|Thursday morning training camp report||08.05.10 at 12:27 pm ET|
FOXBORO — As a heavy air hung over the two practice fields at Gillette Stadium, the Patriots just concluded their morning practice as the team got back to their two-a-day routine on Thursday. The skies were threatening with heat and humidity making for good conditioning. Here are some of the highlights from the morning session:
•The following players did not participate: wide receiver Matthew Slater, defensive back Bret Lockett, outside linebacker/defensive end Derrick Burgess, inside linebacker Gary Guyton, offensive lineman Logan Mankins, offensive linemen Nick Kaczur and defensive lineman Ty Warren. The following players were on the field, but in t-shirts and shorts: cornerback Jonathan Wilhite, defensive back Terrence Johnson, defensive lineman Myron Pryor, defensive lineman Ron Brace, defensive lineman Mike Wright and running back Thomas Clayton.
In his biggest test to date in training camp, Patriots receiver Wes Welker took a pair of heavy hits from linebacker Jerod Mayo in full scrimmage drills Thursday morning. The first hit came as Welker was running a slant pattern off the right end while the second hit came as Welker ran a crossing route. In both cases Welker held onto the pass from Tom Brady and popped right up and made his way back to the huddle.
Speaking of Brady he looked very sharp finding rookie Taylor Price and second year receiver Brandon Tate on corner routes in the end zone.
The story of Devin McCourty continues to be one that bears close attention. He not only joined Tate in returning kicks on Thursday morning but he continues to look good in corner isolation coverage as he shadowed Welker on a deep corner route, breaking up the pass from Brady by knocking it away from Welker.
Other fan highlights included bucket drills as quarterbacks Brady, Brian Hoyer and Zac Robinson attempted to land passes in a blue garbage bucket in the back left corner of the end zone from 20 and 30 yards out. Only Hoyer was able to find the target, though Brady hit the outside of the bucket several times from both distances. The good news for director of player personnel Nick Caserio was that owner Robert Kraft was no where in sight after Caserio on Wednesday threw one in the direction of owner Kraft, who was standing behind the garbage can. Caserio didn’t hit Kraft, but caused the owner to hit the deck. Caserio spoke on Thursday morning and joked that he was lucky to still have his job.
•In a bit of an unusual twist, Julian Edelman lined up in the back field as a running back. “I guess you could say I was a running back in college who also threw the ball,” the second-year Edelman said, referring to his days as Kent State’s quarterback. Edelman also took part in blitz pickup and pass-blocking drills. He admitted afterward it’s been a while.
“Actually, I did it in Pop Warner when I was 12,” Edelman joked.
The highlight of the blitz pick-up drills was Ross Ventrone and Kevin Faulk getting entangled as they both fell to the ground in the end zone as Faulk was intent on not letting the rookie free agent from Villanova and Ray’s younger brother, beat him. Kyle Arrington used his spin moves several times to beat Fred Taylor.
•For the second straight session, Brady showed his frustration with the two-minute, red zone offense. He yelled at his linemen and receiving corps to get organized inside the 5-yard line. The flip side was linemen coach Pepper Johnson high-fiving and back-slapping defensive linemen Kade Weston and Gerard Warren after they stuffed Laurence Maroney at the one on a fourth-and-1 situation.
The Patriots return to the practice field at 3:45 p.m.
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