Report from Thursday’s minicamp
|06.11.09 at 1:53 pm ET|
FOXBOROUGH — The Patriots just wrapped up their second day of minicamp on the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium. Under cool conditions, the hour and a half session was roughly the same pace as many of the recent organized team activities and first day of minicamp. Overall, things were relatively subdued, but there was still a clear focus on the job at hand.
•Thirteen players on the active roster were not seen by the media: wide receiver Tyree Barnes, wide receiver Shun White, wide receiver Brandon Tate, defensive back Brandon Meriweather, running back Patrick Pass, cornerback 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.
•Randy Moss appeared to be feeling pretty good, at least early on. During stretching, he tossed a football back and forth with Vince Wilfork. And in the early moments of practice, he playfully teased the offensive linemen. Later in the day, Moss caught a pass over the middle in the end zone from Brady. It looked like he was going to try and dunk the ball, but stopped … perhaps recalling the rejection he got from the goalpost earlier this week when he tried a similar celebration.
•It was an eventful day for the defensive backs. Jonathan Wilhite was burned by Moss on a long pass play with Tom Brady. Wilhite was also the victim of a sweet connection between Kevin O’Connell and Greg Lewis, as the backup quarterback found Lewis deep across the middle on a really well thrown ball that arced gracefully into Lewis’ arms. The DBs found their revenge, however, when Shawn Springs picked off O’Connell later on in the session, and a Matt Gutierrez pass for Lewis was nicely broken up by Terrence Wheatley.
•The Patriots continue rotating in different options at the fullback spot. They have used Russ Hochstein at that position, and Thursday, it was David Thomas.
•In special teams drills, the Patriots had several different players try their hand at kick returner, including Wheatley, Laurence Maroney, Matthew Slater and Julian Edelman. In other special teams notes, Stephen Gostkowski looked very sharp at the end of practice, connecting on several long field goal attempts. There were several times at the end of practice where they field goal unit had to rush onto the field to try and beat the clock, and each time, Gostkowski was able to connect.
•In what looked like red zone offensive drills, Ben Watson had a good day at the back of the end zone. He caught one from Brady and another from O’Connell, both while tip-toeing along the back line.
•The younger linebackers — a group that includes Vince Redd, Shawn Crable and Pierre Woods — also seemed to be in the middle of the action for much of the session. After jumping offsides in one drill (he did get back in time), Redd batted down a pass from O’Connell. Woods was later forced to run a lap for an unknown infraction. (Rookie offensive lineman Rich Ohrnberger and rookie quarterback Brian Hoyer also had to take a lap, also for unknown penalties.)
•In scout team drills, Edelman was used extensively in a number of different roles in hopes of giving the No. 1 defense some different looks. The former Kent State quarterback — who has been utilized as a wide receiver almost exclusively while in camp with the Patriots — was shuffled around the field like a chess piece throughout the scout team session. I firmly believe New England will do whatever it takes to try and keep him on the roster for the 2009 season for several reasons, not the least of which being he can do multiple things. I’m not saying he’s going to be a starter in the league right away, but his tremendous versatility can’t be denied.
•After practice, several different players drew big media crowds, including Adalius Thomas and Shawn Springs, the latter of whom talked at length about the notebook he keeps on opposing wide receivers. We’ll have more on that later on today.
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