Patriots notebook

Those missing need to be seen

By Monique Walker
Globe Staff / August 30, 2011

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The last exhibition game is days away and the Patriots have yet to see several players, including defensive linemen Shaun Ellis and Albert Haynesworth, in game action. The Patriots wrap up the preseason Thursday against the Giants, and on Saturday must cut the roster from 80 players to 53.

Yesterday, coach Bill Belichick said a few players who returned to practice last week may see the field.

“Maybe we’ll have some more guys go out this week,’’ Belichick said. “I hope so. It’s been a few more days since we last took the field. I know those guys have been rehabbing and getting extra treatment and all that, so hopefully they’re closer to getting out there.’’

Others who have yet to play include both second-round picks, running back Shane Vereen and cornerback Ras-I Dowling, who have been eased back into practices following injuries. Linebacker Brandon Spikes hasn’t practiced in weeks.

“We’re certainly working with less this year than we normally do without the workouts in the spring,’’ said Belichick. “But, again, everybody is dealing with the same thing there. It’s nothing unique to our team. That’s just the way it is.

“You’d like to have as many looks as possible, but in the end you have to do the best you can with the information that you have. That’s what we’ll try to do.’’

More aboard The Patriots signed receiver Tiquan Underwood and long snapper James Dearth, and resigned safety Ross Ventrone.

Underwood, who is 6 feet 1 inch and 183 pounds, is entering his third NFL season. He was drafted by the Jaguars in 2009 out of Rutgers. Last season he caught eight passes for 111 yards and averaged 23.4 yards on 24 kickoff returns.

He was released by the Jaguars last week.

“He’s a later draft choice [seventh round]. A player that I think is improving,’’ Belichick said. “Good-sized receiver. Played with [Kenny] Britt at Rutgers. He hasn’t had a lot of playing time and production in the NFL, but he’s had some.’’

Dearth will replace Matt Katula, who was cut yesterday. Dearth played with the Jets from 2001-09 and spent last season with the Chargers on injured reserve with a foot injury.

Patient receiver Wide receiver Deion Branch has played in two preseason games but doesn’t have a catch. Branch was targeted just once in both games, but said he isn’t frustrated.

“My job is to go out there and execute the plays that the coaches call,’’ Branch said. “Definitely as a receiver you want the ball, but we understand and I understand what we’re doing as far as working on the things that we’re trying to do, working the kinks out in our offense.

“Trust me, I have all the confidence in the world that Tom [Brady] will find me when he needs me, when the coaches make certain play calls for him to come to me with the ball. Right now I’m not stressing over the fact that I haven’t caught a ball in preseason.’’

Filed footage Gillette Stadium remained without power because of the weekend weather. As a result, the Patriots moved part of their activities to an undisclosed location.

Watching film of Saturday’s 34-10 loss to the Lions didn’t change how the team felt about the performance, linebacker Jerod Mayo said.

“We were out there [and] we knew how bad the game was,’’ Mayo said. “We just didn’t make a good game plan. We learned a lot from the film and that’s one thing that we’ll take with the loss. We learned a lot, and hopefully we can move forward in a positive direction.’’

Mum on injuries Belichick didn’t have updates on wide receiver Wes Welker (neck) or offensive lineman Dan Connolly (ankle), who both left Saturday’s game with injuries . . . The NFL Network will feature a two-part documentary on Belichick next month. Belichick was the first coach to be wired for an entire season, in 2009, by NFL Films. The two-part series called “Bill Belichick: A Football Life’’ will air Sept. 15 and Sept. 22. The 2009 season was Belichick’s 35th in the NFL and the Patriots’ 50th anniversary season.

Monique Walker can be reached at

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