Roster Watch: Camp Battles On Display

WR Greg Lewis

Sometimes watching the roster battles in training camp is more exciting that a preseason game. Then again, maybe not. The Patriots head to Philadelphia to play the Eagles tonight where some of the most compelling camp battles can play out in live action.

TOP CAMP BATTLE: Joey Galloway vs. Greg Lewis for No. 3 WR
-- The two first-year Patriots will both have a role on the New England offense this fall, but they continue to battle for what is a starting job in the Patriots' spread offense. Galloway has been monitored in his practice reps, but has worked most often with Randy Moss and Wes Welker. Lewis hasn't shared that group's reps as often, but has the versatility to play both in the slot and on the outside. That versatility will pay off during the season, whether it's in a starting job or in many of the Patriots diverse offensive packages. Both players have caught the ball reasonably well so far in camp and look to be on the way toward earning Tom Brady's trust.

OTHER BATTLE FRONTS:
The two biggest battles on the roster remain works in progress. The battle at outside linebacker doesn't yet involve second-year player Shawn Crable, as the former third-round pick opened camp on PUP. The competition at the spot will also clearly heat up with the trade addition of Derrick Burgess.

The competition at cornerback has also been limited with guys missing action. While Leigh Bodden appears well on his way toward nailing down the starting RCB job, the left side is up for grabs. Both Jonathan Wilhite and Shawn Springs have missed significant practice time for undisclosed reasons. In their absence rookie Darius Butler and Terrence Wheatley have gotten the bulk of the reps and both players have shined at different times.

TOP DOG: WR Randy Moss.
Though he's been monitored in his practice reps, most often only practicing just once a day while his teammates have gone through double sessions, Moss has still excelled. He rolls out of bed and is easily the most talented player on the field. He's catching everything thrown his way in camp, including passes that weren't supposed to go to him. In one drill in which four QBs throw to four WRs, two passers accidentally threw to Moss. He coolly caught one ball in each hand and turned up field as if nothing strange had happened. If he can stay healthy, something the team appears intent on trying to ensure as best it can, Moss seems poised for another big campaign with Brady back under center.

ROOKIE REPORT:
Sebastian "Sea Bass" Vollmer continues to get reps with the first unit at left tackle when starter Matt Light has missed practice. Belichick has raved about the 6-8 rookie out of Houston who could end up as New England backup swing tackle, that's if he doesn't grab onto a starting job on the right side..

WR/KR/PR Julian Edelman struggled early in camp returning both punts and kicks. But the converted QB has continued to get reps in both areas and is already showing clear improvement.

DL Ron Brace, a second-round pick, has gotten reps at both end and tackle in practice. Primarily a tackle at Boston College, Brace is showing impressive versatility early in his career looking to provide depth on New England's talented defensive line. ...

CB Darius Butler has looked better in team practice reps than in drills in training camp. He's been used on both the outside and in the slot, using a physical, press style to make some plays on the ball. He's in the mix for playing time in the wide-open secondary.

INJURY REPORT:
DL Ty Warren opened camp on PUP after undergoing offseason groin and knee procedures.

LB Shawn Crable opened camp on PUP.

DL Richard Seymour has missed extended time with an undisclosed injury. LB Tedy Bruschi has not practiced much in camp, also missing time with an undisclosed injury.

CB Shawn Springs has now missed nearly a week of practice due to a reported illness.

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