Mike Reiss lists his five observations from the Patriots 2nd mini-camp. Here's one of them on special teams.
The Patriots devoted practice time to their kickoff return unit. Some have asked the question how the NFL’s new wedge rules might affect special teams coaches – teams can no longer run wedges of three players or more -- and I took a closer look at that area in today’s session. I think the rule change will possibly lead teams to using some different personnel on the wedge – less linemen and more linebackers/tight ends. In no particular grouping, the Patriots had tight ends Benjamin Watson, Chris Baker, David Thomas and Alex Smith; defensive linemen Mike Wright and Le Kevin Smith; offensive linemen Stephen Neal, Russ Hochstein and Rich Orhnberger; and outside linebacker Vince Redd working in the wedge.
In scout team drills, [Julian] Edelman was used extensively in a number of different roles in hopes of giving the No. 1 defense some different looks. The former Kent State quarterback — who has been utilized as a wide receiver almost exclusively while in camp with the Patriots — was shuffled around the field like a chess piece throughout the scout team session. I firmly believe New England will do whatever it takes to try and keep him on the roster for the 2009 season for several reasons, not the least of which being he can do multiple things. I’m not saying he’s going to be a starter in the league right away, but his tremendous versatility can’t be denied.
Andy Hart offers his "humble observations" of the practice action. Below is one of them regarding Darius Butler.
Rookie cornerback Darius Butler had what I thought was his strongest workout to date. The second-round pick made a number of very impressive breaks on the ball. He made a nice break to knock away a short Brady pass intended for Moss. On the next play Brady tried to go deep to Moss down the right side with the rookie Butler (who may have been a bit "hands-on" had their been officials) running stride for stride with the All-Pro. Moss got his outstretched hand on the ball, but it fell incomplete and Butler’s coverage made it a nearly impossible completion even though he didn’t actually touch the ball.
Erik Scalavino provides his own news and notes from today.
Moss appeared to be in very high spirits Thursday, laughing it up with teammates throughout practice, and it showed in his play. Moss had several spectacular catches in both individual drills and team exercises. He made a particularly impressive play on a pass that appeared to be thrown wide of him toward the sideline. But he extended his arm and tipped the ball with his left hand, then secured it with the same hand without having to bring the ball back to his body.
More Observations after the jump...
Mike Reiss talked with CB Shawn Springs about Terrell Owens.
"It’s probably too early [to be looking at cut-ups of Terrell Owens], but I actually don’t have to look at a cut-up of him. I can bring a notebook about this thick on him," Springs said as he stretched his thumb and index finger apart.
Springs was then asked to detail more about his notebook on Owens.
"I keep notes on all receivers over the years. These guys are too good to go out there and not know them," he said. "When I played Randy [Moss], I had a game-plan against him. Whether it was Marvin Harrison or going back to Jimmy Smith, or Chad Johnson. That’s one of the things – I’m a big note taker."
New Pats cornerback Shawn Springs tries to rip the ball away from Tom Brady during a drill yesterday in Foxboro.
Shalise Manza Young posted these tidbits from today and more on her projo blog.
Terrence Wheatley had himself a pretty good day, and most of it came at Greg Lewis' expense. He broke up a pass from Matt Gutierrez intended for Lewis in 7-on-7 work, and in 11-on-11 work, he batted down a pass from Kevin O'Connell that was intended for Lewis.
Conversely, Jonathan Wilhite wasn't as sharp. He was in coverage on two long completions in 11-on-11 work -- a 40-plus-yard strike from Tom Brady to Moss and a deep ball from O'Connell to Lewis.
Karen Guregian shares her highlights on the Herald's Point After blog.
Running back Sammy Morris was on hand and taking part in the workout. Morris had missed the team's Organized Team activities (OTAs) as well as the first day of minicamp yesterday. Still, he was there today, taking part in all facets of the practice. He declined to talk to the media afterward.