FOXBORO, Mass. — Bill Belichick and the coaching staff have slowed things down in the last few days of training camp. The Patriots wrapped up their 13th practice of camp Wednesday, and the day's lone session was conducted in shorts and shells.
The Patriots have conducted five practices since Monday, with a light session Monday morning, a walkthrough Tuesday morning and a limited-contact practice Wednesday, when Belichick also canceled the morning practice to focus more on the teaching aspect of camp.
"We want to get mental reps, process the play before it happens and be ahead of the game," rookie linebacker Brandon Spikes said.
Safety Patrick Chung returned to practice after missing Tuesday night's session, but 13 other players did not participate. Wide receiver Matthew Slater, safety Bret Lockett, linebacker Gary Guyton, outside linebacker Derrick Burgess, left guard Logan Mankins, offensive lineman Nick Kaczur and defensive lineman Ty Warren were absent, while cornerback Jonathan Wilhite, running back Thomas Clayton, cornerback Terrence Johnson, defensive linemen Myron Pryor, Ron Brace and Mike Wright worked out on the sideline.
Here are a few other observations from Wednesday's session.
Director of player personnel Nick Caserio is scheduled to meet with the media Thursday, but that will only happen if he's still got a job. After quarterbacks Tom Brady and Brian Hoyer wrapped up a drill in which they tried to throw a football into a barrel 40 yards downfield, Caserio gave it a quick whirl, but the ball was off target and grazed by owner Robert Kraft, who had to duck for cover. The two had a good laugh afterward.
Brady and the first-team offense were having a fluent practice until they worked on the two-minute drill, which got pretty messy. Brady looked irritated at the offense's inefficiency — dropped balls, misreads and an interception thrown to safety Patrick Chung — and the entire offense was forced to run a lap later in practice.
Undrafted rookie Buddy Farnham reeled in the catch of the day. Farnham was about 25 yards downfield when Zac Robinson tried to hit him just shy of the end zone. Farnham jumped up and had to reach back with his right arm, and the Brown product hauled in a big grab.