While I would never rule out the summertime addition of a veteran presence to the OLB spot (probably a lesser name, not a Peppers) I think the team is going with what it has at this point. But I don’t see any one player taking over the bulk of the reps at the spot opposite Adalius Thomas. My guess is that a combination of Pierre Woods and Shawn Crable will be given the chance to fill Mike Vrabel’s All-Pro cleats. Woods has solid experience in the system, got some playing time before breaking his jaw last fall and looks to be a decent edge-setter against the run. But I think he’s lacking in the pass rush department. That’s where Crable comes in. He’s got an impressive build and has a great first step off the edge, although we never got to see it in his injury-shortened rookie season. His teammates rave about him. I’m intrigued to see what he’s learned in a year in the system and what kind of impact he can make in his first action in the big leagues. Throw a wild card like Vince Redd into the mix and I think you have the names who’ll be battling for playing time on the outside. It’s a youth movement. There may be some growing pains along the way, but Bill Belichick seems to be willing to endure those and must see an upside in the group that’s worth working toward. Time will tell if he’s right.
Christopher Price talks about the annual Rookie Symposium, an intensive four-day seminar that runs through today and is designed to educate all 256 members of the 2009 draft class in the rules of the NFL.
Defensive lineman Richard Seymour spoke to the first-year players in 2002 -- after his rookie season -- and talked about the sort of rookie hazing players should expect. In a story he later related to reporters, he talked a night where the rookies had to take the veterans out to dinner. Seymour, a first-round pick in 2001, had to fork over $15,000.
"That was when I decided to put myself on a budget," Seymour later said.
Last year, the rookies from each team participated in the "Ultimate Rookie Challenge," a trivia contest at the end of the symposium that featured questions on the materials they learned. The seven New England rookies -- led by quarterback Kevin O’Connell -- scored the highest. For their efforts, they all walked away with a 32-inch TV. In addition, O’Connell (who finished finishing fourth overall out of the 252 rookies) was also awarded an iPod for his personal performance on the exam.
- Andy Hart Ask PFW: No vacation from reader questions.
Top Ten Moments in Patriots History. Wow, so many to choose from, I wish there was a video clip for each one. Log on and create your list.
- Mike Reiss lists his Top Five questions facing the Patriots this preseason. Last Mailbag until July 14th.
- Chris Gasper reports that when Tedy Bruschi is done playing, he wants to coach.
- Karen Guregian says Willie McGinest still wants to play and would love to finish out his career as a Patriot.
- Christopher Price offers a transcript of ex-Pats CB Ellis Hobbs ESPN Radio Q & A. No axes to grind. Good read.
- Jeff Howe notes Greg Lewis earned the praises of quarterback Tom Brady earlier this month during the Patriots’ organized team activities and minicamp, when the wide receiver looked very comfortable in the offense.
- Scout.com Bruschi's impact like no other. "I think I'll be the same leader I've always been and I hope that young guys see it as we've lost some experienced veteran leadership, and they take it upon themselves to say 'I need to be a leader now,'" Bruschi said.
- Five offensive players who may surprise. Joey Galloway listed at number five. (NFP)
- Adrian Hasenmayer (Fox Sports) Positional Power Rankings: Runningback packages. Pats' group ranks 15th, but Hasenmayer calls them the deepest group in the NFL.
- Albert Breer (Sporting News) Q & A with free agent OLB Willie McGinest.
Jason Lacanfora (NFL.com) Controlling the message, but at a cost? Will Belichick's way work elsewhere?
- Tim Graham (ESPN) NFL hoping players avoid rookie mistakes.
- John P. Lopez (SI) Dying breed: Classic middle linebackers are roaming their way to extinction. Refers to Tedy Bruschi as a "relic". Yeesh.