Archive for July, 2008

Manny departs Fenway
July 31, 2008

Manny’s final minutes at Fenway were alot like his 7 1/2 years here-as he was catered to until the very end.
At 10:30 pm he pulled into Fenway in his grey Mercedez sedan and about 20 minutes later pulled out with everything he could pack up in his car, or at least what every one of the Fenway workers on hand could load up into his car.
5 hours earlier at about 5:30 Manny pulled up in his white Mercedez station wagon/SUV at about and clubhouse boys came a running, cleaning out his locker, packing his belongings, and then filling up his car. Oh, did I mention getting his dry cleaning as well. But Manny actually helped unload a couple of boxes of bats (L-A has harder wood?). maybe that’s why he came back later, “oh Yah, my bats”
And when it was time to leave, another Red Sox enabler, I mean worker backed his car into the players parking lot so he could drive straight out. Meanwhile more Red Sox enablers closed the gate on the players parking lot to keep everyone there from actually seeing Manny (Hey Guys, Manny no longer works for the Red Sox, you don’t have to cater to his every whim like you have the past 7 1/2 years- no wonder he became worse and worse to deal with).
They opened the gate and Manny was gone, keeping his window up and spitting chewing tobacco into a bottle in his last drive out of Fenway, after 7 1/2 unforgettable years.

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Bon Voyage Manny
July 31, 2008

And so the Manny Ramirez era in Boston comes to bizarre and controversial end (not unlike fellow stars Nomar Garciaparra and Pedro Martinez, but at least it could be said their production was way down when they left).

In case you missed Mike Lynch’s report, Lynchie tells us this 3-team deal with the Dodgers and Pirates didn’t really begin to kick around until 2:30 Thursday afternoon, just 90 minutes before the 4:00 pm deadline. An extension was requested and granted to work out parameters of a deal, and it was finalized shortly after.

Right up until last night’s collapse, Manny was going to stay with the Sox. But the team’s horrid performance against Los Angeles, coupled with an informal polling of players by management that came back as an astonishing 23-1 in favor of trading Ramirez (Big Papi the lone holdout according to Lynchie), changed management’s mind, and now here we are: Manny is a Dodger.

Even more astonishing is what the Red Sox gave up to get RID of Manny. A key bullpen arm in Craig Hansen, a promising (albeit blocked from any real playing time) outfielder in Brandon Moss, Manny himself, and the $7 million he’s still owed… and the only player they get back is Jason Bay? That sounds like a fair trade for A-Rod or Pujols to me!

And boy, is Manny a winner here. He gets to hang out in Hollywood, first of all. Plus, as part of waiving his no-trade agreement, the Dodgers agreed to forget about his two $20 million team options, making Manny a free agent after the season (superagent Scott Boras, who won’t make a dime until Manny gets a new deal, must be thrilled).

As for the Red Sox, a clubhouse cancer is removed, but at what cost? One of the most feared hitters of all time is gone, replaced by a good player who’s never played in a big game in his career. Don’t you think opposing pitchers are going to be a little less afraid to pitch around David Ortiz now? I agree with Lynchie. The smartest thing the Red Sox could have done is deal with Manny for two more months (not like he’s going to tank it with a future contract on the line), pick up that not-outrageous $20 million option, and trade him to the National League for a bag of balls if you have to. It would have been better than seeing him in pinstripes for the opening of the new Yankee Stadium in 2009!

-SI

Trade Manny For This?
July 31, 2008

     Is Pittsburgh’s soon to be 30 year old 2 time all star Jason Bay-22 HRs,64 RBIs,.282 avg., and 29 year old left handed relief pitcher John Grabow enough for Manny(20HRs,68 RBI,.299)? I have to say YES- that would continue to give the Red Sox a good chance to continue to win this season.
     BUT, it is going to require more and so are the Red Sox willing to also swap their top young shortstop prospect 24 year old Jed Lowrie for Pittsburgh’s 30 year old mediocre shortstop Jack Wilson .276 avg,,0 HRs,13 RBI,$6Mill?
     This is what Theo Epstein has been mulling over all night long. Either deal seems to make sense with Manny’s unhappiness but do you allow players to control when they want to be traded or do you care? During Manny’s “episodes”, we can sometimes forget how instrumental Manny has been to the Red Sox 2 world titles. He can carry a team line no other player can. That asset is a vey difficult one to ship out. By 4 O’clock we’ll find if that asset outweighs the bad Karma that Manny’s recent episodes may be creating with the Red Sox (did you see the team’s lackluster (4 errors) performance last night

