Though it was drizzly and a bit humid in Flowery Branch this morning, the Patriots caught a break weather wise because it can get much worse here in Georgia in August – and may be this afternoon when the Pats and Falcons go at it again.
Attendance-wise, there were 13 players not in uniform for the workout, for which players wore the slightly unusual combo of shoulder pads and shorts (as opposed to full pads or shells and shorts): Leigh Bodden, Tully Banta-Cain, Gary Guyton, Jermaine Cunningham, Damione Lewis, Nick Kaczur, George Bussey, Thomas Williams, Dane Fletcher, Terrence Johnson, Bret Lockett, Matthew Slater and Darnell Jenkins. Williams was spotted walking between the practice fields, but can’t report that any of the others were.
Falcons owner Arthur Blank and former running back Warrick Dunn were on hand, as well as Joe Klecko, recently inducted into the Jets ring of honor and father of former Patriot and current Falcon Dan Klecko.
For reporters — and the number of Boston-area media who traveled here outnumber the Atlanta media corps — the practice provided a whole new vantage point: the Falcons allow reporters and cameras to stand between two of the three practice fields and get an up-close look at the action.
And with over 140 players on hand, there was plenty to see:
During early 11-on-11 work, it was the Tom and Randy Show: Brady and Moss linked up for a gorgeous 50-plus yard pass that corner Christopher Owens had no chance on. It wasn’t the only long play of the morning between Brady and Moss.
The facility here incldues apartment housing for the players to stay in during training camp (eliminating the need for a hotel), and one of the buildings is at the end of one of the main fields. During Stephen Gostkowski’s field goals, he hit that building twice, clearing the net that went to the top of the goalposts. The first kick hit the roof and the second off the side of building. If memory serves, Gostkowski was perfect on the day.
A favorite drill was the one-on-one pass-rush wotk with Pats’ D-linemen against the Atlanta O-line. Mike Wright absolutely killed Falcons’ backup center Blake Schlueter, exploding off the ball and knocking Schlueter on his backside in a heartbeat. Derrick Burgess came over at one point, as did Marques Murrell. Overall, it seemed the New England players fared well against the Atlanta players.
During later 11 on 11 work, Patriots receiver Sam Aiken and Falcons cornerback Dominque Franks came down with the ball at the same time and wrestled each other to the ground, each while holding the ball. Neither would give up the ball until teammates came over to determine who had possession. The drill ended without any clear decision.
Pierre Woods broke up a pass from Matt Ryan, but seemed upset with himself for not holding on to the ball.
Tom Brady met with the media for the second time since camp began; we’ll have some notes from him shortly.