Training camp report from Monday morning practice
|08.16.10 at 12:21 pm ET|
FOXBORO — All good things must come to an end, and such can now be said for training camp sessions in Foxboro. The Patriots held an indoor session on Monday morning due to rainy conditions, the final practice before the team heads to Atlanta to their second preseason game. The Patriots practiced in shells and shorts and did so in relaxed fashion. Position drills and 11-on-11 play was common, though it was the unusual and quirky aspects of Monday that made it stand out. Here are some notes:
– The following players were missing: receivers Darnell Jenkins and Matthew Slater, defensive backs Leigh Bodden and Bret Lockett, offensive linemen Logan Mankins and Nick Kaczur, and defensive linemen Damione Lewis and Jermaine Cunningham.
Defensive back Terrence Johnson and linebacker Dane Fletcher were present but were in shorts and t-shirts.
– As was mentioned above, the Patriots had a little more fun than in typical training camp sessions. One drill that yielded laughter from players was a positional drill that consists of the quarterback dropping back with ball boys, another quarterback, and assistant coaches jogging towards him while jumping with both hands in the air. The quarterback then lobs a pass over the “defenders” and to a stationary target, generally another ball boy. Monday, Randy Moss joined those jumping up and down, making it a bit more entertaining for Tom Brady and Brian Hoyer.
– While Brady and Hoyer had their fun with the aforementioned drill (Zac Robinson was not a part of it), the most popular quarterback of the day had to be none other than No. 75, Vince Wilfork. Head coach Bill Belichick cleared most of the players to the sidelines about halfway through the practice so they could watch as the offense faced the defense in a red zone situation — as the defense. This meant Wilfork was a quarterback, Moss was a safety, Rob Gronkowski an outside linebacker, and Patrick Chung an outside receiver. Aaron Hernandez, Jonathan Wilhite, Wes Welker, Brandon Tate, Sammy Morris, and Sam Aiken were among the other players to participate in the strange but entertaining showdowm.
Belichick instructed the two sides to play to three, with each side getting the edge for either scoring or breaking up the play. After Moss’ “defense” took the first point, Wilfork hit Chung deep in the end zone on an out to tie it up. The offense (playing defense) ended up winning, 3-1, as onlooking players laughed. Hoyer said after practice that Wilfork was only productive as a quarterback because he had “eight seconds” to throw the ball.
– To round out the trifecta of things one wouldn’t think they would see in a Patriots’ practice, Wilfork dropped into coverage on an 11-on-11 drill and swatted down a Brady pass over the middle. Upon making the play, Wilfork sprinted around in celebration like a defensive back and jumped around with safety Brandon Meriweather.
– There wasn’t too much of substance that could actually be taken from the day as far as how players looked (nose tackles playing quarterback generally won’t get you much), but Robinson ended training camp in just as up-and-down fashion as he began it. The third-string quarterback threw a pick over the middle to Jerod Mayo but later made a nice throw through traffic to receiver Buddy Farnham.