Is Manny’s time in Boston over?
July 31, 2008

It’s getting ugly around Fenway park. More specifically the Red Sox, who with 4 errors in this one have now lost 5 of their last 6 at Fenway, where they had the Majors best home record. Tough to blame Manny for all of this, but some will -must be his bad karma permeating the team
Manny on this night was 0-3 (so was half the team-poor Varitek is hitting a shade over .150 over the last 5 games). So will Manny end his Red Sox career with a an o-fer. I don’t think so. As much as the Red Sox would love to unload Manny-they won’t do it for 60 cents on the dollar. And more importantly, if they did unload Manny-their chances to win anything goes out the window.

Patriots-
A nice touch by the Patriots today giving Andre Tippet a warm sendoff for his enshrinement into Pro Football’s Hall of Fame this Saturday in Canton, Ohio.
Tom Brady did not make it to practice today but Rodney Harrison and Randy Moss did. Even Mike Vrabel made an appearance in shorts.
The real highlight of the day was seeing former Patriot Joe Andruzzi at practice with his family. Joe has been battling Cancer and told me that he is feeling pretty good with everyuthing he has gone thru over the past year. Andruzzi was always one of the real good guys on this team and we wish him and his family good health and happiness.

Leave Manny Alone, Pats 10th Practice
July 30, 2008

Can we all please put this Manny controversy( which quite frankly was ALOT of media speculation) behind us.

I’ve got to admit that I loved his comments the other night that the Red Sox will not trade him because they could never get equal value. He’s right. He is not going anywhere. If the Red Sox have a chance to get to the playoffs and advance in those playoffs, Manny must be in the line-up…and isn’t the bottom line winning? Yes it is.

Now to the Patriots, Rodney Harrison is finally off the Physically unable to perform list, and my newest favorite Patriot is running back Lamont Jordan who today answered an inaccurate question that misquoted someone with the response” I don’t believe most of what the media writes”. I like the chip on his shoulder because, unlike nasty Corey Dillon, Jordan made his comment with a smile on his face. Now let’s hope Jordan can be a valuable contributor on the field-I like his chances.

Other observations-

Rookie Cornerback Terrence Wheatley, who is very pleasant, seems unintimidated by this whole new experience. I think that means alot. I like it. They are going to need him to contribute to help fill in for the departure of Asante Samuel.

Another pleasant newcomer is linebacker Victor Hobson, another defender who the Pats are counting on to contribute.

Tomorrow is Andre Tippett day in Foxboro where fans will be given a chance to give Tippett, who is headed to Pro Football’s hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio this weekend, a send-off. More on that tomorrow.
MD

Patriots 1st Practice: Many Missing
July 24, 2008

You know how they say that every year changes are made to a team and that this years team will be a different team- well this years Patriots team IS different, at least so far.

Besides the 12 players on the Physically unable to perform list, which includes Vrabel, Harrison, Welker, and Ellis Hobbs to name just a few, Ben Watson also did not practice, and then there is the departed, at least from the Patriots.

Everybody’s (especially the media) best friend-Rosevelt Colvin, Asante Samuel, Junior Seau (was he really that pivotal) and Dante Stallworth-all gone. Add in Willie Andrews (though the Patriots will certainly not address that one) and you have at least 17 players not on the field who were there last year so todays practice did look different, especially with Tom Brady not throwing the ball.

Brady admitted today that he will limit his throws during training camp to one practice a day (at the most). He is fed up with getting a tired arm toward the end of camp. Really, it’s not like he doesn’t know what he’s doing. (though I wonder if he’d like to go against past years routine and actually play that final pre-season game, against the Giants???)

