By Tom E. Curran and Mary Paoletti
FOXBORO – The wind kicked up on Tuesday and kicked the crap out of the precision of the Patriots passing attack.
After looking so good during the OTA open to media last week, the quarterbacks and receivers had a tough go of it during the 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 portion of the non-contact practice.
Speaking with receivers coach Chad O’Shea after practice, I asked him if it was my imagination or were things more disjointed.
O’Shea shook his head and said, “That wind. Coach Belichick says that anytime we get a chance to work out in the elements we should take it and today was an example of that.”
Stevan Ridley, Michael Jenkins and rookie Aaron Dobson all had conspicuous drops. Lavelle Hawkins, a free agent acquisition late of the Titans, made an astounding catch however, reaching back across his body while his momentum was carrying him downfield to make a tough play.
Kenbrell Thompkins, an undrafted free agent from Cincinnati, was another under-the-radar player who flashed a little bit. He showed excellent acceleration on a few plays, taking short passes and getting upfield quickly.
* The Patriots spent the early part of practice putting the running game in shape. They ran tosses, sweeps and traps time-and-again to get the tempo and angles of the blocking down.
* This session had a little more fire than the others. Tom Brady in particular was quite vocal, hollering both encouragement and commands during passing drills. Dante Scarnecchia was also in mid-season form as he bawled out the offensive line.
* Leon Washington may be 30 years old, but he's still got some speed. The back drew oohs and aahs from his new teammates after he did a pretty little shake and bake to shoot by the defense.
* New tight ends Jake Ballard and Zach Sudfield got some 2-on-1 time with Brady today. Sudfield had an excellent catch during 11-on-11, hauling in a pass off the tips of his fingers.
* Steve Gregory had a pass breakup today of a ball intended for Michael Jenkins. The veteran receiver appeared caught totally off guard to see the football coming his way. It was a strange moment.
* Oft-injured corner Ras-I Dowling was available to the media, though he appeared to wish he wasn’t. Here’s a portion of his chat.
How have OTA's been for you?
Just out here trying to get better each and every day.
How's your health?
Yeah, I'm doing everything. I'm practicing with the team, just trying to work out with the team and do my part.
Is staying healthy a priority for you this year?
I'm just trying to help the team.
What have you guys been working on?
We just try to get better. Get better right now and hope it carries over to the season, training camp.
It seems like Adrian Wilson has added a solid veteran presence. What kind of influence has he had?
Everybody . . . it's just fun working with everybody in the group. It's not just one person.