In anticipation of the Colts game this next Sunday, Bill Belichick had the team practicing in full pads in a Monday night practice where there appeared to be some reps with full contact. The Minnesota Vikings played as the scout team during the entire practice, but it was uncertain how much of a workout they gave the first team units compared to the regular scout team players. In a very unusual departure from the usual Patriots policy, the media were allowed to be present for the entire practice. The media immediately abused this rare privilege by disclosing numerous aspects of the practice, showing that the Patriots usual policy of limiting media access is well justified. Who knows what damage can result from the Colts getting advance information about many of the plays that the Patriots are working on. This information has to give the Colts considerable confidence that they can come into the Patriots house and win. Brady and the receivers were obviously still working hard to try to get some semblance of a passing game going. Brady commented after the practice that he felt that they were making some progress, but showed some definite concern that they needed to improve more. This will probably be a source of much pessimism for many fans who probably still despair as to how many years and drafts it will take for the Patriots to recover from the loss of Branch and Givens, if ever. Fans should be patient and not give up too soon on Tom Brady. He is, after all, only reaching the level of experience almost all quarterbacks need to begin to have some success and fans should have some optimism that this will be the case with Tom. And there may be some hope that the Patriots will finally wake up and sign several high priced free agent receivers next year, which Tom obviously needs to succeed. The running backs had very few practice reps, which is probably an indication that the Patriots are finally giving up on the running game. When Heath Evans has the longest run during practice, that has to be a very bad sign. The plays called during the practice have to be the despair of one hard-core Patriots fan who has to be wondering if the Patriots will ever install the plays in practice necessary to win two games in a row. Or if they ever do install them, if they will ever wake up and realize when they need to use them during the games to ever have a chance of winning. Showing how shallow the team's depth is at linebacker, they even used Tully Banta-Cain on a number of reps. Many fans are probably wondering how the Patriots can possibly mount an adequate defense without the big plays of Willie McGinest for the next 4 or 5 years. The depth at O-line also is a cause for concern. With Neal and Hochstein out, the Patriots had to dig deep into the O-line depth chart and use the inexperienced Billy Yates at right guard. His inexperience really showed the problem with the lack of off-season big name free agent signings by the Patriots to create adequate depth at critical positions. A similar concern has to be considered with respect to the D-line also. When they have to play a DE who has an injured arm because of lack of effective depth, this may well reveal a discouraging weakness. It was pretty obvious to observant fans that the Patriots secondary was given numerous easy opportunities to make plays. This is probably a concerted effort on the part of the coaches to boost the morale of this collection of no-name lower draft picks and cast-offs from other teams in the hope that they will take heart and not just give up trying to perform. This is probably unfortunately necessary due to the failure of the team to sign big name free agents to bolster the secondary as even so many fans realized was crucial to the success of the team. Belichick certainly didn't appear very enthusiastic after the practice, citing once more how much work the team still needed to get close to an acceptable level of play. While he didn't say so, he has to be very discouraged about the Patriots being favored by such a large margin in the upcoming Colts game - he is going to have to reach for something else to motivate the team rather than his favorite mantra of the Patriots getting no respect and being regarded as underdogs by the media. The dean of Boston football media pundits was quick to reinforce fans' fears about this team by pointing out that this practice certainly doesn't give much of an idea or any optimism about how the Patriots will perform next weekend against the modern dynasty team, the Indianapolis Colts. This can only increase the awe with which he is regarded by the fans after years of almost prophetically astute and accurate predictions as to the terrible moves made by the entire Patriots organization, especially the hapless head coach, which have led to such abysmal results for this weak franchise. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15493068/ It was deeply saddening to hear another young and rising media personality actually express that he is giving up trying to explain to the fans just how flawed and decaying this Patriots team is. Apparently he has been overwhelmed by the magnitude of the problems, issues, and performance of the Patriots that he has so astutely predicted with his analysis. Some thought that he could aspire to the lofty status of the resident dean of Patriots bashing, but apparently he just does not have the stamina to pursue the many years of observations, over and over again, about the shortcomings of the Patriots' organization and the team's resulting performance. We will miss his canny perspectives and observations that help prepare us for each disappointment. Did I miss anything ?