Very nice to see fullback Sammy Morris back, especially after not having him against the pass rushing Giants- his absence really hurt!

The biggest questions surrounding this camp is can the rookies come in and make much needed contributions, especially in the defensive backfield (it may take all season to learn how to play without Asante Samuel). And how will Randy Moss and the offense adjust to the entirely new defenses they will face this year? You can bet that Moss is not going to be able to run wild like he did last season…what were opponents thinking?

Camp opening in the bubble is just not the same (it is certainly more humid). But with Tom Brady guiding the ship, the Patriots will make the playoffs and are guaranteed to be a Super Bowl contender.

MD

Tom Brady’s First Camp Comments
July 24, 2008

Thanks to the Patriots PR staff for the transcription…

Q: How was the first day?

TB: I think everybody is excited to be back. We realize that we have a pretty good team and I am anxious to start the games. We have five tough weeks of practice and I think we are going to need it. The ’08 season has begun and I hope the rain isn’t a forecast of things to come. Everybody is just excited to be back.

Q: With how last season ended, did it make the off-season longer?

TB: It was a short off-season because we played all the way to the end. We were all disappointed with the way it ended – there’s no doubt about that. That is part of competition. You can’t always control the outcome. You control how much you put into it and I know this team put everything it could into it. I think that is part of what helps you move forward is to say ‘OK we did the best we could do and it didn’t turn out the way we would have liked but sometimes that happens.’ We are moving forward with just as much energy and excitement as we always have. Hopefully we can go out there and compete as hard as we can and put ourselves in the best position possible every week.

Q: Is it very noticeable with guys like Asante Samuel, Rosevelt Colvin and Junior Seau not out here?

TB: We miss every guy we have ever lost, especially from the very successful seasons. Dating all the way back to guys like Lawyer Milloy, Drew Bledsoe and Ty Law. We always miss those guys. I think every year there will be changes and it is hard to make comparisons every year because we never have the same team intact. There are new coaches here, new opponents and a new schedule. It always starts fresh for us and it starts today.

Q: There is a long history of teams that lose the Super Bowl and don’t have success the following year. What have you learned from those teams to help make sure this a positive year?

TB: We start by taking leadership from our head coach [Bill Belichick] and the example that he sets. I don’t think he is too concerned with what anybody did last year, including us. He is concerned with what we did today and what we do tomorrow. That is where is all starts. I don’t think what any team has done in the history of the NFL will have any effect on what we do this year. We are going to do the best we can do. We are going to try and do the best we can do everyday in practice. Hopefully that leads to a lot of wins.

Q: Have you watched film from the Super Bowl last year or do the coaches keep it away from you?

TB: We watch film from it and learn form it. We learn about some things we didn’t do so well and learn about the things we did well. It wasn’t all bad but it wasn’t all good. I think like most games it comes down to a few certain plays. We didn’t make enough plays in that game and that is why the outcome turned out the way it did. We will learn from it and learn from the games we won. We are always trying to improve and learn from the previous week.

Q: Does watching film from last year’s Super Bowl help put it behind you?

TB: You always have emotions when watching it because you remember the disappointment you felt after the game. Just like when you watch games you have won you remember the excitement you felt. It was one game last season that we all felt we could have played a little better. You can’t change what happened; as hard as you want to, you can’t. So what can you do? You can move forward with the awareness that you can improve. We are going to try to improve in all phases. There are a lot of improvements we need to make as a team to be able to compete as hard as we can. This is a tough league with a tough schedule and a tough conference. Those teams are always trying to beat us and it has been like that since I have been here.

Q: How was your off-season? Did you travel more?

TB: It was great and every year it seems to get better. I really enjoy it. It is a time to spend with family and friends but I am also anxious to be back. I love playing and I love competing. In March and April you are not too excited about football but once June and July come you are anxious to get back, be around your teammates and start working.

Q: What did you like about watching the Celtics in the Finals since you were at a couple of games?

