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Archive for August, 2007

August 15 PM: Final 2007 Camp Report

It’s pitch black here and I’ve just gotten in from the final practice. It was a bit longer tonight and the daylight was a bit shorter signaling the end of camp and the start of the next phase of pre-season then on to school and the regular season.

Here’s what was up at Gillette this evening.

  • Guys were in full pads for the 3rd (public) practice in a row.
  • I didn’t see Tom Brady, Adalius Thomas, Ty Warren, Gemara Williams, Larry Anam, Artrell Hawkins, Kyle Bissinger (who got dinged this morning), Billy Yates, Mike Wright nor the usual MIAs.
  • At long last, the rookies sported their creative hairdoos much to the delight of the crowd (pictures to follow!) and the vets set up another “slip-n-slide” session for them as well.
  • Jon Bon Jovi was in the house and spoke to Kraft on the sidelines prior to practice but was on the field with Belichick throughout most of the practice itself.
  • Today’s focus was mostly on the run game and short passing game with some deep balls towards the end of the night heading toward the opposite end zone.
  • With Brady not present, Cassel saw most of the reps hitting Watson, Kight, and Brian Jones and Welker each more than once.
  • Cassel looked pretty good tonight and I think he’s better when he gets more reps rather than subbing in. He seems more comfortable and gets his timing down.
  • Taking laps tonight were Kenny Smith, Kareem Brown, and Zach West.
  • Kyle Brady was once again on the sidelines in work-out wear.
  • It was nice to see Don Davis retain a spot with team and nice to see him with the coaching staff out there on the field today.

Practice ran a bit longer than usual with lots of guys signing and lots of players’ kids on the field post-practice to play with their Dads. I bet they’re all happy that they’ll be breaking camp and coming home by the weekend.

As for me, I’ll be at the game on Friday, then I’m changing gears, getting ready for school and taking a week of R&R in the sun with my family and overflowing bookbag.

I’ll likely post my roster predictions and as always check for my weekly podcast and website to keep up on the latest in Patriot Nation. I’ll be adding pictures to my flickr account all season as well.

Keep tuning in to the podcast for weekly reports

August 15 AM

Arrived at camp this morning to see the veterans on the field in plain clothes doing a walk through while waiting for them to open the gates  a little after 9:00. Once  they left, they let us in  and the back-ups took the field in full pads for what amounted to another walk through situation.

Here’s what little I observed between reading a long overdue library book about teaching (You can tell the natural progression of life as it’s getting closer to head back to school and I’m getting in the groove):

  • The thousands of people who stayed home today must have gotten the memo that I missed. ;-) There were very, very few fans there today although tons of media.
  • The biggest “name” out there appeared to be Patriot’s own B-Lowe, Brian Lowe, of Patriots Today who was asked by a group of kids to sign autographs :-)
  • BB must have been the DJ today as they added in the noise factor by playing nothing but Bon Jovi on the loudspeakers throughout practice.
  • During the brief team portion Willie Andrews came up with a couple of picks on deflected balls. (Bam had one pop in and out of his hands but I’m not sure who the other one was.)
  • Coaches were present for the practice despite the starters not being there.
  • Guiterrez was the lone QB on the field.
  • Bam Childress lined up as RB for a few handoffs.
  • At one point Kyle Bissinger went down and was on his hands and knees for a bit while being attended to by trainers. They checked him out then he walked off under his own power.

That’s all folks! See you tonight for the final public practice of the season. I’ve got lots to do today before then so the extra long break in between is working out well for me.

Tuesday Afternoon 8/14/07

In from practice after stopping on the way home to pick up Madden 08 for Jake and spending a few minutes with Bella. Al’s out there sparking up the grill so here’s the quick low-down from camp before I eat.

