Robert Kraft tips his hand a bit on the Logan Mankins deal hours before it was announced.
We very much think that Logan is among the best there is at his position. We drafted him and we want him here.
Mike Reiss tells us what he'll be looking for tonight with the Patriots finally back on the field.
Can't miss Nate Solder. The first-round draft pick should get a ton of action at left tackle. At 6-foot-8, you can't miss him. Solder shows signs of being the left tackle of the future, but the team appears to be counting on veteran Matt Light to bridge the gap until he's ready. With Light still on the active/physically unable to perform list, Solder is getting a lot of reps in practice, and as one would expect with a rookie, it's been up and down.
Christopher Price offers 10 things to keep an eye on tonight in the preseason opener.
The running back spot. One of the best positional battles in camp. BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Danny Woodhead, Sammy Morris, Kevin Faulk, Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley are all battling for four or five spots. While Green-Ellis and Woodhead likely have secured positions on the 53-man roster, how many snaps will the others get? Faulk and Vereen don’t figure to play that much because of injuries (Vereen tweaked his hamstring earlier in camp, while Faulk continues to get back up to speed after last year’s knee injury), so Thursday could present a real opportunity for Ridley and Morris to make a statement. Ridley has shown a nice burst in the early going, but it’s important to remember that Morris is the only one at the position who has some experience as a fullback. It's not clear that will be enough to keep him on the roster, but it’s certainly a point in his favor.
The Boston Globe gives us five things to watch for tonight.
1. Where’s Mayo? Jerod Mayo has become one of the game’s standout linebackers by being the man in the middle of the Patriots’ defense. But the early indications are the Patriots want Brandon Spikes (who is injured) to fill that role, with Mayo as more of a playmaker on the outside. Keep an eye on where he plays.
- Patriots get 'Back to Football' in Foxboro on Thursday night.
- Patriots Today - Storylines for Pats-Jags. (3.17 min. video)
- Patriots Today - Final preparations for the Jags. (2.32 min. video)
- Patriots Today - Robert Kraft on Myra Kraft's legacy (20 min. video) plus Transcript.
- Mike Reiss reports the Patriots and Logan Mankins agree to a six-year deal.
- Mark Farinella notes the Mankins deal seemed like an impossibility a year ago.
- Christopher Price gives his take on the Logan Mankins signing.
- Jeff Howe writes Logan Mankins and the Patriots do the right thing without an ounce of drama.
- Mike Reiss analyzes the Logan Mankins deal and declares it a win-win situation.
- Shalise Manza Young writes that Mankins' contract makes complete sense for all parties.
- Mike Rodak reports Chad Ochocinco and Albert Haynesworth have both restructured their contracts with the Patriots.
- Mike Reiss thinks the restructured contracts signed by Haynesworth and Ochocinco present a low-risk, high-reward scenario from a team perspective.
- Mike Reiss clarifies a couple of points on the contracts of Mark Anderson and Chad Ochocinco.
- Greg A. Bedard takes stock of the offensive and defensive lines halfway through camp.
- Ian Rapoport looks at the intriguing battle for the third cornerback position.
- Paul Kenyon is excited the Patriots will, finally, get to play some real football.
- Ian Rappoprt says it's time for the Patriots to pull it all together tonight and see what these rookies have learned.
- Greg A. Bedard is hoping to get a little peek at the rebuilt defense.
- A. Sherrod Blakely says the Patriots are ready for rookie QB Blaine Gabbert, when they play the Jaguars tonight.
- Mark Farinella says Brian Hoyer is prepared to make the most of his time to shine tonight against the Jags.
- Ian Rapoport wonders if Tom Brady will play at all tonight.
- Paul Kenyon expects to see the rookies looking to make an impact in tonight's preseason opener.
- Mark Farinella sees Bill Belichick loading up for a title run.
- Paul Kenyon talks about one of the stabilizers of the Patriots' defense-in-flux, Pat Chung.
- Shalise Manza Young notes Robert Kraft is happy with the return of football and with the state of the Patriots.
- Mike Reiss highlights the emotional meeting between Robert Kraft and reporters where he reflected on the memory of his wife, and the start of the 2011 preseason.
- Tom E. Curran talks about Robert Kraft's meeting with Albert Haynesworth. Kraft found him to be "genuine and sincere".
- Jeff Howe tallies up 25 Patriots who have missed a combined 180 practices due to injuries.
- Staff Report (Pro Football Weekly) Preseason Power Rankings. Patriots number 2.
- John Clayton (ESPN) Blaine Gabbert on the spot early.
- Matt Bowen (Nat'l Football Post) Your guide to grading rookie QBs this preseason.
- Peter Schrager (Fox Sports) July's the right time for big signings.
- Jack Bechta (Nat'l Football Post) A buyer's market: Are veterans pricing themselves out of the league?
- J.P. Pelzman (The Record) Jets hope they've found a red-zone savior in former Colts offensive coordinator Tom Moore.
- Matt Bowen (Nat'l Football Post) Some concern in Indy?
- Adam Rank (NFL.com) MJD has nothing to apologize for, but these six certainly do.