The 10th day of the Patriots’ training camp got started with a walk-through in shorts and t-shirts. There’s not much you can take in watching a walk-through, but there was some good news from the session. Corner back Leigh Bodden was on the field after missing some time last week. After practice, Bodden spoke with reporters and indicated that the knee injury he suffered wasn’t serious. However, he was not on the field when the team went to full pads in the afternoon. Also not on the field were Ty Warren, Nick Kaczur, Matthew Slater, Bret Lockett, and Gary Guyton. Of course, you can also include Logan Mankins and Derrick Burgess in that group. Speaking of Warren and Kaczur, Belichick indicated in his morning press conference that they were going to need further medical evaluation to determine their status while the rest of the injured players were “day-to-day.” Ron Brace, Terrence Johnson, and, for the first time, Torry Holt, were on the field but in shorts and t-shirts and not participating in practice. Brace and Johnson were doing rehabbing work while Holt watched the offense practice. Returning to the field to practice were Jonathon Wilhite and Mike Wright. Here are some other news tidbits from Day 10:
- As I mentioned in a previous post, the Nick Kaczur injury could be season-ending and has gotta be the biggest injury concern the Pats have. The depth at guard is thin. While Ty Warren is an excellent d-lineman and the team is better when he is there, there is enough veteran depth on the d-line (Damione Lewis, Gerard Warren, and now once again Mike Wright) to absorb any extended absence.
- The Pats made some under-the-radar roster moves today, signing CB DeAngelo Willingham and G Darnell Stapleton. Stapleton has the potential to be a “diamond in the rough” kind of signing. After signing with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2007 as a rookie free agent, in 2008 he played in 14 regular season games, starting 12, and started throughout the playoffs and in the Super Bowl. He hurt his knee last preseason, spending 2009 on IR before being released. Perhaps he can fill in admirably for Mankins until he decides to return to the team (or doesn’t).
- To make room for he Willingham and Stapleton signings, DL Adrian Grady and WR Buddy Farnham were released. Farnham is a disappointing release, as he was a local kid having a decent camp. He grew up in Andover, MA and attended Brown. Hopefully he can catch on with another team or return to the Pats at some point, perhaps on the practice squad.
- Moss victimized the corners covering him, particularly Darius Butler. Butler did come back later on to break up a pass and intercept a ball from Brian Hoyer.
- Jonathon Wilhite struggled as well with just about every receiver he matched up against. To be somewhat expected because he just returned after missing much of last week’s practices, but also somewhat expected because he hasn’t exactly endeared himself to fans on the field. He was definitely a weak point in a weak secondary last season. Luckily, barring injuries, he will be at most the 4th corner, behind Leigh Bodden, Darius Butler, and Devin McCourty.
- Rookie TE Aaron Hernandez goes all-out in practice and is a fiery player, and that showed today in a linebackers-vs-tight ends drill. Hernandez got knocked down by LB Thomas Williams and didn’t appreciate the hit. He got up and threw the football at Williams. There was no further altercation between the two players. I’m not a big fan of bad attitudes but seeing some attitude and fire is nice on at team that, for the last few seasons, at times seemed to be going through the motions.
Tomorrow is the much-anticipated joint practice with the Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints. There will be two sessions, with the first starting at 9 am and the second starting at 3:45 pm. It should offer some excitement over the usual training camp practices. The first third of practice the teams will separate and do their own position drills and installation work, while the rest of practice the teams will come together to work against each other and possibly have a full-team scrimmage. I’ll be at the morning session for sure and possibly the afternoon session, so I’ll pass along a full report, including pictures.