TB: It was fun to watch. It is exciting for this city because of the Celtics’ history. I really respect and admire those guys. Their players, coaches, management and ownership have always been so supportive of what we do. It is cool to have all the Boston and New England community come together and be able to watch those guys. I was especially excited for those guys who hadn’t won a championship. You know how it feels so you get excited for guys like Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul [Pierce] that have played for so long and haven’t experienced it and now they are world champs.

Q: Do you feel you guys have anything to prove because of how last year ended?

TB: I don’t think about that. I don’t think about proving anything to anybody except proving that we can work hard. You don’t focus on proving people wrong. You just focus on doing the best you can do. You control how much effort you put in when you are on the practice field or in the meeting room. You control the effort you put out. We focus on that. No matter what anybody thinks or says – it doesn’t matter. As much as I want to think it matters or you guys [media] think it matters, it really doesn’t. We are going to control what we can control and that is the attitude we take with our preparation, effort and attitude.

Q: With how much of a grind last year was, physically and mentally, do you have to pace yourself early this year?

TB: Yeah. Each year I learn something different. The goal this year isn’t to see how sore my arm can get. For our team the goal is still the same – to be ready to play in September. Whatever we need to do to get to that point, our coach is going to put us through. It is a veteran team. We pretty much have everybody back on offense. I don’t think it is going to take what it took to cover last year. Hopefully we can build on stuff we did last year.

Q: Last year you had to get acclimated to a bunch of new receivers. How will it be different this year?

TB: We now know what everybody can do. We know what everybody is capable of. Last year when we broke the huddle, guys were running to the right or the left because that is where they had to go. They are trying to figure out how to run the routes and find out what I am looking for. Now when we get in the huddle, I tell Randy [Moss] what to do and he knows exactly what you are going to do. It is the same with Wes [Welker] and Jab [Gaffney]. It is pretty much everybody. That leads to better execution and if you can execute more consistently than that will help over the long term. There are a lot of guys who can do it really good for one play but it goes back for one play. You want to do it well and right as often as possible so nothing inhibits you from scoring.

Q: You guys had huge numbers last year. Can you equal or better that this year?

TB: I don’t know what this year is going to call for. Hopefully if the other team scores 40 points we can score more than 40. Each game is going to be different. How ever many points we need to win, I hope that is what we score.

Q: Last year you said you felt 22 years old. How old do you feel this year?

TB: I feel 21. I feel like I am getting younger. My body feels really good and in great shape. My arm feels good. My mind feels good most importantly. We are ready to attack this season and see what we can make of it.

Q: Are you going to take some practices off and not throw like you did today?

TB: Yeah, because we have another practice this afternoon. For me, I don’t think it is important to throw twice a day. I want to make sure the reps I take are good reps. Two practices today is good for arm soreness. Some guys do it but for me over the long term it would be beneficial to pace it.

Q: On the first day of training camp what are you focused on most?

TB: I think it is whatever the drill calls for. If coach scripts the practice to work on the run game then we will work on the run game. If it is a conditioning drill then we will work on conditioning. Whatever coach asks us to do that is what we are going to do and do our best at it.

Q: You said your arm feels good but how does your ankle feel?

TB: Yeah it feels great. The ankle is great.

Q: How much fun was surfing?

TB: I am a terrible surfer. I swim and avoid waves. I don’t think I surf much.

Q: Did you get your parking spot?

TB: No, I gave it up. I didn’t compete for it this year. I am sure if I would have competed I would have won but I chose not to compete.

Q: Do you feel you needed a bigger vacation this year?

TB: No, I think there are other things that have come up in my life that I had to make choices on. One of the choices was to spend time away with things that I don’t get the opportunity to do in the off-season. It was not all vacation though.

Q: You don’t have to face your buddy Jason Taylor as often this season. How happy are you about that?

TB: Yeah. I think [Matt] Light and I popped a cold beer when I saw that transaction. We were the two most excited players in the NFL. I appreciate that very much and I let him know it as well.

Q: Would Matt Light admit that?

TB: Oh yeah. We were hugging each other. It was awesome.

