Belichick's infamous for the drill pictured above. It's all about ball handling skills. Remember last season when Matthew Slater dropped a punt return during a crucial time? Yeah, apparently he didn't pay enough attention to this drill. Basically, Coach puts a ball in your hand and then you need to catch another one kicked to you. Bill sometimes uses it to reward the team. Catch it and he'll end practice early. Last year's hero was Vince Wilfork. Yep, 325 pound Vince won the day.
On a side note, you can hover over the picture above and click "Browse more photos" to get a gallery of Training Camp pix. I wouldn't want you to lose out on anything!!
As you can probably imagine, Tom Brady is the centerpiece of training camp. He had a very long (by Patriots standards) interview with members of the media. There were many highlights, but most notable was that he'll play in preseason games:
Q: Do you think you’ll play in the preseason?
TB: Yeah, I think I’ll play. I think I’ll play. I mean, last year it wasn’t like I wasn’t supposed to play. I would have loved to have played. Just some circumstances came up where I couldn’t. I think it’s really important for a quarterback to be out there playing. If you’re the leader of the offense, you’ve got to be out there leading in the preseason and in practices. I’m excited for those games because I think we can make improvements in those games.
1) Extra work for Julian Edelman. One mark of a player striving for excellence is acknowledging his weaknesses and working to improve them. Rookie receiver Julian Edelman falls into that category. After struggling in the morning practice catching punts, Edelman was the first player spotted on the field today, and was working one-on-one with special teams coach Scott O’Brien. A JUGS machine fired punts in his direction. During full-team work, Edelman was better catching punts, and he also delivered one of the catches of the day at receiver.
2) Laurence Maroney/Fred Taylor combination. As players arrived on the field from the locker room, it was interesting to note that Maroney and Taylor were side by side, chatting it up. It has been mentioned before that Taylor had the label of being an injury-prone running back early in his career, and worked hard to shed that reputation. Maroney is currently in that situation, and it appears as if the two have struck up a rapport.
We talked quite a bit about the Laurence Maroney/Fred Taylor potential connection on this site and it looks like it's taking hold. Ok, so I wasn't that much of a genius. Maroney would naturally seek out Taylor. In fact, I'm quite sure it was part of Belichick's master plan when he brought Taylor on. Yeah, it was obvious, wasn't it and I'm not that much of a genius. Stop laughing. Seriously.
Ian Rapoport, beat reporter for the Herald, has a funny piece on Adalius Thomas. Here's one funny quote:
And Belichick went into an answer about how Thomas is "pretty versatile" and that he could "play anywhere." He noted how if you go back to Thomas’ Ravens days, he even played a little corner.
Having forgotten about that, I light-heartedly asked if he’ll be doing that for the Pats. The coach continued without hesitation but with only a hint of a smile. "Maybe in a situation — goal line or short-yardage — I think he could," he said.
Any guesses as to where Adalius lined up in the afternoon for one play? That’s right: Corner. It’s probably just a coincidence. But I laughed, anyway. Well-played.
If there was ever an question as to how Tom Brady feels about Randy Moss, I think it's dispelled here:
"He’s the best receiver, probably, ever to play the game," Brady said. "It’s easy to have to great chemistry with Randy. You just to throw it where he’s running because he’s usually open."
Miami Herald reporter, Jeff Darlington, reported Michael Vick was working out with the Patriots yesterday. He pulled a John Tomase, overly trusting his "sources", and got burned. However, he did a standup job of publicly flogging himself for the mistake.
It looks like I should stick to covering the Miami Dolphins and stop worrying about other teams in the division. Mike Reiss, the most respected reporter in the New England area, is reporting that Vick was not in New England and will not be in New England. If Reiss reports it, I'll take it as gospel. I'll now attempt to get down to the bottom of the inaccuracy of my sources. My sincere apologies for any waves I caused as a result of this report.
To wrap things up, former Patriots safety-turned-football-analyst has these words to say about a Vick as a potential Patriot:
"(New England) would be an ideal place for Michael Vick to go," Harrison said, "because it’s such a family environment. … and (Tom) Brady would be great for him. Brady would teach him how to be a pro."
That's all she wrote for today. Any thoughts on the Vick situation? Does Wonderboy appear stoked to get back on the field? Adalius Thomas at corner?!?!?
I'm trying my best to make it to Sunday morning's practice. Is there anything you want me to look for? Add it here and I'll see what I can do.