Patriots practice 21: Observations

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Student assistant Mike Rodak files some of his observations from Tuesday afternoon’s practice, the Patriots’ 21st of training camp and the second joint practice with the New Orleans Saints. The session was held in full pads and in partly cloudy conditions:

Guyton, Slater take step in rehab. For the first time in over a week, linebacker Gary Guyton and wide receiver Matthew Slater were spotted on the practice fields; both were in shorts and t-shirts. Also rehabbing were cornerbacks Terrence Johnson and Leigh Bodden, defensive lineman Ron Brace, and wide receiver Torry Holt. Not seen on the field were safeties Bret Lockett and Josh Barrett, offensive lineman Nick Kaczur, and defensive lineman Ty Warren.

Vollmer limited. Second-year offensive tackle Sebastian Vollmer did not participate in the second half of practice; however, he remained with the teams on the sideline and did not suffer any noticeable injury. Veteran Mark LeVoir stepped in for Vollmer with the top unit.

Marques Murrell carted off. At the conclusion of practice, outside linebacker Marques Murrell was carted off the far end of the practice field, following his participation in the teams’ “opportunity session.” It was unclear what happened to Murrell. (update: Murrell was carted off because of a heat-related cramping type issue).

Opportunity session highlights. Both teams came together at the end of practice for “opportunity sessions” involving the teams’ less experienced players. Newly-signed cornerback DeAngelo Willingham intercepted Saints quarterback Chase Daniel on one field, while rookie Patriots quarterback Zac Robinson had a short pass intercepted by the Saints on the other field. Patriots tight end Rob Myers also dropped a pass during this session.

Welker back in swing. Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker was a full participant in 11-on-11 work against the Saints on Tuesday afternoon. During red zone drills, Welker fought through traffic on two separate catches, taking hits from defenders but fighting into the end zone.

Situational special teams in focus. Tuesday afternoon’s practice was heavy on situational special teams work. Both teams practiced their safety punting, onside kickoffs, and other situational kickoffs, such as end-of-game desperation returns.