"There’s no cliff I’m throwing myself off right now. I’m telling you the truth," Scarnecchia said yesterday when asked about the state of his offensive line. "I look at it, believe it or not, that the glass is half full and filling up. That’s just how I see it. With every position, all I ask is their best. They’re giving it to us. We will improve."
"Is it the finished product? No," Scarnecchia said. "We have a couple more weeks to get it as good as it can be, and then we’re going to play games."
Karen Guregian tracks RB Jeff Demps transition to the NFL. Demps shows some rust and fatigue, but RB coach Ivan Fears is still pretty impressed.
"That’s probably going to be the toughest part, just getting back into that football shape," Demps said.
"Skill guys can play a lot faster than big guys can," Fears said. "For him, it’s mostly just getting his feet up under him, getting a little wind back in his lungs, and getting used to catching the ball. I’m sure it won’t take that long for a guy like him. He’s such a great athlete, just based on what I’ve seen on film."
New England's formula for winning Super Bowls was rock solid: pair a meat-and-potatoes but highly efficient offense with a ball-hawking opportunistic defense that repeatedly made big plays in big games. It wasn't pretty or glamorous. But it yielded three Super Bowl victories in four years. The Patriots since 2007 have been very glamorous, setting offensive records of one kind or another almost every season. But their prettier style of football has fielded zero Super Bowl victories, including two crushing defeats in the big game itself in which the offense failed to show. The missing element has been those game-changing defenders making big plays in critical moments, while handing the offense easy points. So the Patriots this year went all in on defense in the draft, grabbing stoppers with the first six of seven total picks. The group was led by first-round selections Chandler Jones, a pass rushing specialist defensive end, and Dont'a Hightower, a multi-purpose linebacker. Jones has shown signs of game-changing pass rush capabilities so far in the preseason. If he and one or two other young defenders prove home-run picks, it should be all New England needs to relive its Super Bowl-winning glory days.
- Erik Scalavino tells us what happened in Wednesday's practice with the Buccaneers. The tempo is faster than in a regular practice.
- Erik Scalavino notes Jeff Demps is racing just to get back in football shape, especially since he hasn't touched a football in seven months.
- Press Conference: Bill Belichick.
- Player Interviews: Tom Brady - Jeff Demps - Devin McCourty.
- Patriots Today - Wednesday practice report. (1.34 min. video)
- Patriots Today - Vollmer back in action. (1.29 min. video)
- Patriots Today - Brady speaks to media. (4.11 min. video)
- Patriots Today - Demps debuts in Tampa. (2.29 min. video)
- Mike Reiss shares his practice notebook from Wednesday. Scarnecchia "maybe hints that Brian Waters isn't coming back".
- Jeff Howe tells us about the first practice the Pats held with the Bucs in Tampa. Welker & Chung were among 12 players who missed practice.
- Tom E. Curran reports Wes Welker didn't take part in Thursday's joint practice but nothing seemed overtly wrong. Could be the team is just managing his reps.
- Mike Cole reports Bill Belichick calls on the team to 'suck it up' and stay 'mentally tough' during this brutal stretch of the preseason.
- Karen Guregian wonders if the Pats need a veteran presence for their young running backs.
- Mike Reiss reports DL Kyle Love gets a 1-year extension that's well-deserved.
- Jeff Howe tells us what Pepper Johnson brings to the table that other coaches don't - including Belichick.
- Field Yates and Mike Reiss report Jonathan Fanene's bonus could be in doubt.
- Greg A. Bedard says Jonathan Fanene's brief tenure with the Patriots will go down as one of the strangest in team history, and the story isn't over.
- Tom E. Curran says the Patriots' patience with Fanene wore thin. (1.05 min. video)
- Nick Underhill looks at the WR competition and wonders if Jabar Gaffney is in danger of being cut.
- Mike Reiss points out some key dates ahead for the Patriots, including the first roster cut-down to 75 players on Monday Aug. 27.
- Jeff Howe Patriots Notebook: Sebastian Vollmer eased his way into things yesterday, practicing in one-on-one drills but no full-team work; TE Daniel Fells also made his practice debut after a shin injury derailed his offseason; The word on Andre Carter is he still lacks burst and explosion, and he isn't close to being ready to play; Kyle Love was signed to a one-year contract extension worth 3.1 million including a $500K signing bonus.
- Greg A. Bedard & Shalise Manza Young Patriots Notebook: Dante Scarnecchia is not worried about the offensive line; Tom Brady made it clear the trip to Tampa is a work trip with no activities planned; Bucs WR Tiquan Underwood isn't bitter about his release the night before the Super Bowl; Pats had six players return to practice.
- Darin Gantt (ProFootballTalk) Rarely heard Patriots assistant defends young blockers.
- James Walker (ESPN) When will Jeff Demps play?
- Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) Demps drawn to "family-based" atmosphere in New England.
- Roy Cummings (Tampa Tribune) Bucs start joint practices with Patriots in Tampa.
- Pat Yasinskas (ESPN) Schiano taking lessons from Belichick.
- Roy Cummings (Tampa Tribune) Belichick predicts success for new Bucs coach Schiano.
- Dan Hanzus (NFL.com) Tiquan Underwood: No hard feelings for Bill Belichick.
- Video (Fox Sports) Bucs, Pats come together. (1.11 min. video)
- Josh Alper (ProFootballTalk) Report: Pats cut Fanene with failure to disclose physical condition designation.
- James Walker (ESPN) AFC East issues at right tackle. (1.39 min. video) Thinks the Pats will be in good shape with return of Sebastian Vollmer.
- Kerry J. Byrne (SI) Statistical issues every team faces in their 2012 Super quest.
- Gregg Rosenthal (NFL.com) NFL head coach power rankings. Bill Belichick, Mike Tomlin and Jim Harbaugh share top tier.
- James Walker (ESPN) AFC East and Maurice Jones-Drew.
- Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) Nearly 1,200 players will lose their jobs soon.
- James Walker (ESPN) 'Hard Knocks' report: Episode three. The 'Ryan Tannehill era' is underway.
- James Walker (ESPN) Fitz, Moore better than Sanchez, Tebow?
- Darin Gantt (ProFootballTalk) Andre Carter takes free agent tour to St. Louis.
- Clifton Brown (Sporting News) Preseason Week 3 questions: Quarterback battles, matchups in crosshairs.
- Don Banks (SI) Who won, lost in preseason Week 2.
- Alex Marvez (Fox Sports) NFL, players union clash over trade deadline, IR.