Bill Belichick canceled this morning’s practice to allow for more teaching time. The afternoon practice began at 3 p.m. and somewhat surprisingly was held in shells (light pads) and shorts.
* There were 11 players not participating: Matthew Slater, Jonathan Wilhite, Bret Lockett, Thomas Clayton, Terrence Johnson, Gary Guyton, Nick Kaczur, Myron Pryor, Ty Warren, Ron Brace and Mike Wright. Most of those players were on the field as observers.
* Tom Brady and Brian Hoyer once again played everyone’s favorite game – hit the barrel. This time the blue barrel was near the left end zone sideline, and by this count each quarterback took nine tries at it. Brady hit the barrel once but was very close on at least three other tries. Hoyer did not hit the barrel but had a couple of close throws. The pair went back a second time, this time with the barrel closer to the middle of the goal line, and in six more tries Brady hit it twice (so he was 3-for-15 in all).
* Robert Kraft walked onto the field just before Brady’s last attempt and stood a few feet behind the barrel. Nick Caserio threw the ball he had, over Kraft’s head. Showing great agility, Kraft hit the deck to avoid a Marsha Brady moment.
* Matt Patricia continues to wear the headset to communicate with the defensive players on the field. Last year, one of the middle linebackers generally wore the communication device, and it is expected to be the same.
* There was one bad stretch for the offense with Tom Brady under center, and Brady was visibly frustrated. In succession, he threw a pass intended for Brandon Tate that went well behind the receiver; it appeared Tate ran the wrong route. Then he went back to Tate and there was another incompletion; on the next attempt he threw a pass that ended up in Patrick Chung’s arms, with Aaron Hernandez the nearest offensive player.
* Devin McCourty’s baptism by fire continues. The rookie is finding himself lined up opposite Randy Moss again and again, and Moss almost always wins out. Today Brady, having struggled to hook up with his other receivers, looked to Moss in the end zone. McCourty had good coverage, but Moss being Moss, he put his hands out at the very last second and made the catch.
* The offense had to run another penalty lap as a group, likely for their struggles during the practice.