We’ve officially hit “the dead zone” time of year when it comes to NFL and Patriots news. The spring rookie camp, passing camps and even mandatory mini-camp have all come and gone, and now, all there is to do is wait until the end of next month when training camp officially begins.
This year, the offseason programs seem to have flown a little under the radar, as the Boston Celtics have made their run to the NBA finals. In the past, the mini-camp seemed to be a much bigger event, but this year, the coverage seemed to be a big lighter, especially from the Boston Herald.
It is probably a good thing for both sides that the Herald sent only the capable Karen Guregian to write about camp, and hopefully by the time training camp starts we can just get down to football coverage and not focus too much on all the other stuff. You know what I’m talking about, I’m sure.
As for the camps themselves, in reading the coverage such as it was, there seemed to be a few storylines floating out there that were consistent among all the reporters.
Tedy Bruschi was a focus of camp, and he’s got some new, younger mates to work with on the inside. Both Victor Hobson and rookie Jerod Mayo figure to play quite a bit next to Bruschi on the inside. Both got a lot of attention in camp, and will be scrutinized closely in camp. Junior Seau remains unsigned, but in reading the tea leaves of Bill Belichick’s comments, it sure seems that if he is healthy enough come training camp that Seau might get another call from the team. If he does, hopefully there will be enough depth and talent that his role as well as that of Bruschi can be reduced and they can avoid some of the wear and tear of the long season.
Flocks and flocks of cornerbacks were on display at the practice field, many of them new faces. One old face that wasn’t on the field was Ellis Hobbs, who continues his recovery from a pair of offseason surgeries. It’s not known whether he will be ready for the start of camp. New secondary coach Dom Capers will have plenty of warm bodies to teach, and it will be interesting to see who emerges as the starters on opening day. Free agent safety signee Tank Williams opened some eyes with his work in the camp, with Mike Reiss putting forth the opinion that Williams might have a large role for the Patriots this coming season. Williams even got some work at linebacker in the camp, showing his versatility.
Other than an appearance on WEEI a few weeks back, we hadn’t really seen or heard too much from the Patriots quarterback since the Super Bowl. He said his ankle was fine, though he still can’t jump – a joke that some fool writer apparently took seriously and put out a story across the wire reporting that Brady was still slowed by the injury. Brady is looking forward to getting some rest in the upcoming weeks, and being fully charged to start the new season next month. He also talked about his happiness at the fact the Randy Moss has a new deal with the Patriots, ensuring that his favorite target remains in place.
It’s a New Season
That was a theme echoed by several in the course of camp, with the obvious effort to put the disappointment of the Super Bowl behind them and start afresh. It’s something they’re going to have to do as the comparisons are going to start right away, and will probably increase if the team gets off to a fast start once again. The principle figures on the team, from Bill Belichick to Brady to Matt Light to Richard Seymour all talked about the importance of leaving last season in past.
The Patriots’ offensive lineman didn’t speak to the media, but his presence on the field was noticed and carefully scrutinized following the news that he had been involved in a drug bust and then a sting operation this spring. He will continue to be watched closely.
We’re gearing up for the new season as well, and once training camp starts, we hope to break in some new faces here at Patriots Daily and provide some new columns and features as we continue our efforts to provide you a daily destination for information and analysis of your New England Patriots.