FOXBOROUGH – The Patriots held their fourth overall practice of training camp today (3:45-5:00 p.m.), and it was once again in full pads. This practice was cut about 15 minutes short by torrential rain and lightning strikes.
Randy Moss, Matt Light and Stephen Neal, who didn’t practice in the morning, made their return to the field. Meanwhile, Joey Galloway, Jonathan Wilhite and Tedy Bruschi were among those who practiced in the morning who were not on the field this afternoon.
Here are a few observations that stood out:
1) Extra work for Julian Edelman. One mark of a player striving for excellence is acknowledging his weaknesses and working to improve them. Rookie receiver Julian Edelman falls into that category. After struggling in the morning practice catching punts, Edelman was the first player spotted on the field today, and was working one-on-one with special teams coach Scott O’Brien. A JUGS machine fired punts in his direction. During full-team work, Edelman was better catching punts, and he also delivered one of the catches of the day at receiver.
2) Laurence Maroney/Fred Taylor combination. As players arrived on the field from the locker room, it was interesting to note that Maroney and Taylor were side by side, chatting it up. It has been mentioned before that Taylor had the label of being an injury-prone running back early in his career, and worked hard to shed that reputation. Maroney is currently in that situation, and it appears as if the two have struck up a rapport.
3) Ups and downs for Kevin O’Connell. In 7 on 7 work, backup quarterback Kevin O’Connell was intercepted by safety Brandon Meriweather on a pass that didn’t appear as if it should be thrown. There were multiple defenders in the area, and O’Connell tried to fire his delivery in to tight end Alex Smith. O’Connell continues to work on his consistency, as he delivered some nice throws in two-minute work, one of which went to receiver Terrence Nunn.
4) Two-minute offense and hand signals. Continuing to work on all aspects of the game, the Patriots spent some practice time on their lethal two-minute attack. Quarterbacks coach Bill O’Brien held a sheet of paper and was leading the drill. A big part of the work seemed to be how quarterback Tom Brady communicated with receivers using hand signals.
5) Shawn Springs winded at the end of the first day. Veteran cornerback Shawn Springs, who came off the active/non-football injury list today, was noticeably tired by the end of the practice. Springs had solid coverage on a few downfield routes, but by the end of two-minute work, he crouched over and put his hands on his knees. Thankfully for Springs, the defense had done its job, getting off the field.