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July 29, 2006
Deluge in the afternoon
FOXBORO - A fierce rainstorm swept through here about an hour ago (no thunder) hitting just as the players were getting going with their stretching for the 5:30 p.m. practice. Fans scattered but the players stretched on while the coaches walked among them, unimpressed by the rain.
Two rainbows appeared when the rain stopped. And I left my sunroof open.
Troy Brown and Ben Watson were back for the afternoon practice (players were in shells). Matt Light was absent. So were all the other guys who are on the PUP list (scroll down to catch their names).
Bill Belichick spent a long time working with linebackers Monty Beisel and Eric Alexander on a block-shedding drill.
Special teams coach Brad Seely drilled his punt-rushers in getting off the ball low, taking seven steps and then putting their hands at waist-height to block the punt down.
Wide receiver John Stone continues to be the No. 3 wide receiver with Chad Jackson out and Deion Branch holding out.
Posted by at 6:28 PM | Permalink
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FOXBORO - The Patriots went for nearly two hours this morning in full pads before breaking practice.
The running backs took time signing autographs on the sides of the practice field after practice for about 20 minutes. Toward the end of their signing session, something caused a few fans to go onto the field to be with a player (it may have been at the players request, we were 100 yards away), which touched off a fan stampede. It was mostly kids just dashing over to players for autographs but it was fairly comical to see the "Hey, if they're all going, I will too..." mentality in action. Probably between 100 and 200 fans hit the field before they were herded off within a minute or so.
Among the talkers were Tedy Bruschi, Kevin Faulk, Laurence Maroney, Troy Brown, Eugene Wilson (we'll feature him in a Sunday story tomorrow), Ben Watson, Mike Vrabel, Larry Izzo and Matt Cassel.
Vrabel had this to say about his time spent at inside linebacker last year...
"At times it was difficult (but) there's a lot of guys that play a lot of different spots. Chad (Brown) played inside, Chad played outside. I played inside and outside...."
(On what he learned playing inside)
"When there's a good edge outside it allows the inside guys to slow down; I learned that. I went inside and noticed that with Rosey (Colvin) and Willie (McGinest) you can slow down. It's not like you have to fly outside because the ball will eventually come back in. I said that to Tedy (Bruschi) and he said, 'That's what i think when you're out there.' When i moved inside I realized how important that is to the defense."
(Explanation: the "edge" is where the defensive end or outside linebacker goes to help turn sideline running plays back inside. When setting the edge, the OLB in the Pats defense anchors himself at the end of the line and turns in toward the center of the field, funneling everything back to the defensive linemen, inside linebackers and safeties. During camp, Bill Belichick and the rest of the coaches are often heard exhorting players to set a good edge).
(On whether versatility they were forced to build in '05 helps the Pats be more complex)
"You'd like to do what you (base defense) is then expand on that instead of trying to get all crazy. Just work on pad level and using your hands and getting off blocks etc. (before worrying about complex formationing)."
(On the team drafting two tight ends)
"I always wach draft day. Since I've played that gimmick tight end position, we've taken Graham and Watson in the first round, now Thomas in the third and Mills in the fourth. They're trying to keep me out of there the best they can."
Larry Izzo on special teams...
"If there are breakdowns it will hurt you. There were some breakdowns last year. Some early in the season, some later. (This season) there are a lot of new faces and a lot of bodies. Everyone's fighting for a job. And whoever's there at the end of the day is who's going to be there. It's pointless to do predictions because there's so much that can still happen."
(On losses like Matt Chatham, Christian Fauria and Tim Dwight)
"We lost people. Which is normal. People come and go every year in the NFL. The organization will find somebody to get the job done."
Belichick brushed off questions about Deion Branch by saying, "I'm talking about the players that are here."
He also praised Matt Cassel and Vince Wilfork's development so far.
More to come from Beli later...The team practices again at 5:30 p.m. and has one session tomorrow at 2:30 p.m.
Posted by at 1:09 PM | Permalink
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Saturday A.M. Practice
FOXBORO - A little more than halfway through the first of two practices today, here are some quick-hit observations.
* Defensive end Marquise Hill left the field limping about 20 minutes ago, going down during a short-yardage drill.
* Ellis Hobbs didn't fare particularly well in a few 11-on-11 plays. One in particular came when Reche Caldwell scorched him on a wide receiver screen (one juke and gone).
* Eugene Wilson continues working out primarily at corner instead of safety. Yesterday, he and Asante Samuel were the first pair of corners on the field in the 11-on-11 drill (Artrell Hawkins and James Sanders were the safeties).
* Players not on the field: Bam Childress, Chad Jackson, Randall Gay, Patrick Pass, Rodney Harrison, Patrick Cobbs, Garrett Mills, Lonie Paxton, Dan Koppen, Nick Kaczur, Troy Brown, Daniel Graham, Deion Branch, Ben Watson and Richard Seymour.
We'll check back after the Beli-Conference.
Posted by at 10:19 AM | Permalink
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