Earlier today, the Patriots held their final camp practice that is open to the public. The practice was a walk-through that focused primarily on special teams, but the big news of the day was who was and was not on the practice field. Several players who have missed practice for several weeks were present while there were some new faces missing.
Let’s run down the list.
Julien Edelman, Brandon Tate, and James Sanders returned to the field after missing several practices. Tate had been out since Aug. 4 while Sanders had only taken part in a few practices early in camp. Edelman had missed the past week or so of practice. Making his way onto the practice field for the first time since signing with the Patriots was defensive lineman Shaun Ellis. Ellis, who joined the team after playing with the Jets for 11 seasons, had been on the PUP list. Bill Belichick later confirmed that Ellis is off the PUP list and ready to practice.
Also seeing the field, though not participating in practice, was Albert Haynesworth. Haynesworth, who participated in practice shortly after being signed and dominated, later went MIA and hasn’t practiced since. Haynesworth is not on any type of injury list. In terms of actually participating in practice, Belichick said the same thing he always says in regards to Albert Haynesworth: “He’s day-to-day.”
Leigh Bodden, Darius Butler, Lee Smith, Dane Fletcher, Danny Woodhead, and Bret Lockett were all new names on the absentee list. All played in Thursday’s game, and Bodden, Butler, and Smith didn’t seem to suffer any injuries in that game. Fletcher left after the first defensive series with a thumb injury, Lockett with a groin or thigh injury, and Woodhead took a hard hit to the head. After the game, Woodhead noted that he was fine and Belichick echoed that statement, but the team is likely taking it easy with him just to play it safe. His injury (?) doesn’t appear to be serious, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Woodhead was held out the rest of the preseason to make sure he’s ready for the regular-season opener. Head injuries aren’t anything to play around with, and Woodhead has already shown in two preseason games that he hasn’t lost anything since last season.
Kevin Faulk and Ras-I Dowling watched practice from the sidelines but did not participate.
The following list of players have been missing for multiple practices and were not spotted today:
…running backs Shane Vereen and Eric Kettani; wide receiver Taylor Price; offensive linemen Marcus Cannon (active/NFI) and Ryan Wendell; defensive linemen Mike Wright, Ron Brace (active/PUP), Jermaine Cunningham, and Brandon Deaderick (active/PUP); linebacker/safety Josh Barrett; linebackers Brandon Spikes and Jeff Tarpinian; and cornerback Malcolm Williams.
Yesterday, the Patriots signed safety James Ihedigbo, a former UMass player and New York Jet. Today, they announced the signing of former BC linebacker Ricky Brown. Brown had played five seasons with the Oakland Raiders and started 13 games as a reserve linebacker and special teams player. Both Brown and Ihedigbo add depth that was sorely needed at safety and linebacker, respectively.