Postcard from camp: Patriots
The Patriots' camp has got to be, in some ways, one of the most boring for fans to attend of any in the NFL. There's no picturesque college campus to explore, as the Pats hold their practices on their regular fields, in the shadows of Gillette Stadium in Foxborough. The players don't ride bikes, they don't offer up entertaining sound bites, and they interact with fans relatively little -- post-practice autograph sessions are timed on the scoreboard, and end when the horn blows.
All of that is by the design of coach
You don't need to be told that New England's offense played surprisingly well under backup
But many of the 2009 rookies will contribute, particularly the four players whom the Pats selected in the second round. Hard-hitting safety
But the 6-3, 330-pound defensive tackle
Belichick is never one to gush about rookies -- or about anything, for that matter -- but he said of Brace's performance against the Eagles, "I thought he was strong at the point of attack. He had some opportunities in the passing game, where he was able to get some penetration in the pocket, was in on a couple tackles, made a play in short-yardage, was in on a couple plays, but -- more importantly -- played his technique well and was pretty stout at the line of scrimmage." For good measure, Belichick added, "There are a lot of things that he needs to improve on, as well."
This appears to be a team that has talent, and lots of it, everywhere: the play of the day on Monday came on a bomb down the left sideline from the fourth-string quarterback, undrafted rookie
Galloway, who has caught passes from 18 quarterbacks during his 14 years in the league, seems thrilled to be playing with Brady. "I've always watched him -- unfortunately I was in other places when he was doing what he did -- and I've always been very impressed with him," Galloway says. "Now that I'm here, I understand why he's so successful. Not only because he's very talented, but very intelligent, and knows football very well."
Are the comparisons to Welker accurate? "Absolutely," Welker says. "We have a lot of similarities. He reminds me a lot of myself when I was a rookie ... He's been a big eye-opener for a lot of guys here, and the way he's been working and playing has been a great thing to see."
From the Club Lounge on the fifth floor of the sparkling new Renaissance Hotel & Spa at Patriot Place, which opened in May, one has a clear and unobstructed view of Gillette Stadium, of the Pats' Dana-Farber Field House ... and of the entirety of the Patriots' practice fields.
If you're thinking of trying to make a reservation at the hotel for a Pats game, you'll have to have pretty deep pockets. Opening night against the Bills is already sold out, and the cheapest rate for Week 3 against the Falcons was, at last check, going for $329 a night. I wonder how many of the rooms have been booked by binoculars-wielding opposing scouts.
• Among the deepest positions on this chasm-deep roster? Tight end. During the offseason, the Patriots signed
• If you're a fantasy football participant and you're thinking about drafting a Patriots running back, my advice would be: don't. Who knows how Belichick will split carries between
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• Belichick, after someone asked him on Monday if he's interested in seeing what