Patriots safety Pat Chung unloads on rookie wide receiver Terrence Nunn, but can't jar the ball loose. (Pat Greenhouse / Globe Staff)
FOXBOROUGH – The Patriots held their 20th overall practice of training camp this afternoon (3:45-5:40). The team was once again in full pads (as they were this morning), meaning the overall breakdown now looks like this:
15 full pads
2 shorts and shells (light shoulder pads)
OLB Shawn Crable was back at practice, as it seems as if he is being eased into the mix. Other players, such as NT Vince Wilfork and DT Richard Seymour, got a breather. LB Eric Alexander left the session a bit early, walking off under his own power. DL Stephen Williams also was shaken up near the end of practice.
Here are a few observations:
1) Scout-team cards are out. In a visual sign that the Patriots are preparing for a game, coaches held cards in the air at various points of practice for players to read. The cards likely had general plays/concepts that the Eagles run, so it gives the team a chance to familiarize itself for Thursday night’s preseason opener.
2) Terrence Wheatley with play of the day. Second-year cornerback Terrence Wheatley came up with the play of the day, running stride for stride with receiver Greg Lewis up the right sideline. Quarterback Tom Brady threw a bit of a blind heave 40 yards into the end zone, and Wheatley turned at the right time and intercepted it. Lewis was never open.
3) Tom Brady bonds with Joey Galloway & Greg Lewis. While the Patriots worked on punt coverage on one practice field, quarterback Tom Brady was on the other field spending quality time with receivers Joey Galloway and Greg Lewis. The receivers ran routes into the end zone. In the past, it has been pointed out when Brady spends 1 on 1 time with Randy Moss, and this was a case where Brady – who was fired up throughout the entire practice and produced a late score that resulted in the defense taking a “penalty” lap – was continuing to get on the same page with some of the team’s other receivers.
4) Multiple false starts up front. One of the more remarkable statistics from last season is that the Patriots had just 10 false start penalties, the fewest in the NFL. They had 20 percent of that total in today’s 11 on 11 work at the end of practice. Veteran offensive lineman Russ Hochstein was one lineman taking multiple penalty laps.
5) Receivers get jammed up. This was the first practice that I remember seeing receivers facing such consistent jams at the line of scrimmage. On one play in 1-on-1 drills, tight end Tyson DeVree couldn’t get off the line against Adalius Thomas. I also noticed rookie Jamar Love getting physical with receiver Julian Edelman, who was still able to shake free for a catch in 2 on 2 drills.