowski returned to practice and was his usual unstoppable self.
Speaking of the tight ends, there is some great competition going on there in camp. Gronkowski and fellow 2nd year player Aaron Hernandez are locks, but after that is 5th round draft choice Lee Smith, last year’s practice squad member Carson Butler and UDFA Will Yeatman. Yeatman is right in the thick of things and bears watching. He performs as well as anyone while blocking, he huge 6’5, 268 and has shown he can find open space in the passing game. It was his block on the goal line that sprung RB Stevan Ridley for a touchdown against the Jaguars. He also caught 2 passes as he found open space. WEEI’s Chris Price did a fantastic story on Yeatman today and you should check it out here:
The focus today continued on situational football with red-zone and two minute work as Belichick would call out downs and distances. They spent a lot of time doing that today, which is normal as Bill Belichick always likes to stress situational planning.
Ryan Mallett also got a lot of the work after Brady today which may mean that he’ll see a lot of action against the Bucs next week. Mallett had a pretty good session today, he fired a rope to Buddy Farnham (he of DB fame after his pick Thursday night) down the sideline but also had a pass picked off that he was throwing to Smith on the play.
With Edelman and Price out of practice, kick return duties fell to Darius Butler, who fielded kicks in college and also did some in his rookie training camp.
The Pats return to the field tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. but we unfortunately won’t be able to attend, but we’ll carry any breaking news out of camp.
Follow me on Twitter @SteveB7SFG
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