FOXBOROUGH — The Patriots just finished up their afternoon practice in full pads down here at Gillette Stadium:
•The 25th practice of the 2009 training camp was another hot one. No one keeled over this afternoon, but the hot temperatures certainly limited the crowds — one of the smallest crowds of camp witnessed the afternoon session.
•According to my count, the following players were not in attendance: punter Chris Hanson, wide receiver Brandon Tate, running back Sammy Morris, linebacker Paris Lenon, linebacker Tyrone McKenzie, linebacker Tedy Bruschi, offensive lineman Stephen Neal, offensive lineman Rich Ohrnberger, offensive lineman Mark LeVoir, offensive lineman George Bussey, nose tackle Vince Wilfork, offensive lineman Sebastian Vollmer, tight end Alex Smith, wide receiver Wes Welker, tight end Benjamin Watson, tight end Tyson DeVree, defensive lineman Myron Pryor, defensive lineman Ty Warren, defensive lineman Jarvis Green and defensive lineman Mike Wright.
Moss and Brady had a number of impressive connections in Monday's practice session. (AP)
•One of the highlights of the session came when Tom Brady found Randy Moss with a pass on a 7-on-7 drill with a ball that split defenders James Sanders and Leigh Bodden. A nice hookup all around — really well done. It’s hardly a surprise, but the two really seemed to click today, connecting on a few nice passes. (There was one overthrow between the two of them, a deep ball that came with Terrence Wheatley in coverage.)
•It wasn’t all sunshine and lollipops for Brady, however. In the previously mentioned 7-on-7 drill, he was unable to find an open target downfield. Seemingly exasperated, he took off for a few quick steps, and then punted the ball down the field. Brady wasn’t the only one to kick a ball away in anger — toward the end of practice, the quarterback found Joey Galloway with a nice pass on a deep ball in the corner of the end zone. However, the ball went right through Galloway’s hands, drawing a groan from the crowd. The veteran receiver gently booted the ball into the bleachers in disgust.
•The running backs were involved in a blitz pickup drill on linebackers, and there were mixed results. Jerod Mayo absolutely flattened the new guy Chris Taylor, simply pushing him back into the quarterback. (Welcome to Foxborough, new guy.) In the same drill, veteran Kevin Faulk did an impressive job holding off an onrushing Vinny Ciurciu.
•Kevin O’Connell struggled with some situational football later in practice, but had a bright moment about midway through the session when he connected with Galloway on a deep ball down the middle of the field, beating Jamar Love, who was in coverage.
•There was more special teams work, with Julian Edelman, Kevin Faulk and Pat Chung serving as punt returners.
•Toward the end of practice, the Patriots unveiled a new offensive wrinkle. We would love to reveal more, but rules (specifically, rule No. 1 in the “General Media Training Camp Policy” that states, “Please do not report on offensive or defensive strategy. This includes describing formations, personnel groups or non-conventional plays.”) prevent us from saying any more.