- Mike Reiss, ESPN Staff Writer
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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 takes another step. The recovering wide receiver participated fully in team drills, taking another step in his progression. It is one thing to practice against your own team, but doing it against another team represents more progress. This further strengthens the possibility that Welker will be on the field Sept. 12 for the season opener against the Bengals.
Assistant coaches shed insight on inner workings. The Patriots made assistant coaches Matt Patricia (linebackers), Pepper Johnson (defensive line), Bill O'Brien (quarterbacks) and Ivan Fears (running backs) available to media members. One of the hot topics of discussion was the inner workings of the coordinator-less defensive staff, and Johnson said having no coordinator has brought the staff closer. Still, he said that it's clear who has final say: Bill Belichick.
Marques Murrell carted off. Reserve outside linebacker Marques Murrell was carted off the field toward the end of the afternoon practice. The severity of what knocked Murrell out is not known (update: Murrell was carted off for heat-related cramping-type issues). This is an area where the Patriots are extremely thin, so even though Murrell is a reserve, his potential absence could have a significant trickle-down effect.
Attendance is high. The Patriots reported that 16,455 spectators attended the joint practices between the Patriots and Saints, and 80 credentialed media members were on hand. That created a different type of training camp atmosphere at Gillette Stadium.
Celebrity sighting. Jon Bon Jovi was present for the morning practice between the teams, and was spotted on the field chatting with head coaches Bill Belichick and Sean Payton. Later, Payton would tell the story of how he was at Bon Jovi's concert in 2006 when he got the call from general manager Mickey Loomis that he had been hired as Saints coach.