Postcards from camp: Patriots
I'm probably not the only one to make note of the fact that New England's Thursday morning workout -- its first of training camp -- was forced into the Patriots indoor practice facility due to the ominous thunderstorms that hit Foxboro's Gillette Stadium. So, yes, the Patriots' 2008 season literally began under a black cloud, which some might say is entirely apt after the lingering specter of the Spygate saga last season. Me? I just thought it a piece of tailor-made symbolism that would fit nicely in our setting the scene blurb.
The Patriots signed three veteran been-around-the-block cornerbacks,
Of that group, the Patriots are highest on Bryant, who has a wealth of NFL starting experience and has quickly separated himself from the pack. When Hobbs is healthy, he and Bryant will comprise the starting tandem. Until then, look for Webster to get most of the first-team work opposite Bryant, with Wheatley covering the slot receiver in a nickelback role. One potential wild card to remember is veteran
Whether or not that collection of talent at cornerback offsets the loss of Samuel and Gay probably makes for the question of the year in New England.
Kaczur was on the Patriots' PUP list to start camp on Thursday, and while his physical limitation is unknown at this point, it would seem that New England is seeking to get either
Given his drug arrest, Kaczur's long-term status with the Patriots remains somewhat in doubt. During mini-camp in May, Kaczur was being worked some at right guard, which was not interpreted as a sign that he has a rock-solid hold on the right tackle slot indefinitely.
That should come as no real surprise if you're predisposed to following Brady's off-field, globe-trotting exploits with his supermodel girlfriend,
"No, I gave it up,'' Brady said, of the close parking spot. "I didn't compete for it this year. If I would have competed for it, I'm sure I would have won. But there are other things that have come up in my life that I had to make choices on.''
I chatted up the Patriots' new special assistant/secondary coach Thursday. Guy by the name of
"We've got a lot of young players back there, and he brings a lot of experience,'' head coach
A 16-0 record is a distinct possibility. Wait a minute, that was last year. No way the Pats run the table again in the regular season. Right? Right. But 13-3 sounds about right to me. Who beats 'em? How about at San Diego in Week 6 (the Chargers are due against New England), at Indianapolis in Week 9 and let's say at Seattle in Week 14 (in an upset).
As for home games, the Patriots' schedule is amazingly soft, with just one lousy opponent that made the playoffs last season: Pittsburgh, in Week 13. And the Steelers never beat New England. Let's face it, Patriots-haters, Belichick and the boys are going to be right there knocking on the door of the Super Bowl once again.
It's not a memorable image per se, unless you include under that heading things or people
But when camp opened Thursday, 12 players were PUP-ed, including some key players like Hobbs, Kaczur,
In addition, tight end
Belichick wasn't in the mood to whine about his lack of numbers Thursday, telling me he would take no new steps in this year's camp to counter the effects of the 80-man roster.
"I think every year you run into problems somewhere along the line at some position,'' he said. "You're thinner in one spot than another. You deal with it one way or another. We'll see how it goes. Our plans are to start pretty much the same way as last year in terms of how we practice. But you always have to make some adjustments in camp.''
• For the first time since 1992, a Patriots training camp has begun and there's no
• I think it's fair to say the Patriots didn't mind seeing Miami trade its star defensive end
"There weren't any tears shed around here,'' Belichick told me. Brady said he and Patriots left tackle
• The Patriots have a rookie running back in camp by the name of
• Finding a fantasy sleeper pick on the stacked Patriots' roster isn't the easiest assignment, but a late-round flyer on third-year receiver
• If the first day is any indication, the versatility-loving Patriots could be getting new safety