Though there's still a single preseason game left the Patriots have broken training camp and moved on to more of a regular season type schedule. The fun of training camp, of two-a-days and practice reports is over.
With that in mind we proudly present our awards and superlatives for Patriots Training Camp 2010, brought to you by Comcast Xfinity.
Cutest Couple - Julian Edelman and Wes Welker. Yes, it's gotten kind of annoying with all the comparisons since Welker's about to break NFL wide receiving records and Edelman was still a quarterback eighteen months ago. But together on the field they should cause fits for opposing defense. Welker knows how to get open every snap he plays, and Edelman has a shiftiness that is rare.
Cutest Couple (runner-up) - Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski. It's hard to choose which one I'm more excited about, but these two rookie tight ends are quickly making us realize what we were missing out on with Ben Watson.
Best Smile - Stephen Gostkowski. With a new four year contract, "The Ghost" should be wearing a nice new grin. It well deserved and nice to know we're not headed down the "franchise him every year" plan they did with Adam Vinatieri.
Most Likely to Succeed - Brandon Spikes. He's outplayed Mayo this preseason. We'll leave it at that.
Best Hair - Tom Brady. We made fun of it at first, but now that Brady is past the Bieber stage and it's growing into a Samson-like mane. Just imagine Peyton Manning trying to pull the same thing off. You can't. Even though in theory it would probably make sense to hide his mongoloid forehead. Just another reason Tom Brady is the cooler QB.
Biggest Disappointment - Ty Warren. You thought I was going to say Shawn Crable, right? No matter how you paint it, losing Warren has to be the biggest disappointment of training camp. There was already one spot at defensive end up for grabs, now there's two.
Most Exciting Development - Ron Brace. In his first game back against the Falcons I thought Brace was up and down. He was slow off the ball, but was, for the most part, able to stand his ground once he got going. But against the Rams Brace was overpowering every tackle he faced. He was a still a little slow off the snap, but he was forcing tackles back into the backfield consistently. That's the kind of strength it takes to play end in the 3-4. His ankle injury was reported to be just a sprain so he should be ready for the opener. If he continues to improve like he did this past week he could be an impact player in 2010. Exciting!
Most Likely to be Injured - Terrence Wheatley. Looks like Wheatley just received his third significant injury in three seasons. Crazy to think he was a second rounder when you realize we got both Gronk, Cunningham and Spikes in the second round this year. All signs point to him being unemployed next weekend.
The Human Target Award - Jonathan Wilhite. No matter who he's covering Wilhite is a corner quarterbacks love to exploit. Maybe just because he's never sustained a major injury it looks like Wilhite will be a Patriot once again in 2010, but hopefully this year his role reduced to a dimeback, often used as a pass rusher. Because if he's on the field, that's where they're trying to throw it.
Best Dressed - Randy Moss. Is it just me or does Randy Moss look five years younger all of a sudden? We saw how hard he worked in the offseason, he's clearly focused on trying to land one last big contract. I'd enjoy seeing Darrelle Revis try to cover this Randy Moss with only a few practices to get up to game speed. With a clean-shaven face and another long TD grab from Brady, Moss is clearly looking good for this season.
The "Boom Goes the Dynamite" Future Playmaker Award - Brandon Tate. The Pats have lacked a dangerous kick returner since Ellis Hobbs left and now it looks like they have two in Tate and Devin McCourty. Tate is also developing a nice trust with Tom Brady. He should provide the outside threat the Pats lacked across from Randy Moss in 2009. If Moss is drawing over the top safety help Tate should get single coverage all day long. With that speed he flashed he should have some long gains this year.
Biggest Flirt - Jermaine Cunningham. We heard reports that Cunningham was doing pretty well early on in training camp. But an injury on the last play of the last practice before the Saints game he got dinged. Everyone reports that it's not minor but we still have yet to see young Jermaine bring his pass rush skills to a real game. It would greatly helpful to both him and the Pats if he did it this coming week against the Giants.
M.V.P - Tom Brady. Brady's competitiveness and leadership have set the tone all of camp. For all the conjecture about Brady's absence from Foxboro in the off-season, there is no question who the leader of this team is. Brady looks long haired, focused and finally healthy after two years of injuries. In what could be Randy Moss' last year with the Pats, it looks he and Brady will try to put an exclamation point on what could be the end of their professional relationship.