Coach Belichick’s First Camp Comments
July 24, 2008

Thanks to the Patriots PR staff for the transcription…

Anyway, it’s good to be out on the field and start training camp. We had the guys in yesterday and did some preliminary work; physicals, running tests and got some of that out of the way. Today is the first day we are really out on the field in pads going through drills, having contact work and starting a long road of building the base to get ready for the opener against Kansas City and the 16 game regular season schedule. As usual the emphasis on training camp will be on fundamentals and a lot of individual techniques. We spent a large amount of time in the spring going over game stuff, a lot of group things and a lot of non-contact work that we felt we could get done. [Work] that we thought would be very beneficial to the team and it was. I think the team has responded to that well. Now what we need to do is go through a lot of the individual stuff. The contact work, the hand placement, the feet, the leverage and a lot of one on one things like that so we can improve on those techniques and get those fundamentals down. Hopefully, those will carry us through the season. This is our time to work on them so that is where the real emphasis will be. We are in the training camp mode here. We have two practices today and we will just keep rolling here for a while and try to concentrate on one day at a time, one meeting a time. Put one foot in front of the other and just try to keep getting better on an individual technique fundamental basis. Then gradually blend things together from a team standpoint to get to the point where we can go out there and compete with some kind of efficiency in a couple weeks when we open up against Baltimore [Ravens]. That is where we are at. We have a long way to go. One step at a time and that’s the mode we are in right now.

Q: What goals have you set for yourself this year and for the team?

BB: The goal right now is to correct the mistakes we made this morning, talk about the stuff we are going to install this afternoon and go out there and work on that. We are going to try to have another good practice and string them together. Our focus right now is very short term.

Q: What does Dom Capers bring to this team?

BB: Dom brings a wealth of experience and on the defensive side of the ball. Also, as a head coach he has worked with a lot of young players through the course of his career and especially in the two expansion franchises he was with at the beginning of their operations. He has been in several different [3-4] schemes, Pittsburgh scheme, Miami scheme with Nick [Saban] and of course what he ran at Houston the past few years. Dom is very experienced in secondary and all around on defense. He has certainly made a lot of the head coaching and coordinator type decisions. He is a big asset from all those standpoints. I don’t know how everything will work going forward but certainly he has a lot of knowledge and experience to draw from. We have done that already and I’m sure we will continue to do that as we go forward through the course of the year.

Q: What did you see in Victor Hobson in how he would fit here?

BB: I think Victor is a good football player. We have played against him a lot when he has played with the [N.Y.] Jets. He has been an 80 percent playtime player the last couple of years although he played outside in that system. In Herman [Edwards] system before that he played in the [4-3] but he played more of an off the line type of position. That is more where he will play for us as an inside linebacker – more off the line of scrimmage than on it, where he played for the last couple of years. He is a smart kid, he’s fast, he’s tough and has been a very productive player. I feel like he can compete with some of the other players we have at that position and we will see out it all works out.

Q: You’re a student to the game…What have you learned about teams that have not been successful after a year in the Super Bowl and how will you apply what you’ve learned?

We have spent more time trying to look at ourselves like we do every year. What we did last year and how we can improve on that. Whether it be coaching, strategy, player acquisitions, scheme, whatever happens today. That is what we have done all the other years and that’s what we’ve done this year. We will try to build on some of the things we did last year, try to improve on some of the things we didn’t do as well and make adjustments from one season to the next, both from a scheme standpoint and from a personnel standpoint.

Q: Have you seen pitfalls in other teams who have been in your position coming off from a year like last year?

BB: I really haven’t focused on too much of that. I really don’t know what the specifics were for each one of those teams, what the dynamics were, what they were dealing with and so forth. After the ’96 season we weren’t here. We were in New York in ’97 so I can’t comment on that. Right now it’s really not about last year, it’s about this year and that is what we are going to concentrate on.

Q: What’s Ben Watson’s status?

BB: Watson’s status? There were several players that weren’t out there today. He is not on PUP. So what does that make him? Normal, I don’t know.

Q: How committed are you to the run game and making it a more balanced attack for this year?

