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Training Camp Updates: 8/12/2008

From Reiss's Pieces:

Jabar Gaffney over Chad Jackson. In 11-on-11 work, the top receiving trio for quarterback Tom Brady was Randy Moss, Wes Welker and Jabar Gaffney. Chad Jackson, who struggled at times in the preseason opener, did not got any work with Brady when the team had three receivers on the field in the drill. Jackson came on with backup quarterback Matt Cassel.

Uh oh.  "The Chad", heir apparent to the Donte Stallworth crown, is not getting reps with Brady.  If I read too much into this, Chad's in a world of hurt regarding his spot at Donte's position.  If I relax and take a deep breath, Belichick is trying to spread the wealth, giving "Brady time" to all.

In the spring, it appeared that Hobson was a good bet to help the Patriots this year, but he’s yet to break through in training camp (most recently working next to Bo Ruud & Eric Alexander), and could be in jeopardy of not making the club if a player like Gary Guyton (rookie free agent) continues to excel on special teams.

Victor is moving from OLB in the Jets' 3-4 to ILB in the Pats' 3-4 and appears to be having a tough time of it.  Brian Basset from The Jets Blog, in Around the AFC East, Week 1, had his doubts about Hobson's effectiveness:

I think that Hobson is well suited to play inside, but at a minimum, the Patriots should be looking to start their young guys by the end of the season in Hobson's place.

Mike Vrabel and Ellis Hobbs join the first string. Outside linebacker Mike Vrabel and cornerback Ellis Hobbs seemed to have their workload increase.

It's good to see these vets back in the rotation after recently coming off of the PUP.  Interestingly enough, Hobbs is lining up opposite Fernando Bryant which, at this point, projects to be the 2 starters at cornerback.

The possibility of keeping 5 running backs on the final roster. With Belichick asked several questions about RB LaMont Jordan, the topic of possibly keeping five running backs came up (the Patriots kept 4 out of camp last year). The five would presumably be Laurence Maroney, Sammy Morris, Kevin Faulk, Heath Evans and Jordan. "We'll keep the best football players, the players that will help our football team the most," Belichick said, pointing out that if the team would keep four quarterbacks (like it did in 2000) it would also consider keeping five running backs.

That's Bill being his usual cagey self.  Heck, I don't blame him.  You don't want to let the cat out of the bag too early.  But, can you imagine that lineup in the backfield?  Depth like a Roman Phalanx, mad skills, physicality and youth.  I could see Belichick hanging on to 5 running backs just to stuff it to all the pundits who claimed we didn't have a running game last year.

Jerod Mayo -- not a repeat offender. One aspect that the coaching staff and veteran players often stress is that mistakes will happen with young players, but the key is to not let the same mistake happen twice. Belichick noted that first-round draft choice Jerod Mayo has been solid in that regard, as he isn't a repeat offender.

Yup, great draft choice.  Time will tell, but I'm feeling better and better about Jerod Mayo.  Young, smart and big, he appears to be coming along nicely.  We're rooting for you, Jerod.  Keep up the good work.