Report from Wednesday’s minicamp
|06.10.09 at 3:10 pm ET|
Under gray skies and mild conditions, the Patriots kicked off the first of three days of minicamp Wednesday morning on the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium. Seventy-five players were in attendance, including nose tackle Vince Wilfork, who sat out the organized team activities (OTAs) over the last month because of a contract dispute.
‘¢The following players were not spotted on the field during the session: wide receiver Tyree Barnes, wide receiver Shun White, wide receiver Brandon Tate, defensive back Brandon Meriweather, running back Sammy Morris, defensive back Mike Richardson, defensive back Ray Ventrone, safety Brandon McGowan, linebacker Jerod Mayo, linebacker Tyrone McKenzie, offensive lineman Mark LeVoir, defensive lineman Ty Warren and defensive lineman Jarvis Green.
‘¢The pace of practice was roughly the same of the OTAs that took place over the last month or so. The session ran for roughly an hour and a half and was held in no pads. The promise of a Wilfork sighting drew many national media members, including reporters from ESPN and ESPN.com, Yahoo and The Sporting News. In addition, the radio tandem of Gil Santos and Gino Cappelletti were in attendance, as well as owner Bob Kraft. Kraft talked toward the end of practice about a variety of topics, including Vince Wilfork’s contract situation and the fact that Jim Nance was recently elected to the Patriots’ Hall of Fame.
‘¢Wilfork appeared to take his usual reps with the No. 1 defense, working alongside Richard Seymour, Ron Brace and Mike Wright. He did not appear to be hindered in any way, and looked ready to go. The Patriots did employ several different defensive looks throughout the session in an attempt to get as many different reps in as possible, as well as to keep the offense on their toes. Wilfork adjusted nicely each time.
‘¢Linebacker Vinny Ciurciu looks more and more like a possible replacement for Larry Izzo. While some linebackers were working on one side of the field, Ciurciu was part of a punt blocking drill on the other side of the field with the special teamers. Ciurciu was eventually joined by Tank Williams, Tully Banta-Cain and Vince Redd to work on punt blocking techniques.
‘¢It seemed like — and many it’s just me — but there was a lot of work done in the hurry-up offense, both in individual groups (among backs and wide receivers) and as a collective offensive unit. Tom Brady appeared to be moving fluidly and without problems, and I counted at least two times where he didn’t see a receiver open downfield and decided to tuck the ball away and start running. In that same hurry up series, Randy Moss made a nice catch over the middle when Shawn Springs slipped and fell.
‘¢Another good day for the special teamers, particularly the punters. Whether it was the weather or just a good afternoon, but Chris Hanson and Tom Malone really got off a series of high, booming kicks later on in practice. “Return man” Stephen Gostkowski was backed up several times as the two punters got in some good work with the two new long snappers, Jake Ingram and Nathan Hodel.
‘¢Toward the end of practice, Gostkowski connected on what appeared to be a 60-yard field goal.