BB: We’re are committed to scoring and trying to win games and whatever we can do to do that, that is what I am all for. I’m sure our offensive game plans will reflect that based on the teams we are playing and how we match up against them and what we feel like is best for that particular game plan. It is important to have balance in your offense with both running and passing, inside and outside, long and deep and to be able to attack the defense on a lot of different fronts. Sometimes it is better to do one thing or another depending on the match-ups you have against that team. That is all game-to-game, week-to-week decisions. As far as training camp goes, we work on everything. We want to be prepared to use all of our weapons and assets on offense. How we use them and when we use them that will be determined by game planning and game time decisions.

Q: What are you most excited about this season?

BB: As usual we put a lot of work into the off-season. We studied last year; we have made a lot of personnel adjustments, being in the draft, free agency – as you always do. Now it’s time to put it together, go to camp, put on the pads and start running plays. We will see how they look, make some adjustments, see if we can get them better and try to be competitive.

Q: Talk about the importance of getting Jerod Mayo on the field.

BB: We would like to have all the players on the field working as soon as possible. Whenever that is, then we will work with them.

Q: I saw Tank Williams filling in his [Mayo] position [line backer]. Is it because you are short players?

BB: We work with our players in a lot of different roles and different positions. That builds their depth and depth for our team. It builds depth for the player, versatility for each player and value to the team. We will do that with a lot of different guys. Certainly, Tank is a very versatile player. He has played in the secondary, he has played close to the line of scrimmage, he’s been productive in the kicking game, he can blitz and he can cover. How that will all work out, we will just have to see, but he can do a number of different things and we will work with him in those different roles.

Q: Richard Seymour said he’s been playing with one arm and one leg year to year. What does it mean for your defense to have him at 100 percent?

BB: Well, it is good to have all of our players and it is good to have them all 100 percent healthy.
That is the goal of every player, every coach and every team. Unfortunately, that is usually not the case. There are usually some issues that you are working around one way or another or an individual has to work around. That is part of the game too. We hope everyone is out there 100 percent ready to go without any restrictions or hindrances at all. We hope that for every player and I know that’s what every player hopes for too. That’s the point we are all trying to get to. As many as we can have in that situation the better off we will be.

Q: You have been pretty consistent about putting last year behind you. Is there anything at all…

BB: I don’t know. I am not really worried about last year anymore. We are just trying to have a good practice this morning, make the corrections this afternoon, put in some new stuff and go out and practice it tonight. So that is where we are.

Q: Who did you learn that philosophy from? To take things day to day and not look ahead at the big picture as a whole?

BB: What else would you do?

Q: Well, some people worry about what is going to happen 3 months down the road.

BB: What, are we going to sit here and talk about November? We don’t even know who is going to be playing in November. For us or them, whoever it is. I am just saying, I don’t know. Our deal is what is in front of us and what is behind us we can’t do anything about. What is in front of us, we will get to it eventually but right now we have a lot of other stuff we need to tackle and deal with. I guess if I learned that from anybody it would probably be my Dad.

Q: Nick Kaczur wasn’t out there today. Are you happy with the result of the legal matter?

BB: Well, it is a legal matter that we don’t have any control over. Whatever it is, that is a matter between a player and whatever part of the legal procedure that player is involved with at that time. Sometimes it changes. If it affects us than we will deal with it and if it doesn’t than the player deals with it. If there is any discipline than all that is handles internally between the player and the club like it always is.

Q: Is that why he was not out there today?

BB: No. I didn’t say that. I’m just telling you that is the procedure that we have. Any discipline between a player and a club is handled internally between the player and the club regardless of what player it is. That is the way we do it.

Q: Personally is this a special day to you?

Actually, yesterday was the first day of camp. It was the first day everyone came in but it’s good to get out on the field. We had our practices in the spring and it was good to see the team start to formulate, come together and work together. I understand for you it is the first day of the football season. For us the first day of the season was probably the Monday after the Super Bowl when you start making personnel decisions, then head into free agency, start getting ready for the draft and then start getting ready for Spring camps. For me the 2008 season started back in February and it’s an on going process. Training camp is an important part of the process but there has been a lot of work done leading up to yesterday and today by myself, by the staff, by the players, by strength and conditioning, trainers, rehab and so forth. We are pretty well into the year. I don’t mean to be disrespectful but it’s not like we rolled out the ball today and were like okay let’s start-playing football. We have been at it for a while and this is just another step in the process. An important one but another one.

