I think the Patriots’ potential for offensive explosion is impressive. I think the tight ends, and their versatility and diversity of skills, is one of the undersold stories of camp so far. I think they will add a lot to this offense, starting with Chris Baker.
A few months ago, I raised the point that perhaps they missed an opportunity to trade up the board -- with all their ammunition -- and land an impact player like Malcolm Jenkins (No. 14, Saints). Instead, they traded back and accumulated four second-round picks. When I watch practices, it seems to me that they’ve hit on all four second-rounders.
It’s early, but one final thought is that I’ve got to hand it to the Patriots for their draft maneuverings.
On the flip side, the depth at linebacker has to be a concern. I’m curious to see how Bill Belichick and Co. address that area, because I’d be surprised if there weren’t changes before the season.
Mike Petraglia comments on the noteworthy versatility of T Sebastion Vollmer.
"Sebastian looks like a very flexible player," Belichick said this week. "He played mostly left tackle in college at Houston and when he went to the All Star games he played right tackle. We’ve worked him on both sides. In the spring workouts, he worked out at both sides and looked equally comfortable. So I would say from a technique standpoint and from a talent standpoint, it’s rare that you have guys that are big enough and physical enough, which you need to play on the right side, that are then athletic enough and can handle some of the pass rushers that are over there on the left side."
Christopher Price recaps his favorite drill to watch, the one-on-ones.
There were more of my favorite drills — the one-on-ones — relatively early in the practice session. Some of the highlights from that included Ray Ventrone delivering a great hit on Terrence Wheatley, which caused a fumble; Laurence Maroney absolutely blowing past Jerod Mayo with ease; Fred Taylor putting a terrific juke on Vinny Ciurciu (and later in the same drill, Gary Guyton); Tank Williams tackling down Dave Thomas; and Darius Butler absolutely blowing past Eric Alexander.
TRAINING CAMP OBSERVATIONS
BenJarvus Green-Ellis drags a defender during a one-on-one drill Tuesday morning.
- Mike Reiss lists the notable points from Tuesday morning's practice, and from Tuesday afternoon's practice.
- Andy Hart checks in from the field with his notes from the morning.
- Ian Rapoport captured a light moment at camp, calling it, "The Mayo and Guyton Show."
- Chris Forsberg recaps Brian Hoyer's success on the two-minute drill that forced the defense into running a lap.
- Mike Reiss talks about Mike Shanahan's visit to Gillette Stadium, and what he means to fans of the game. (1.30 min. video)
- Shalise Manza Young figures it was a "rest the arm" sort of practice for Tom Brady in the morning.
- Christopher Price offers his notes from Tuesday morning's and Tuesday afternoon's practices.
- Erik Scalavino presents his Tuesday afternoon quick hits from camp. Belichick wasn't happy with this one.
- Paul Perillo talks with special teams coach Scott O'Brien and presents his Tuesday afternoon notes from camp.
- Paul Perillo offers his Tuesday morning practice notes, one of which is included below.
In what has become a daily activity, the team conducted a one-on-one tackling drill and Ray Ventrone made a huge play, making a perfect form tackle on Wheatley while also knocking the ball loose from the second-year corner and recovering the fumble. Taylor was also impressive in the drill, twice skating through untouched – first breaking Vinny Ciurciu’s ankles with a little shake-and-bake and then doing the same to Gary Guyton.
- Erik Scalavino introduces us to Terrence Nunn, wearing Gaffney's number 10 and impressing the Patriots staff.
- Ask PFW: Part I - Position battles and roster spots.
- Ask PFW: Part II - Belichick, O'Connell, Gostkowski, cornerbacks, an expanded season and sponsored jerseys.
Patriots Today: Locker room uncut - O'Connell, Welker, Meriweather, Guyton, and more. (3.10 min. video)
- Steve Buckley notes how Bill Belichick's two-a-days-for-nine-days schedule is the biggest story in camp, and then explains why it's no big deal. Four years without a championship, these Patriots aren't "The Patriots" anymore.
- Mike Reiss presents a Rookie Report video, on how each rookie can help the team. (2.15 min. video)
- Karen Guregian reports Rodney Harrison feels S James Sanders has what it takes to fill his shoes this season.
- Shalise Manza Young sees Ron Brace open to trying out new roles for the Patriots.
- Chris Gasper highlights Belichick's hiring of special teams coach Scott O'Brien, who Belichick says is "really probably as good a coach as I’ve ever been around." High praise.
- Karen Guregian focuses on Scott O'Brien's idea of developing everybody because the more punt returners you can have, the better it is.
- Ben Collins notes CB Leigh Bodden hopes to be remembered for his successful years as a Patriot.
- Ian Rapoport reports Leigh Bodden's praise of the Patriots organization, "Everybody’s hungry to win, everybody’s attitude is upbeat - coaches, players, the owner, everybody. It’s just a good culture around here."
- Mark Farinella feels that Laurence Maroney is still trying to shake the 'fragile' label and notes there is a good chemistry among the runningbacks at camp.
- Ian Rapoport discusses the master-grasshopper friendship between running backs Fred Taylor and Laurence Maroney, who says Taylor is "teaching me the game of football." It's all good folks.
- Mike Reiss answers a full-swing mailbag full of Training Camp questions.
- Chris Gasper offers some team tidbits from yesterday and talks about the back-up QB competition between O'Connell, Hoyer and Walter. (1.48 min. video)
- Christopher Price focuses on Julian Edelman, who aims to become a jack-of-all-trades Welker 2.0.
- Mark Farinella berates the beefy, sweaty adults who shove kids aside to catch a Gostkowski-kicked football on the end zone hill during practices. He's right, these buffoons should be ashamed of themselves.
- Tim Graham (ESPN) AFC East quote marks.
- Tim Graham (ESPN) Maroney not compelled to prove he's no phony.
- NFL Live crew discuss the importance of Brady's pre-season games. (2.21 min. video)
- Peter King (SI) Mike Shanahan viewing Patriots practice.
- Michael Lombardi (Nat'l Football Post) The Pats' signing of Walter is an interesting move. "Walter needed to go to a team that can highlight his skill level as he rebuilds his career. What better team to do it with than the Patriots?"