  • Guys were in full pads for the single afternoon session under big puffy clouds and cooler temps.
  • Eric Alexander and Laurence Maroney are still in red with Junior Seau returning to practice over the weekend in blue.
  • Rosey Colvin arrived on the field carrying two pairs of used cleats and gave them to the kids sitting on the hill before starting practice. (One little guy didn’t know what to make of it and just stood there while another darted in and scoffed them up!)
  • I looked for creative Rookie hair-doos but so far their domes are still in tact.
  • Ellis Hobbs is taking to wearing a ball cap when not in helmet ala Junior Seau.
  • I did not see Gemara Williams (42) Artrell Hawkins (25) Randy Moss (81) Ty Warren (94) , Billy Yates (74) nor any of the PUPpies. Kyle Brady was on the sidelines for at least the second half of practice in workout wear.
  • At the beginning of practice when doing special teams stuff coaches enlisted Tedy in offering his opinion as someone yelled “How they looking, Bru?”
  • Gostkowski kicked lots of field goals towards the hill both at the beginning and end of practice and nailed most with one hitting the post and one going right. He nailed about 10 others.
  • Stretch period tunes were Stones and Springsteen with Matt Light jogging backwards on one lap.
  • Today’s practice focused on scout work for the upcoming Tennessee Titans game this Friday, kicking game, and running game.
  • During passing drills, Wilson showed some nice coverage on Washington. CJ Jones and Tory James collided midair and came down in a heap on one play.
  • Rashad Baker got in INT on one play, broke up another pass, and later took a hip check in a collision with Seau, all during Scout team work.
  • Lots of time was spent on kick returns with Hobbs, Welker, Faulk, and Morris sharing duties. Throughout camp, the kick team has now adopted the style of staying together as a group until the kick then dispersing and running downfield together rather than already being in their zones.
  • Jake Tidbits: From his vantage point in the stands he saw Junior level Oldenberg during running game work. Columbia University coaching staff took in practice from the sidelines.
  • Kareem Brown got barked at by some coaches and Adalius also talked to him on the sidelines.
  • While defense was working in the far corner, Rosey Colvin and Jarvis Green took a (fast) lap. Later during full squad stuff the entire D took one lead by Randall Gay.
  • There were two “botched” snaps in a row but no laps ensued so I’m not sure if they were planned to practice fumble recovery or they were screw ups.
  • On two consecutive plays, Brady to Welker complete in the endzone with Richardson in coverage.
  • Dante Stallworth must either be like Casper or not standing out because it took until the final sprints for Al to even notice that he was present.
  • BB had the guys run 7 full field sprints and was cracking the whip and yelling for them to go right up to the line. Junior completed half then went to the sidelines (his right calf is sporting a wrap) to do crunches. Mike Wright was already there and they were later joined by Marcellus Rivers who completed 6. (Big Pepper ran with his boys today.)
  • After practice, OLine signed and some groups did intense extra work. Running Backs ran suicides while Gutierrez worked with bubble/longshot WRs Childress, Kight, Jones, and DBs Anam, Wesley, and Richardson on route running with coverage.
  • Tedy B’s boys love the tackling dummies and usually bolt the 100+ yards to where they are and to play with Dad.

Tomorrow is the final day of public access to camp and I’ll be out there for the 9-10:30 session and 5:30-7:30 session. I’ve added pictures to the Flickr over the weekend and recorded a new podcast this morning so check them out if you’re so inclined.
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Wednesday 8/8/07 PM

Home from the final session of the week and due to some situations beyond my control, I really have to just get this one out quickly so it’ll be bare bones.

  • Practice took place in full pads with the usual boys in red. It was one of the least crowded nights and by the end of practice it was quite comfortable on the hill with a nice breeze.
  • PUPpies were MIA as were Moss, K. Brady, Watson, Yates and Hawkins. Jarvis Green was back in the mix.
  • Newbie Notes: Dante Wesley is big and looks more like a linebacker than a DB. A mystery man in white wearing 82 was on the field and even scored a TD from Cassel during Red Zone work. Turns out it’s Marcellus Rivers, a new TE acquisition.
  • Rookie Slip and Slide (running and sliding on wet grass while vets water them down) took place in the back corner of the far field right after the stretch period instead of at the end of practice so they practiced in muddy, wet uniforms and stood out for sure.
  • Tonight was another night filled with situational football focusing on red zone work.
  • My ND loving son, Jake, was happy to see Mike Richardson get a pick tonight. Corey Mays stole one from Quinton Smith in the EZ as they both had their hands on a Guitierrez pass, fell to the ground and he wrestled it away. Willie Andrews also picked Brady after a tip.
  • Gaffney continues to catch just about everything in sight making a great TD grab from Cassel in the endzone covered by Hobbs and another diving sideline catch covered by Dante Wesley.
  • Wes Welker made a nice over the shoulder catch being covered by Wilson and Hobbs.
  • Sammy Morris made a sweet one handed grab from Brady.
  • Kelley Washington made some catches tonight but also earned a lap at one point.
  • Gostkowski nailed all 8 of his field goals tonight.
  • Linebackers signed and Lonie’s biggest sign-bearing fan got her hug and an autograph tonight.

The team travels out tomorrow and plays in Tampa Bay Friday night at 7:30. You know I’ll be tuned it for sure! The final public practices are Tuesday and Wednesday.

Mrs. B on the Bench & Mike takes the field!