Q: It didn’t seem like Tom [Brady] threw the ball all that much. Is there a reason for that or is it just the way it worked out?

BB: We have a long training camp and we will have players doing different things on different days. They will work on different positions and have different workloads. Some of that is managed as you go and some of that is the way you start camp. Each player is in their own individual situation, whatever that happens to be. Some guys do more than others, some guys do less, some guys are practicing some guys aren’t, some guys are practicing at different positions and so forth and so on. The composite of it is trying to get the team ready for the pre-season games, evaluate certain things in pre-season and try to get the team ready for the season opener against Kansas City and our 16 game regular season schedule. It is all part of a mosaic. What is best for the team, what is best for the player and all the situations are handled pretty independently.

Q: Is Tom [Brady] at a point in his career where he doesn’t need to be here?

BB: I think it is important for every player to do everything they can to be ready for the season. I think Tom did everything he can to be ready for the season. I’d like to think that everyone else did that as well. There is probably some that could have done a little bit more than they did but that is always the case. I think Tom is well prepared for the season. I think he will be ready to go but he still has a long way to go too just like everyone else.

Q: Can you clarify the situation with Nick [Kaczur]?

BB: He is on PUP. I don’t know how it could be any clearer than that. We can all read the PUP rules and all that. Basically, ready to practice is ready to practice and that encompasses a lot of different things. When they are ready to practice they are out there and when they are not ready to practice then at the beginning of camp they are on PUP and if they are not on PUP then they are not ready to practice and they are doing something else than the rest of the team practice. There is some reason why those players on that list [PUP] are not participating, some physical reason why they are not participating.

Slideshow Is Up
July 24, 2008

Take a look at our pictures from the wet first day of Patriots Training Camp!

Click here!

Humid Start
July 24, 2008

If the Patriots wanted to wipe the slate clean and avoid last year, today certainly provided a good start. At least in that, unlike last year, there were no huge crowds to greet them for the start of training camp… A stormy night soaked the practice fields, forcing the team inside the bubble for the first of many hot workouts.

It was so humid inside the bubble that many television news cameras fogged up and shut down (thankfully ours returned right as the workouts began). As usual, we are only allowed to see stretching and drills, drills which Tom Brady really did not take part in. As he did last year, it looks like he is avoiding throwing the ball to save his arm for the regular season.

Randy Moss did take part in the action, and looked to be in great shape. Jabar Gaffney appeared to be the #2 option, with Wes Welker still out recovering from surgery.

Ben Watson was not on the field today, but he is not on the PUP list. As Coach Belichick just said in his press conference, “he wasn’t on the field today, but he’s not on the PUP list. What does that make him, normal?” Yes, Coach is making with the funny early this year.

Stephen Gostkowski almost killed us as practice wound down. There are no protective nets in the bubble to catch kicks as they fly through the uprights, and one kick sailed over a camera stand, off the soft wall, grazing Mike Dowling before ricocheting off a garbage can. Luckily, no one on the SportsCenter 5 team was injured.

Afterwards, Tedy Bruschi was his usual gracious self, reflecting on 13 years of training camp and how he loves not having to carry his pads off the field anymore. Of course, that job falls to the rookies, and will include 1st round pick Jarod Mayo, who can expect to be carrying Tedy’s pads after the afternoon session (which Mayo is expected to attend).

Highlight of the interview session (outside of everyone asking “have you watched the Super Bowl as a team?”) has to be Laurence Maroney. As the cameras surrounded him, Kool Aid remarked that he must be a big time vet with all of the “numbers” (a.k.a. stations) surrounding him. He then greeting every question with something similar to the greeting we received: “Who you with? 5? Channel 5? In HD? Oh yeah!”

Check back later for comments from Coach Belichick and Tom Brady.