5 from camp
FOXBOROUGH Ė- Five final observations from today's Patriots minicamp practice at Gillette Stadium:
1) Mills moment. One passing drill that is enjoyable to watch is specific to tight ends close to the goal-line. The offense sends just the three tight ends into pass patterns against three defenders. Garrett Mills -- a fourth-round draft choice in 2006 who spent his rookie season on injured reserve Ė- caught the eye in that drill, and then in 7 on 7 work he made a solid catch on a strike from quarterback Matt Cassel. Linebacker Tedy Bruschi was in coverage. Mills is going to be a player to watch when the pads come on, potentially in a Larry Centers-like role.
2) Morris vs. Dillon. When the team went through a kickoff coverage drill, running back Sammy Morris was on the field, a reflection of the value he could potentially provide in addition to simply playing running back. While the Patriots will likely miss Corey Dillonís hard-charging running, specifically at the goal-line, it looks like Morris is going to provide a more diverse set of skills at that roster spot.
3) Veterans not excused. Not even 18-year veterans get a pass when they jump offsides. Attempting to blitz, linebacker Junior Seau crossed the line of scrimmage before the ball was snapped, so he took a lap around the practice field.
4) Rookie assignment. Cornerback Mike Richardson, a sixth-round draft choice out of Notre Dame, had a tough task in 11 on 11 drills, often lining up across from receiver Randy Moss. He held his own. Since itís only June and players arenít wearing pads, it is difficult to make any definitive statements about any young players, but Richardson Ė- at the very least Ė- did not look out of place.
5) Everyone plays. With 75 players suited up for practice, itís not easy to get everyone snaps at a solid practice pace. So itís interesting to note that at the end of practice Ė- when some of the more established players on the roster are running sprints Ė- many of the teamís younger players head to the opposite field and run plays in a structured setting. Thatís where you see most of the future prospects, and watch to see how rookie free agent quarterback Matt Gutierrez runs an offense. Gutierrez seems to do OK in that regard.