Mrs. B somehow knew that today’s practice would only include the 3rd stringers. She decided that instead of making it down to camp for what seemed like a very short practice, she would take some time to rest like our first stringers so she would be at full strength for this afternoon’s practice. Instead she sent her little spy to report from the Dana Farber Field House. Here are the highlights:

- None of the starters even appeared for the practice.

- Players were in full pads and had full contact drills, but the focus for this practice was solely 11 on 11 game type situations.

- Bill Belichick (aka his Hoodiness) was in his trademark sweatshirt and kept trying to speed the practice up to simulate game time situations.

- Our third string quarterback Matt Gutierrez took all the snaps,

- Brandon Meriweather did practice, along with new CB Dante Wesley

- Bam Childress simulated being a running back, fumbling his first handoff, which also showed that the backup defensive line really didn’t have a nose for the ball, because Bam was able to recover his own fumble.

- Bam did have many impressive catches, as well as #2 CJ Jones.

- #42 Quinton Smith also carried the football, and from what I saw today come roster cutdown date he’ll be one of the first cuts.

- Kelvin Kight made an impressive grab in traffic, as well as a nice grab in the endzone, a long pass from the 40 yard line by Matt Gutierrez, who in a real game would have been sacked before the throw.

- Matt Guiterrez threw an interception off the hands of #2 and intercepted by Willie Andrews. This was Matt’s only interception of the practice.

Bubble Guys in the Bubble….

Turns out that this morning’s practice lasted just a half hour and was for backup players only. Soooo glad that I didn’t rush out to watch it in the stadium via the jumbotrons. I’ve got far too much to do over here and still not feeling the greatest anyway. Right now, it’s overcast but not actually raining so we’ll see what happens tonight.

Rainy Wednesday

Due to the rain, this morning’s practice has been moved indoors and is not open to the public. See you all tonight after the 5:30 session.

Afternoon Session 08/07/07

Just got in from the single afternoon session and not sure why but not quite feeling myself. Hope I’m not coming down with something… Anyway, going to make it quick as Bella is looking for attention and I really need to get some dinner and hopefully will feel better.

Here are the quickies for tonight:

  • Guys were in full pads with the usual crew in red.
  • Missing from the field were usual PUPs along with Moss, Kyle Brady, Jarvis Green, Yates, and Watson.
  • A mystery man, #38 was on the field who I now know is Dante Wesley.
  • Brady barked at Garrett Mills after he apparently didn’t run his route fast enough because the ball sailed way over his head and hit the ground.
  • Gino Cappelletti was in the media tent this afternoon.
  • A cute group of Lil Pats fans were next to me chanting “Lets Go Patriots.. woof, woof” and were thrilled to be recorded for the radio.
  • They worked on a lot of 3rd down situations, two minute drills, the passing game, and the pace certainly picked up.
  • Gostkowski hit a lot of long FGs today during the situational, full squad portion of practice.
  • Today wasn’t the Offense’s day.. starting with drops in drills, tipped balls, deflections and picks galore this afternoon.
  • There were some catches of note however, specifically, .. Reche Caldwell’s diving catch from Brady while covered by Hobbs, a Sammy Morris sideline grab from Cassel beating out Adalius Thomas, and the usual Gaffney and Welker connections.
  • Bruschi got a pick and took it to the house, Vrabel got a pick, Gay batted a Brady pass into the waiting hands of Sanders, Rodney batted one away from Gaffney in the EZ, Hobbs broke up a few passes but on one play tipped one into Bam’s hands. Mike Richardson also had one thrown directly to him in the EZ!
  • Towards the end of practice it was D Day all the way and they even resorted to a bit of celebratory gestures as a result. Tedy even gave the sign to the crowd calling for cheers to which they responded.
  • It was nice to say hello to the many fellow fans who came up to me to say hi on the hill.
  • DB’s signed after practice for the smallish crowd that was left.

Sorry that there aren’t many details but I’m kind of in a fog and can’t really make heads or tails of my scribbled notes today. Hopefully, I’m back to my perky self in the AM and ready for the final double session of the week.

As always, check out the Training Camp gallery and my latest podcast.

Season Ticket Holders’ Practice 8/6/07

Just got in from the season ticket holders’ practice held inside Gillette Stadium tonight. As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I’m usually “off duty” for this one since there are lots and lots of fans there reporting so I give myself permission to just relax and take it all in. I actually got to watch this one from a different vantage point as I was …. get this…. IN the press box tonight! Actually, I was there with fellow Fans of the Year for a sneak peek of the future Patriots Hall of Fame being built on the site of the former proshop. That multi-media rich attraction is going to be unbelievably awesome!! When the presentation was finished we got to hang out there to watch practice so I headed over to the windows after I ate. (Mr. Kraft also popped in to say hi which was cool too!) I sat next to Erik from PFW and chatted with him and Fred Kirsch about new media.
Don Crique was also in the house which was totally cool too!

