Training camp report from Wednesday morning practice
|08.11.10 at 11:07 am ET|
FOXBORO — The Patriots and Saints just wrapped up a joint practice session that lasted roughly an hour and 45 minutes. The teams seemed to be working at about three-quarters speed for many of the drills, but that didn’t prevent things from getting heated between the squads from time to time. Here’s the complete rundown on what happened Wednesday morning.
– Defensive back Bret Lockett, defensive end Ty Warren, offensive linemen Logan Mankins and Nick Kaczur, and outside linebacker Derrick Burgess were not in attendance. Mankins continues his holdout while Burgess is believed to be retiring. Guard Darnell Stapleton has been released and back in the fold is running back Thomas Clayton.
– Receivers Matthew Slater and Torry Holt, cornerbacks Leigh Bodden and Terrence Johnson, linebacker Gary Guyton, and defensive tackle Ron Brace made up the group of Patriots players practicing in either shorts or sweats.
– A couple of notes on the defensive backs. First off, second-year safety Patrick Chung made a nice play in tipping a pass over the middle. Terrence Wheatley got taken advantage of when Saints receiver Mondez Billings snagged a ball that was tossed with just enough touch by Drew Brees to keep it out of the corner’s reach. Even so, Wheatley has looked good thus far in camp and doesn’t seem to be the likely cut victim that many thought he’d be when the team drafted Devin McCourty.
The former second-round pick noted that he’s not worrying about his roster spot when asked after practice. Given the plethora of defensive backs the Pats have on the roster, it’s definitely a tough position to try to contribute in, but overall Wheatley’s camp would suggest he’d be a tough guy to axe.
– Speaking of Pats corners, Randall Gay, who once held the occupation, was also made to look rather foolish. With about one square foot to make a catch from a pressured Tom Brady, Patriots receiver Wes Welker made a leaping catch in the corner of the end zone on Gay.
“He was out of bounds,” Gay said in defense of the play after practice. “That wasn’t even a catch.”
– Julian Edelman, Brandon Tate, Taylor Price, and Darnell Jenkins fielded punts from Saints punter Thomas Morstead, so look for some of those guys to handle return duties in Thursday night’s pre-season opener.
– Brandon Spikes is no longer alone in the “covering Alge Crumpler is harder than it looks” club. Jonathan Vilma struggled in keeping up with the big tight end and it showed when Brian Hoyer hit Crumpler in the end zone on a route in which he was untouched.
– Saints running back Lynell Hamilton went down with a right knee injury on a play and remained on the field for a few moments. He was helped off by trainers and is expected to receive further evaluation today.
– Wheatley was awfully aggressive in punt returns. First, he was seen shoving back and forth with Saints corner Leigh Torrence. Just a couple plays later, he was all over Billings, the receiver who had embarrassed him earlier in the practice.
– Nobody can move like Malcolm Jenkins. The safety for the Saints sprung up during stretches and danced by himself for a good 16 measures of the hip hop that was playing over the PA system. Saints players and fans from both teams (there were quite a few from New Orleans) cheered on Jenkins as an early fan favorite.