As expected, the Patriots and Saints practice was a big draw, with the stands and hillside packed with mostly New England fans and some New Orleans fans. Surprisingly, Patriots PR man Stacey James said he doesn’t believe it broke the training camp attendance record of 10,010 set earlier this month, but the afternoon session could challenge that mark.
* Attendance-wise, Torry Holt, Gary Guyton, Ron Brace and Terrence Johnson were observers, but Ty Warren, Leigh Bodden, Nick Kaczur, Matthew Slater and Bret Lockett were not spotted.
* With 160 players spread out over two fields, there was a lot to keep an eye on in the early-going, as at first the teams did warmups and some drills separately, and then did position drills together.
* A favorite drill is when the running backs go one on one against the linebackers – with the Pats running backs against the Saints backers, Chris Taylor put a nice spin move on Troy Evans, Sammy Morris was able to shake Jonathan Vilma on a seam route and made a nice grab on Zac Robinson’s pass, and Kevin Faulk faked Evans out of his cleats.
* On the other end of the field, Pats receivers made it a long morning for corner Leigh Torrence. First Randy Moss beat Torrence (nothing to be ashamed of) and then freshly-signed Rod Owens got a step on him and made a great, laid-out fingertip catch.
* It was interesting to see players and coaches catching up between drills and as they walked off the field; the NFL being what it is, many of the men have crossed paths at one point or another.
* The big news item of the morning: Wes Welker took part in the 11-on-11 work against New Orleans. There wasn’t live tackling, but it was a higher tempo and some bodies banging around. It was another step in Welker’s return, as the regular-season opener looms.
* Moss and Tom Brady had the play of the day during full-team work. Brady ran a play-action to Laurence Maroney as Moss took off, with Jabari Greer and Usama Young both in close coverage. Greer jumped for the ball, but it landed in Moss’s waiting hands.
* Brandon Meriweather batted down a Drew Brees pass intended for Jeremy Shockey on the goal line.
* Saints rookie tight end Jimmy Graham was open for a pass in the middle of the end zone and had it go off his hands. Graham was a basketball player at Miami from 2005-09 but returned to class to play with the Hurricanes football team last fall.
* When the Pats first-team offense was on the field, Dan Connolly was at left guard.
* The teams will be back on the field at 3:45 p.m.