Here are just some of the random things that I noticed:

  • Guys were in full pads, however some players were on the field early in workout wear so it initially looked like it would be another walkthrough type practice.
  • I didn’t see Kelley Washington, Randy Moss, Dante Stallworth, Pierre Woods, Jarvis Green, Artrell Hawkins nor any of the PUPpies but did see Kyle Brady on the sidelines in shorts and a tee.
  • The lower bowl was pretty packed with fans and as usual, John Rook was on the PA explaining the drills at the change of each period.
  • During drills they set out a big blue pad to catch the players as they dove to block kicks. Looked like fun!
  • At one point Randall Gay left the field with trainers and later returned with his elbow wrapped. Billy Yates left but I didn’t see him return.
  • Santonio Thomas jumped offsides and took a lap for encroachment.
  • Dunlap (9) (who??) made a couple of noticeable catches and Welker can cut like a knife :-)
  • Brady took it easy tonight with Cassel and Guitierrez seeing most of the action.
  • I caught 3 picks (there may have been more but like I said, Off Duty) Adalius Thomas and James Sanders and Brandon Meriweather each picked Cassel. The rookie obviously was aware of the situation as he took a knee for a head’s up play.
  • Mike Wright blew by Wesley Britt and ended up right in Cassel’s face and barked loudly simulating a SACK rather than throw him to the ground (which was off-limits.)
  • Watson came up gimpy after one of the final plays of practice.
  • They ended practice with full squad sprints.
  • Defensive Line signed but I bolted early to beat the traffic.

Roster moves: Dante Stallworth off PUP and Quadtrine Hill released.

Tomorrow’s practice is 2:30 to 4:30 so I’ll see you then. As always, check out the Training Camp gallery and my latest podcast.

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Single Evening Session 8/5/07

Just got home from another walkthrough practice with little to report. I’m in a hurry because I’m NOT sleeping tonight until I finish Harry Potter 7 (yes… I was in line at midnight to get it when it came out but between Bella and camp, I’ve still got more to read.)

Quickies for tonight:

  • Single practice from 5:00-7:00 was held in shorts and helmets only and was jam packed again.
  • Dressed and participating in the walkthrough were Troy Brown, Chad Jackson, and Donte Stallworth. Seymour and Eddie Jackson were present on the sidelines in workout clothes.
  • Recent absentees Randy Moss, Garrett Mills (both back on Friday) and Kyle Brady were  in uniform as well.
  • Junior Seau was keeping busy on the sidelines doing crunches and getting in some extra work.  He also stood way in the backfield and simulated reacting to the play when other guys were in.  Speaking of Junior, not to be upstaged by the boys in Man Capris, he once again was displaying his personal style by wearing his team issued #55 shorts on backwards.
  • Rosey Colvin also used his time to get in some extra conditioning work running sprints between plays.
  • Remember that thought that made me giddy back on July 29th? The one about thinking about Stallworth, Welker, Watson, and Moss all being on the field together? Yah, that one. Well… I got to see it tonight :-)
  • Gostkowski missed quite a few long field goals tonight pulling them either right or left.
  • Tonight looked like “Pop Quiz” night as BB threw out situation after situation for the guys to run through plays.
  • All three punters had some decent booms tonight.
  • The Big Al Bonus for tonight: BB lined up during one of the plays and appeared to jump offsides. He was waiting for him to take a lap!
  • Pseudo-celebrities, Patriots Minutemen took in the last few minutes of practice in full regalia after finishing their duties at the Revs game.
  • Wide Receivers signed tonight along with Maroney and Vrabel as extras.
  • Silly Stuff of the Night: Stallworth coming up and pantsing Gaffney (sweats only) from behind as he was signing an autograph.
  • QB Matt Gutierrez (7) stayed on the field after practice getting in some extra 1:1 work.

Tomorrow brings a morning practice open to the media (but not me) so there won’t be a report coming. Also, tomorrow night is the practice held inside Gillette Stadium for season ticket holders and I’ll be there but I generally take that one “off” since there are lots and lots of people reporting on it so I usually take a breather. I’ll just play it by ear and see how things go.

Be sure to check out the Training Camp Pictures and my latest Podcast.

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