FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The Patriots held their first practice of training camp in humid conditions, with parts of the session taking place in the rain (several players were slipping). That seemed to affect spectator attendance as there were seats in the bleachers for fans, which is a bit unusual for the first day of camp.
The practice was held in full pads as the players get acclimated to contact.
All eyes on Wes Welker. The recovering receiver did not participate in practice, although he was present for the session and did conditioning work. He was easy to spot in his red shirt with cut sleeves.
Left guard spot crucial to monitor. With starting left guard Logan Mankins not reporting for camp, the Patriots worked Nick Kaczur at that spot. Kaczur said after practice that he has never played guard in a game. This will be a key area to monitor as the Patriots look to become a more physical unit. In a goal-line running drill in which the Patriots had a power package on the field, Sammy Morris was stopped as Vince Wilfork broke through the line.
Randy Moss hauls in a long bomb. If there was one play that stood out, it was a Tom Brady-to-Randy Moss 50-plus-yard bomb in 11 on 11 drills. Great catch by Moss coming from left to right and making the grab along the sideline.
Taylor Price carries two sets of pads. The rookie receiver, selected in the third round, carried two sets of shoulder pads on his way off the field. In Dallas, there was a considerable buzz when first-round draft choice Dez Bryant wouldn’t carry Roy Williams’ pads, which is part of a longstanding tradition between veterans and rookies. There is no such buzz in New England. While it was unclear whose pads Taylor was carrying off the field, veteran receiver Randy Moss did not have his pads after the session.
Attendance report. In addition to Welker, other players under contract who did not practice were defensive lineman Ron Brace, receiver Sam Aiken, outside linebacker Derrick Burgess and receiver Darnell Jenkins. Brace, Aiken and Jenkins worked with the strength and conditioning staff. Burgess is not present at the facility.
More observations to come…