Haynesworth, Ellis among those at Saturday's camp


Haynesworth, Ellis among those at Saturday's camp

By Mary Paoletti
CSNNE.com Staff Reporter Follow @mary_paoletti
FOXBORO -- New England held its final training camp session on Saturday afternoon. It was a low impact walk-through ending in dynamic and static stretching and running. The usual game of "Who's here?" being the most exciting part of the show.

Why? Albert Haynesworth finally showed up.

The defensive tackle hasn't practiced since August 3, but his presence signals he's close to a comeback. Bill Belichick didn't elaborate, saying only that Haynesworth is "day-to-day."

Today wasn't a challenging one. He wore shorts and a t-shirt and didn't do much more than watch. He

Defensive lineman Shaun Ellis also joined the team. It was the veteran's first session since his August 7 signing. For those who need stronger evidence than Ellis putting on a helmet, Belichick confirmed the player's removal from the activePUP list after practice.

He had a largely observation day like Haynesworth, but jumped into the stretching and running drills at practice's end.

Saturday also marked the returns of wideouts Julian Edelman and Brandon Tate, safety James Sanders,

Danny Woodhead was notably absent. The status was feared but unsurprising, as the running back took a monster hit in the fourth quarter of New England's 34-14 win over Tampa Bay. There was no medical update as to any specific injury.

Safety Bret Lockett was also a no-show after suffering an injury (thigh) during the Buccaneers game.

It's something to watch, considering the Patriots signed former Jets safety and special teamer James Ihedigbo Friday. Ihedigbo will wear number 43.

"I definitely kind of modeled my game after Rodney Harrison -- physical," he quipped after practice.

He joined veteran linebacker Ricky Brown (Boston College, Oakland Raiders) as new kids on the field. Brown, wearing number 47, spent some time in conference with Rob Ninkovich in between drills.

Still missing: Jermaine Cunningham, Mike Wright, Taylor Price, Brandon Spikes.

Fresh out: Cornerbacks Darius Butler and Leigh Bodden, rookie tight end Lee Smith, Dane Fletcher (thumb).

Mary Paoletti can be reached at mpaoletti@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Mary on Twitter at http:twitter.comMary_Paoletti.

Raiders creep past Patriots in race for top seed in AFC

Raiders creep past Patriots in race for top seed in AFC

The Patriots and Raiders and neck-and-neck as the race for home field in the AFC turns for home. And, with four games left, the Raiders are ahead by a nose. The tiebreakers between the 10-2 teams in play currently? Common games followed by strength of victory. 

The first tiebreaker – conference record – is a deadlock as both teams are 7-1 in the AFC (the Brady-less Patriots lost to the Bills back in Week 4.

After conference record, it's the teams record in common games. 


So far in common games with the Texans and Bills, the Patriots have gone 2-1 and the Raiders have gone 2-0. The Patriots play the Ravens next week. Oakland beat them. The Patriots play Denver after that. Oakland beat them as well but have one more game against Denver in Week 17.

So if it comes down to common games the Patriots really need to win these next two games.

Or hope the Raiders stub their toe a time or two in their final four games which are at the Chiefs, Chargers and Broncos with a home game against Indy in Week 16.

As for strength of victory, that too goes to Oakland at this point. The Raiders’ strength of victory is at .471. The Patriots’ is at .370.

But the tiebreaker that kicks in after conference record and before strength of victory – common games – is very much unresolved.The remaining picture as it stands right now? The Ravens are the No. 3 seed with a 7-5 record that leads the AFC North. The Texans’ 6-6 record is good enough to lead the AFC South. The 9-3 Chiefs are the top Wild Card. The 8-4 Broncos are the No. 6 seed.

The Patriots play the Ravens and Broncos over the next two weeks. Currently, the Dolphins (7-5) and Steelers (7-5) are on the outside looking in.

The Titans (6-6) will have a chance to get even with the Texans in Week 17 in head-to-head matchups but they host Denver and play at Kansas City the next two weeks so they have obstacles to clear before they get there.