Tom Brady, Receiving Corps Hitting Stride Despite Rotating Offensive Line


FOXBORO, Mass. — The Patriots and Saints have concluded a full day's worth of joint sessions, and the Pats had identical attendance reports for each practice.

Wide receiver Torry Holt, defensive lineman Ron Brace, linebacker Gary Guyton, cornerback Leigh Bodden, cornerback Terrence Johnson and wide receiver Matthew Slater missed practice but watched from the sideline. Missing entirely were defensive lineman Ty Warren, offensive lineman Nick Kaczur, safety Bret Lockett, left guard Logan Mankins, outside linebacker Derrick Burgess and defensive back Josh Barrett.

The teams reunite Wednesday at 9 a.m. for their third and final practice together before Thursday's preseason opener at Gillette Stadium.

Here are some observations from Tuesday's practices, which were Nos. 20 and 21 of training camp.

Late Injury

Patriots outside linebacker Marques Murrell was carted off the field at the very end of practice with an undisclosed injury. Murrell is on the roster bubble (based on's series of roster predictions, he's on the outside of that bubble), but he plays at a thin position on the depth chart. Whether he'd make the roster or not, that?s not a position where the Patriots can afford to start losing players.

Tactical Game

The Saints looked like the more well-rounded team throughout the day, but the most notable thing was their attempts to attack particular areas on both sides of the ball. The Saints' defense put a whole lot of pressure on the Patriots' offensive line, which has been working in a rotation of left guards.

Dan Connolly was the guy at that spot through the majority of Tuesday's sessions. In the afternoon practice, Mark LeVoir surprisingly garnered almost all of the snaps at right tackle, which is Sebastian Vollmer's spot. In any event, the Patriots had trouble protecting the quarterback at times. However, quarterbacks were not allowed to get hit by defenders, so it was difficult to get a full read on all of the action in the backfield.

On offense, the Saints really picked on the safeties over the middle of the field, and they utilized their tight ends in a big way. That should be an area where the Patriots will study before Wednesday and Thursday's meetings.

Brady and the Offense
Tom Brady and the first-team offense looked in sync, with Randy Moss, Wes Welker, Julian Edelman and Brandon Tate working together to make a number of big plays. Tate, especially, did a nice job of weaving through the Saints' secondary.

Get Picked
Saints quarterback Drew Brees only threw one interception all day, and Terrence Wheatley was the guy who picked him off. The Patriots threw a bunch of man coverages at the Saints' wide receivers before switching to zone. Brees didn?t read it quick enough, and his intended pass for Courtney Roby landed in the hands of Wheatley.

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