Catching up done by Moss
Back at practice following illness
FOXBOROUGH — Most of the attention focused on the person throwing the passes, but Randy Moss was back on the field yesterday catching them, a day after missing his first practice of the preseason because of what the Patriots said was illness.
Moss took part in the morning walkthrough, then was spotted in the locker room before the afternoon practice, but declined an interview request. In the portion of practice that was open to the media, Moss was participating fully in preparation for Sunday’s season opener against Cincinnati, as was Tom Brady, hours after being involved in a car accident in the Back Bay.
Moss wasn’t the only one back on the field. Julian Edelman, who missed the last two preseason games with a foot sprain, was practicing, as was Laurence Maroney (thigh). According to the team’s practice report, Edelman and Maroney had limited participation.
Three players missed practice: Cornerback Terrence Wheatley still has a protective boot on his foot, while tackle Nick Kaczur has a back injury and guard Quinn Ojinnaka is serving a one-game suspension handed down by the NFL for violating the league’s personal conduct policy.
“No, not really, we’re cool with each other,’’ Gronkowski said. “I met him at the combine, so of course he’s competition, but at the same time, when we were there, we were all friends and we’re supporting each other.’’
Most of the scouting services had Gresham as the top-ranked tight end, though he missed his final season at Oklahoma with a knee injury. He’s one of many new targets quarterback Carson Palmer can throw to, along with Terrell Owens and Jordan Shipley. Gresham caught 12 passes in the Bengals’ five preseason games (Cincinnati played in the Hall of Fame Game, too).
“He’s a big, big receiver, that’s what he basically is,’’ said Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo. “They like to get him matched up on safeties and linebackers and let him use his size to make plays. He’s been getting better each and every week.’’
Gresham is someone the Patriots must prepare for, but the same thing might apply to Gronkowski vis-a-vis the Bengals. The 6-foot-6-inch Arizona product caught a team-high eight passes in the preseason, half going for touchdowns. He’ll give the Patriots a potent red zone threat, and is eager to start his NFL career.
“I’m definitely getting the butterflies when I think about it,’’ Gronkowski said. “It’s like your first game in college, but this is a high stage.’’
“We’ve had some careless hands thus far this preseason and there’s some things we need to get cleaned up,’’ Lewis said. “That’s one of the things we’re always working at. That’s important to me. Part of being a successful football team is being disciplined.
“When [the Patriots] win football games, they play pretty low-penalty.’’
Michael Whitmer can be reached at email@example.com