FOXBOROUGH — This was the second straight padded practice that saw its share of dog piles, and when the dust settled on the second one, linebacker Bobby Carpenter was at the bottom of it.
What started as a two-man gang tackle by Carpenter and Patrick Chung on Shane Vereen, ended in another melee which had even coach Bill Belichick boiling, yelling at everyone on the field to stop and give him three laps.
“That’s the first time I’ve run three laps probably since high school,” Carpenter said. “So it was definitely a surprise for me.”
Belichick and Tom Brady both talked to the team before winding down the day’s session. There was a lesson in it all, however, with camp reaching its dog days and short tempers getting shorter.
“Competition is good, fighting is not,” Carpenter said. “So there’s a fine line between taking it to the whistle and taking it a little bit beyond. But as it goes every year, as it gets hotter, camp gets longer – we’ve been out here about nine, ten days now – guys start getting a little irritated, agitated. And things get a little hot some times, but fortunately that’s what these laps are for, to cool us off.”
Assistant coaches Dante Scharneccia and Pepper Johnsonran the laps with their players. Dan Koppen was taken off the field by a trainer and doused with water. For better or worse, Carpenter admitted some of it was temper, but some of it was also ego.
“No one wants to be embarrassed out there,” Carpeneter said. “The offense wants to look good, the defense wants to look good, coaches for both sides want to look good. So we have some heated contests, and that’s what it’s all about. You want to be competitive and improve. But Like I said, there’s a very fine line between competition and fighting.”