April 21, 2014

Positive Returns – Training Camp

by Chris Warner, Patriots Daily Staff

Below, some notes on returning Patriots players, based on watching training camp practice on Monday morning, August 3.

Good Hands People: Tight end and now potential fullback David Thomas catches most everything thrown his way. That’s not all that newsworthy. Attention should be paid when guys like receiver Sam Aiken take flight to nab a pass in the end zone, and running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis displays much-improved catching ability throughout practice. Hey, whatever you can do, right?

Jitterbug (Clap, Clap): What, no Wham fans? Anyway, if you ever questioned how Wes Welker got open all the time, try to watch him in one-on-one coverage drills. On this day, Welker shed rookie Pat Chung about thirty seconds before slipping past newcomer Brandon McGowan. A rabbit in a thicket, an otter under a cypress, an eel in a tub of garden hoses: make up your own metaphor about the difficulties of grabbing Welker.

The Kindest Cuts: Running back Laurence Maroney may have a breakout year, but if he does, he’ll have Fred Taylor and Sammy Morris to thank. On Monday, Maroney made gains during early scrimmage plays when he copied his mentors and cut upfield. Later, he reverted to his hip-shaking, yardage-losing ways. If Maroney insists on doing his paint-mixer impression, he’s in for a rough season.

Come Mr. Tully Man, Tully Me Banta-Cain: Wow, long way to go for a brutal pun. Those surprised to waive goodbye to outside linebacker Vince Redd (including yours truly) should find some positive news in the emergence – or re-emergence, we suppose – of Prodigal Patriot Tully Banta-Cain. While he’ll never be a young Mike Vrabel (because even Mike Vrabel isn’t anymore) and gives up too much ground vs. offensive linemen, Banta-Cain has stepped up as a solid backup option overall.

Vince Convinced: Anyone wondering if the players take scrimmaging seriously should listen to a training camp practice (and plug their children’s ears). On one play, Jarvis Green penetrated deep into the backfield to disrupt a run to his side. Vince Wilfork declared his approval in no uncertain terms, demonstrating that there’s really no such thing as half-speed along the line of scrimmage.

Email Chris Warner at [email protected]

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