Lineman suits up in pads for practice
FOXBOROUGH - The day-to-day watch finally ended for Patriots defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth, who returned to practice yesterday for the first time in more than two weeks.
Haynesworth stepped on the practice field in full pads for the first time since Aug. 4. Only the first minutes of practice are open to the media, so just how much Haynesworth practiced was unclear.
Haynesworth’s return came a day after he traveled to Washington, D.C., and pled no contest to a charge of misdemeanor simple assault. With the case behind him, Haynesworth must now wait and see whether the NFL will discipline him for violating the league’s personal conduct policy.
An NFL official said yesterday there has been no decision on Haynesworth’s case. Asked whether he has been contacted by the league about Haynesworth, coach Bill Belichick said, “Whatever the league does, they’ll announce.’’
As for Haynesworth wrapping up his court case, Belichick said it was a personal matter and “I don’t really have any comment on it.’’
Woodhead back Running back Danny Woodhead returned to practice, five days after taking a jarring hit on punt coverage against the Buccaneers. The Patriots were in full pads as they motored through their second practice of the week. A few players continue to be out. The following players were either not spotted or were not in uniform: running back Stevan Ridley, cornerback Leigh Bodden, running back Shane Vereen, safety Josh Barrett, running back Kevin Faulk, defensive back Malcolm Williams, running back Eric Kettani, linebacker Jeff Tarpinian, linebacker Dane Fletcher, linebacker Brandon Spikes, offensive lineman Marcus Cannon, offensive lineman Ryan Wendell, defensive lineman Brandon Deaderick, offensive lineman Nate Solder, tight end Lee Smith, linebacker Jermaine Cunningham, defensive lineman Ron Brace, and defensive lineman Mike Wright.
Looking good Bodden is coming along, nearly a year after a shoulder injury ended his 2010 season. He played a limited amount of snaps against Tampa Bay and has missed a couple of practices as of late, but the veteran cornerback is where he needs to be, Belichick said. “Leigh’s had a good camp,’’ Belichick said. “He’s played both inside and outside, and it looks like he’s healthy. When he’s had the chance to participate, he is taking a lot of snaps and it looks like he’s done fine.’’
Keeping active The Patriots defense may look more active in terms of the pass rush, but linebacker Jerod Mayo said the best part of the defense is its multiple looks. Mayo seems to be settling into his role, as he was active against Tampa Bay in getting to the quarterback. Now in his fourth NFL season, Mayo said he doesn’t bother to evaluate himself, he just hopes he has a job in a few weeks. “It’s up to Coach Belichick to evaluate us,’’ Mayo said. “You can’t go out there and have a good practice and then all of the sudden you go back and watch the film and it’s not as good as you thought it was or it’s not as bad as you thought it was. So it’s up to those guys and hopefully, I’ll make the team.’’
Learning process With the number of players being introduced to the Patriots system this preseason, there are plenty of things for the new guys to pick up. Yesterday, Belichick provided a glimpse into that process. Anytime the Patriots install a play, an example is shown to the new players, Belichick said. The visual helps break down how the play works and the concept. Different variables of the play and multiple examples are shown, and the process also helps veterans, Belichick said. “I think the best way to learn is to understand what all 11 people are doing,’’ Belichick said. “If you just try to memorize your assignment on every play, then ultimately if you don’t know what’s going on around you, you end up making decisions that impact the players around you, and if you really had an understanding of what the whole concept was, it’s probably less likely that that would happen.’’ The installation of a play begins on the board with the X’s and O’s and then is shown to players via film and then players go to the field to walk through it. “You go out there and practice it in individual drills: one on one, seven on seven, nine on seven - whatever the drills are, and then ultimately you bring it together in a team drill, and that’s kind of the teaching progression no matter how you’re . . . whatever you’re doing,’’ Belichick said . . . A memorial service will be held for Myra Kraft today at Kraft Stadium in Jerusalem. Dignitaries scheduled to attend include Ehud Olmert, former Prime Minister of Israel; Nir Barkat, Jerusalem’s mayor; and Natan Sharansky, chairman of the Jewish Ministry.
Monique Walker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.