Intensity level lags for Patriots

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – One of the main reasons the Patriots and Saints are holding joint practices is to raise the intensity and competition level.

From a Patriots perspective, Tuesday afternoon’s practice fell short. There didn’t seem to be enough fire on the field, and there were several noticeable mental mistakes (e.g. false starts).

One aspect that stood out was that two kickoffs were allowed to hit the ground by the return unit. After the second one, Patriots coach Bill Belichick was spotted talking with special teams coach Scott O’Brien, seemingly curious as to what had taken place.

Here were a few other quick-hit thoughts after watching the session:

Brady stripped from the blindside. Defensive end Will Smith powered through tight end Aaron Hernandez at the line of scrimmage and stripped the ball as quarterback Tom Brady was ready to unload in 11 on 11 drills. Brady didn’t seem happy with this overall practice. He was once again fiery, at one point urging his teammates to pick up their level of play. Best play of the practice? It was probably Brady looking off the safety and then connecting with Brandon Tate for a touchdown in the left-hand side of the end zone. Backup quarterback Brian Hoyer also had some success moving the second-team offense, with a nice sideline connection to Julian Edelman while falling down in the pocket.

Solid camp for Matt Light. The veteran left tackle has quietly put together a solid training camp. In the segment of one-on-one blocking drills I watched, he looked like the team’s best blocker, going up against some tough competition, such as Will Smith, and holding his own.

Fred Taylor the first running back in drills. After hearing running backs coach Ivan Fears talk this morning about Fred Taylor still having a spring in his step, it caught the eye that Taylor was the first running back to take reps in full-team drills. It looks like Taylor is on top of the depth chart at this time. Overall, one positive from this practice was the space created in some parts of the running game.