Mike Reiss shares some quick-hit weekend thoughts from the Patriots and around the NFL.
1. It somewhat flew under the radar, but after three months of wondering whether Patriots defensive back Devin McCourty would line up at safety or cornerback, he was exclusively at cornerback in Thursday’s organized team activity. All along, that has made the most sense from this view, as it’s too early in his career to permanently switch his position. We’ll see if it sticks.
2. With 12 offensive linemen dressed for Thursday’s organized team activity, it meant the Patriots had three players taking double reps to fill out three different units -- Dan Koppen at center (2nd and 3rd units), Nick McDonald at left guard (2nd and 3rd units) and Matt Kopa at right tackle (2nd and 3rd units). That probably led to the team agreeing to contract terms with center/guard Jamey Richard on Friday, as depth on the line is a bit more thin than desired at this point. Nothing major, but something for Bill Belichick to manage at this early date.
3. Part of the offensive line shortage was tied to starting right guard Brian Waters not being in attendance. Waters has traditionally skipped voluntary OTAs to be with his family in Texas, although he was part of them in Kansas City in 2010. I'll be interested to see how Bill Belichick handles the right guard spot if Waters, who is under contract for a base salary of $1.4 million and a $2.25 million salary cap charge (he has a chance to earn an additional $750,000 in incentives), is with the team at the start of training camp. Does he insert Waters right back into the starting lineup? Or, to reinforce his message to players on what he feels is most important when building a team, does he stick with those who worked throughout the team's voluntary offseason program?
10. Veteran offensive lineman Robert Gallery had fallen out of favor in Seattle and was released just one season into his three-year deal. The release earlier this year was also notable because Seattle's line coach is Tom Cable, who was also Gallery's coach in Oakland and obviously has deep background with him. The Patriots had Gallery lining up in Logan Mankins' left guard spot on Thursday as Mankins recovers from ACL surgery, and in speaking with one NFL scout, there is some doubt as to how much Gallery has left to offer at this point. The Patriots' track record with those type of signings, however, is pretty solid (e.g. Andre Carter).
- Andy Hart and Paul Perillo debate which Patriots departures the team will find hardest to fill.
- Andy Hart notes Rob Ninkovich welcomes the additional help on defense.
- Patriots Today - Addai adds experience to RB corps. (1.37 min. video)
- Patriots Today - Koppen to compete in year 10. (2.34 min. video)
- Patriots Today - McCourty ready for 3rd season. (1.49 min. video)
- Patriots Today - Conducting the Pops, OTA coverage. (3.53 min. video)
- Jeff Howe reminds us that today marks the 5-year anniversary of Marquis Hill's death.
- Mike Reiss remembers Marquis Hill and links to a terrific article, and a book about him, written by his mother Sherry.
- Brett Connolly of Fox 25 News reports Marcus Cannon found a personal way to thank a disabled Iraq War veteran this weekend.
- Jeff Howe notes the Patriots secondary has plenty of potential and plenty of question marks.
- Karen Guregian writes the Patriots haven't dealt with their kick return problem and may turn to Devin McCourty to fill that role.
- Karen Guregian reports Dan Koppen is like comfort food for Tom Brady.
- Jeff Howe reports Brandon Lloyd is off to a good start with the Patriots.
- Mike Reiss believes Brandon Lloyd looks primed to fill the passing game's missing link downfield.
- Mike Reiss, Mike Rodak and Field Yates each pick one player they want to see more of in the upcoming months.
- Mike Reiss details the NFL Total Access segment with Willie McGinest and Heath Evans discussing which of the 12 Patriots WRs will actually make the roster.
- Mary Paoletti shares her notes on the Patriots first media-accessible session: who was there, who did what, and how it all looked.
- Field Yates gives us a bit more contract talk regarding Chandler Jones.
- Jeff Howe Patriots Notebook: Joseph Addai is already playing the role of lead back and teaching the very-young group of ball carriers; Brian Waters plans to return to the Patriots but prefers to spend his offseason in Texas with his family; Chad Ochocinco was forced to run a lap for committing a procedure penalty Friday in 7-on-7 drills.
- Mike Reiss posts the transcript of his weekly online chat.
- Mike Reiss serves up some leftovers from his online chat session.
- Mike Reiss passes along some suggestions to improve the 'fan experience' at Gillette Stadium.
- Evan Silva (ProFootballTalk) Shane Vereen gets first-team reps at Patriots OTAs.
- Kevin Fishbain (Pro Football Weekly) Koppen, Connolly battling for starting center job.
- James Walker (ESPN) Early projections for AFC East.
- James Walker (ESPN) Ranking the AFC East: Offenses and Wide receivers.
- James Walker (ESPN) Four key players returning from injuries in the AFC East.
- Jeffri Chadiha (ESPN) Top 10 Wide receivers. Welker ranks 8th in his gallery.
- Peter King (SI) MMQB: Deadline shift will have profound impact: Bears' Emery gets to work.
- Dan Pompei (Nat'l Football Post) NFP Sunday Blitz.
- Videos (NFL.com) Top ten weather games: No. 2 - The Tuck Rule. (4.22 min. clip)
- Adam Rank (NFL.com) Top 34 football movies of all time.
- Dan Hanzus (NFL.com) An open letter to Hollywood on football movies.