Shalise Manza Young S James Sanders is the quiet leader of the secondary, and the "old man" of the group at 25. "James is an excellent leader; he plays with a good level on confidence," Belichick said. "He's a very good, physical player, he's a tough kid. He's a very committed player, spends a lot of time in the classroom, studying, learning, watching tape, making sure he knows his assignments. "I think he's a leader for any young player — forget young player, for any player — to emulate and follow. I think he's very professional and you'd like to have 53 players like James on your team in terms of his work ethic, his toughness and being a teammate. He's a high-character player."
"James is an excellent leader; he plays with a good level on confidence," Belichick said. "He's a very good, physical player, he's a tough kid. He's a very committed player, spends a lot of time in the classroom, studying, learning, watching tape, making sure he knows his assignments.
"I think he's a leader for any young player — forget young player, for any player — to emulate and follow. I think he's very professional and you'd like to have 53 players like James on your team in terms of his work ethic, his toughness and being a teammate. He's a high-character player."
With roster spots on the line in Friday night’s preseason game against the Redskins, look for an overeager youngster to follow up a bad play with an even worse one that was borne out of an attempt to please the coaching staff. With younger players, when mistakes come, they come in pairs -- a missed tackle leads to blown coverage, a bad block will set the stage for a negative play.
"Trying to do too much" can sound like a good thing, but on a team that preaches the philosophy of team defense above all else, it can cause a series of breakdowns. If one player overcommits and another has to leave his own area to cover for his mistake, that creates an opening in the defense. Someone tries to cover that exposed area, and that leaves another problem.
"That’s the learning experience -- you can’t try and do too much. You just have to play your game and relax," [James] Sanders said. "You can’t let that get to you."
Erik Scalavino CB Leigh Bodden settling into his role.
"I’ve grasped it pretty well so far," Bodden stated. "But it’s a new team, new coaches, new everything. So, just being here in the OTAs helped me out a lot, and mini-camps and training camp. I got to know the coaches and what they want out of me in this defense. These are just steps, in the preseason, to get better going into the regular season."
"We’re coming together great. The OTAs were a great part of the cohesiveness that we have. To be together, train together, just being outside of football really helps because when you step on the field, you know what kind of guy you have and you can depend on him. So, I think we’ve gelled pretty well, so far."
- PFW's Paul Perillo analysis of upcoming Redskins game; Belichick speaks; roster moves and more. (8.55 min. video) Today:
- Ian Rapoport has a terrific piece on RB Laurence Maroney's offseason workouts to improve in the receiving game, and notes Bill Belichick's support and praise of him.
- Mike Reiss notes Derrick Burgess is optimistic about the season and working hard to catch up with the other defenders.
- Shalise Manza Young reports on Brady's work with the new and veteran receivers to build that solid foundation needed for the season.
- Mark Farinella notes S James Sanders (66 tackles and one interception last year) takes the lead in the Patriots secondary, but replacing Rodney Harrison won't be easy.
- Chris Gasper looks at the ground-breaking contract the Patriots worked out with draft pick LB Tyrone McKenzie, who went on IR during rookie minicamp.
- Karen Guregian offers Bill Belichick's words of praise for new Bronco OL Russ Hochstein, how valuable his versatility was and who will fill his many roles.
- Mike Reiss points out that Belilchick has a 5-1 record against rookie quarterbacks, losing only to Ben Rothlisberger in that streak-breaking Halloween game in '04.
- Mike Reiss looks at the four candidates for backup center now that Hochstein is gone. Dan Connolly, Ryan Wendell, Rich Ohrnberger, and Billy Yates.
- Chris Forsberg catches punter Chris Hanson's comments about the Cowboys video screen and how it might rattle visiting special teamers unless they just focus and do their jobs.
- Karen Guregian reports Belichick was sad to have let Tank Williams go and wonders which player will fill his role.
- Jeff Howe focuses on Hodel, Ingram and the life of a Patriots long-snapper.
- Ian Rapoport Patrots Notebook: Jarvis Green says stopping the run is a top priority; Shawn Springs is iffy for tomorrow night; Rich Ohrnberger is behind after missing 2 weeks of practice; Jerod Mayo has been watching film of Julius Peppers to learn from him; Pats re-signed WR Robert Ortiz who was released July 23rd.
- Mike Reiss reminds us of some key NFL dates - including roster cut downs, and notes which players were absent from practice yesterday.
- Jeff Howe says WR Robert Ortiz was excited to get a second opportunity with the Patriots.
- Christopher Price offers some quotes of note from the locker room after practice Wednesday.
- Joe Zarbano captures some player soundbites as Adalius Thomas, Leigh Bodden, James Sanders, and Laurence Maroney all spoke to the media following yesterday's practice.
- Mike McDermott offers NFL news and notes from around the league.
- Neil Keefe lists his top ten most memorable quotes in Boston sports history.
- Jason Reid (Washington Post) Maryland native and New England Patriot Shawn Springs hangs on to fond memories of taking on the opposition's top receiver for five seasons as a Redskins CB.
- Tim Graham (ESPN) Quotes from around the AFC East.
- Michael Lombardi (Nat'l Football Post) Picking the right 14: Building the back end of rosters should belong to personnel men.
- Don Banks (SI) Why I don't like the NFL preseason. Get over it.
- ESPN skewers Brett Favre in latest 'This is SportsCenter' commercial. (31 second video) Pretty funny.
- Arnie Stapleton (AP) Cutler has good things to say about McDaniels.
- Kerry J. Byrne (Cold Hard Football Facts) Mining the mental abyss.
- Charles Robinson (Yahoo! Sports) Haley, Pioli trying to reprogram Chiefs.