After running a walkthrough practice on Thursday, the New England Patriots held a full session today. And the setting itself was not the only difference when compared to yesterday: the team also had perfect participation again, with every player on the 53-man roster partaking fully part in the drills. The same goes for the Los Angeles Rams, who also had every player at hand.
A look at today’s injury report — the final one of the season — shows this:
Patriots: LB Dont’a Hightower (illness), DT Malcom Brown (calf)
Rams: S Blake Countess (foot), K Greg Zuerlein (left foot)
After sitting out yesterday’s practice due to an undisclosed illness, Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower returned in full capacity today. “He did everything today,” Patriots head coach Belichick said about Hightower after the session, according to pool reporter Jenny Vrentas. “You could hear him talking out there, and that’s usually a good sign with him. He has plenty of energy.”
Having the defensive on-field signal caller available without any restrictions is obviously good news for the team as it heads into the weekend —and the same goes for defensive tackle Malcom Brown, who was a full participant for the second day in a row after popping up on the injury list on Wednesday.
Following today’s session, ex-Patriots defensive back Lawyer Milloy broke down the huddle ending in the traditional “Awww yeah!” that has been part of the club’s culture since the early days of its dynasty. “He’s one of us. He’s here pulling for us. I appreciate that,” Belichick said about Milloy, who was with the Patriots from 1996 until 2002 and helped the team win its first ever Super Bowl — against the Rams.
Generally, Belichick sounded happy with his team’s progress heading into the game. “This is our sixth practice. We have hit everything. I think we are ready to go,” he said. And with the Rams also having full participation after upgrading special teamers Blake Countess and Greg Zuerlein, there is nothing standing in the way of a tremendous title game.