FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- At the end of every day of training camp, ESPNBoston.com will post one blog entry highlighting the key news of the day:
Wes Welker's return. The day started with Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio announcing at 9 a.m. that Wes Welker would be taken off the active/physically unable to perform list and practice for the first time. Caserio told reporters that Welker had passed his physical. Welker drew an ovation from the crowd upon his arrival on the field and practiced at full speed. He did not participate in team drills, only in individual and agility drills.
Injuries adding up. The Patriots had just 67 players at the afternoon practice, as injuries are adding up at various spots, especially along the offensive and defensive lines. That's a low number considering teams can have up to 80 players on their roster in training camp. With top guards Nick Kaczur and Stephen Neal not practicing, Dan Connolly (5th year) and Ryan Wendell (2nd year) stepped in. With top ends Ty Warren and Mike Wright not practicing and Ron Brace still on the non-football injury list, it gave more reps to veterans Gerard Warren and Damione Lewis, as well as Myron Pryor and Kade Weston.
Coaches focus on sideline management. Although there is no official offensive and defensive coordinator on the staff, both practices provided a snapshot for who might be handling those types of duties. Linebackers coach Matt Patricia worked on the headset as the team worked on substitutions from the sideline, while quarterbacks coach Bill O'Brien used a radio to call in plays.
Crowds set the tone. There was a noticeable energy throughout the day, sparked by overflowing crowds. The Patriots reported that 10,010 spectators were present for the afternoon practice, and with approximately 7,000 in attendance for the morning, it wasn't hard to hear the cheers. The loudest ovation, of course, was for Welker.