Thursday practice notes: Tom Brady back as Patriots, Bucs take part in low-intensity workout
|08.15.13 at 5:34 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Tom Brady was back on the practice field with his teammates Thursday afternoon at Gillette Stadium. The two-hour session, which was held in shorts, sweats and shells, was a slow-speed workout — really, a glorified walkthrough — as the Patriots and Bucs made final preparations for their preseason game Friday night at Gillette Stadium. Here are a few quick notes:
•The following players were not on the field at the start of practice: wide receiver Mark Harrison (who was watching as an observer), tight ends Daniel Fells and Rob Gronkowski and defensive linemen Jermaine Cunningham and Armond Armstead. (Armstead and Gronkowski were both spotted on the field after the start of practice, watching with their teammates in sweats.) In addition, defensive back Devin McCourty was wearing a red, noncontact jersey. And as has been the case the last several days, cornerbacks Ras-I Dowling and Alfonzo Dennard were present, but were extremely limited beyond the team drill sessions at the start of the workout.
•The quarterback didn’t look any worse for wear when he took the field with his teammates for the workout that lasted just over two hours. A day after he left practice prematurely because of a knee problem, he was back under center. He did have the brace on and the session wasn’t exactly held at a breakneck pace, but he did not appear limited in any way, and took his usual reps as the starter ahead of backups Ryan Mallett and Tim Tebow. It remains to be seen whether or not the incident will have any long-term effects on Brady — particularly if he does play Friday against the Bucs — but at least on Thursday, there was no problems.
•Brady’s highlights came relatively early in 7-on-7 work, when he had some really impressive connections with Danny Amendola and Aaron Dobson. He also floated a nice pass to Josh Boyce later on in 11-on-11 drills. It was also interesting to note that no Tampa Bay defender came anywhere near the vicinity of Brady and his knee throughout the session.
•Again, it was a low-speed workout with a lot of focus on situational work and special teams. Rookie Duron Harmon continued to get work as the personal punt protector, and could be in line for more work at that spot after seeing time there in the preseason opener last week against the Eagles. In other special teams notes, the Patriots spent time working on free kick situations, and utilized Julian Edelman as the returned in this role.
•Officials were present again, and delivered a presentation to the media before practice about some of the rules changes and points of emphasis for the coming season.
•The practice came to an end on a happy and heartfelt note, as the team allowed Eduardo Martinez — a participant in the Make-A-Wish program — to be a part of the final play from scrimmage. Martinez was in the huddle with the team, and as they came to the line of scrimmage, he lined up in the backfield. Brady took the snap from Ryan Wendell and handed the ball to Martinez, who hustled around right end past the Bucs for a touchdown. The team gathered around Martinez at the end of practice to celebrate the event, and Martinez was spotted playing catch with Tim Tebow.
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