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Patriots sign two seventh-round picks

07.21.10 at 4:00 pm ET
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The Patriots announced the signing of two more players this afternoon, seventh-round picks Kade Weston (defensive lineman) and Zac Robinson (quarterback). Weston, a defensive lineman from Georgia, was selected by the Patriots in the seventh round of the 2010 draft with the 248th selection overall, while Robinson, a quarterback from Oklahoma State, was selected by the Patriots 250th overall.

Weston, 6-foot-5, 315 pounds, played in 48 career games with 20 starts at Georgia and finished with 78 total tackles and four sacks. Robinson, 6-foot-3, 218 pounds, became the starter after the second game of his sophomore season in 2007 and finished his career as the all-time leader in passing and total offense, amassing 10,175 yards in total offense and 8,317 passing yards.

Weston and Robinson are the seventh and eighth members of New England’s 12 2010 draft choices to sign with the team.

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Florio on D&H: Brady a ‘different guy’ than he used to be

07.21.10 at 3:58 pm ET
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NFL writer and Profootballtalk.com creator Mike Florio joined the Dale & Holley show Wednesday to discuss the competitive AFC East and the contractual situation of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, as well as offer his guess as to how the Brett Favre saga will play out this summer.

Regarding Brady, Florio said: “I keep hearing it from more and more people in the know, that he’s a different guy than he used to be. Some people think there’s a little bit of the Yoko Ono factor going on with his wife who makes $30 million a year, either telling him to try and get more money, or not play football at all and stay out in Los Angeles with her.”

Following are highlights of the interview. To hear the full interview visit the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

Can you explain the collective bargaining agreement in a way people can understand?

I cannot do it in a way that will keep people’s eyes from glazing over, and I want no responsibility for any of your listeners who fall asleep while driving their cars, but I will try, I make no promises. Look, here’s the thing: there’s a bigger issue going on here between the league and the players union and it has many levels and layers and complexities. At the end of the day, the NFL has set up a labor situation that is designed, not necessarily to crush the union, but to get the best possible deal. And one of the ways that the NFL is applying pressure to the players, especially current players, is to refuse to sign current players to new deals with big money that they would then be able to rely upon if there’s a work stoppage in 2011. And that puts the players in a position where they’re anxious about a lockout, they don’t want a lockout, because they haven’t gotten these contract extensions. Key players like Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, who otherwise could be leaders for the union effort, they don’t have that huge pile of money to sit on. Not that Tom Brady needs any more [money] when his wife is making $30 million in a year. But, I think these guys are getting caught up in a broader effort by the NFL to cut off the players as best they can, and they’ve been able to hold most of the teams together. I think there may be some collusion going on here, and that’s for the NFL [Players Association] to take up at some point in the future. But, when you see key guys on rosters, like Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, not getting deals and teams saying we want to see what the new rules are before we sign these guys. I mean common, what are you going to do, you’re not going to sign Peyton Manning and Tom Brady to a big money deal because there’s a salary cap? I just don’t buy it.

Regarding Tom Brady, what are you hearing about his relationship with the Patriots?

I was intrigued by this one, because [ESPN NFL writer] John Clayton is a guy who doesn’t care too much for me, and [CSNNE.com NFL writer] Tom Curran, a good friend of mine, reported that what Clayton reported was ridiculous. I’ll tell you what, I don’t think that Clayton is all that far off the mark with this one. I don’t rule anything out in this craziest of years that we’ve ever seen. Something has changed with Tom Brady over the past few years. I keep hearing it from more and more people in the know, that he’s a different guy than he used to be. Some people think there’s a little bit of the Yoko Ono factor going on with his wife who makes $30 million a year, either telling him to try and get more money, or not play football at all and stay out in Los Angeles with her. That could be a factor in all of this. Brady has taken a more active role in the union, and what better way than to be a good soldier in the union, than to take a stand against what seems to be collusion on the part of the owners to try and squeeze the players as best they can.

What have you heard about the Logan Mankins situation?

Look, the bottom line is, if the Patriots aren’t going to extend Tom Brady or Randy Moss, then why in the world are they going to do anything with Logan Mankins? You could make the argument that you could find a guy that could do almost as good a job in the draft, or as a guy you could get in free agency, and is he worth the kind of money he’s looking for. Yeah, I think that relationship may be broken and it’s just a matter of time before he goes somewhere else. But so be it, if they’re not going to pay Tom Brady, I don’t see them giving big money to anyone else.

With all the hype surrounding the Jets, you’re not handing the AFC East to them this year?

No, I handed the AFC East to the Dolphins, which I’m sure people in Boston love to hear.

Why the Dolphins?

I think Brandon Marshall has a huge impact on that team. People just write off Brandon Marshall as kind of a flake, he’s been in trouble multiple times, he’s had injuries. One of the debates I often get into is what makes a great quarterback. Is it a great receiver, does a great quarterback make a great receiver? Look last year about what happened in Denver after Jay Cutler left. Who still had a great year and who didn’t? Brandon Marshall had a great year with Kyle Orton throwing him passes. Jay Cutler couldn’t do anything with that collection of stiffs they have in Chicago. I think you bring Brandon Marshall to South Florida with that very good running game, an underrated offensive line, a good defense that’s going to get a good kick in the butt from [Defensive Coordinator] Mike Nolan, who really helped turn around Denver’s defense last year. You’re going to have guys running free in single coverage, because they are going to be double covering Brandon Marshall. He’s going to open up the running game. I think the Miami Dolphins are a very dangerous team in 2010.

When will Brett Favre show up in Minnesota?

It’s going to be some point in the middle of August. He feels compelled to have an excuse to miss training camp. And he said recently that his ankle isn’t where it needs to be. I also think he wants to make people believe he’s not coming back. He wants that buzz, he wants that sense of relief when Lord Favre rides into town on a stallion to save the Minnesota Vikings, again. He wants that. And this year it’s harder because he’s already under contract with the Vikings. Last year, he had no obligation. So, I think he’s trying to create a sense that he’s not going to play, and then in the middle of August, like last year, he’ll show up out of the blue, and all will be right in the world for the Vikings, until they get into the playoffs and lose again.

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Patriots unveil complete practice schedule for first week of camp

07.20.10 at 8:04 pm ET
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The Patriots sent out their training camp release this afternoon, and it included the schedule for the first seven days of training camp. Dates and times are subject to change, but for now, here’s the full slate for the first seven days.

Thursday, July 29

Morning Practice: 9:30-11:15 a.m.

Afternoon Practice: 3:45-5:30 p.m.

Friday, July 30

Morning Practice: 9:30-11:15 a.m.

Afternoon Practice: 3:45-5:30 p.m.

Saturday, July 31

Morning Practice: 9:30-11:15 a.m.

Afternoon Practice: 3:45-5:30 p.m.

Sunday, August 1

Morning Practice: 9:30-11:15 a.m.

Afternoon Practice: 3:45-5:30 p.m.

Monday, August 2

Morning Practice: 9:30-11:15 a.m.

Evening Practice: 7 p.m. (note: practice is in Gillette Stadium for season ticket holders only)

Tuesday, August 3

Morning Practice: 9:30-11:15 a.m.

Afternoon Practice: 3:45-5:30 p.m.

Wednesday, August 4

Morning Practice: 9:30-11:15 a.m.

Afternoon Practice: 3:45-5:30 p.m.

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Patriots, McCourty ‘optimistic’ on contract

07.20.10 at 11:41 am ET
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According to stories in The Boston Globe and Boston Herald on Monday, the Patriots and representatives for first-round draft pick Devin McCourty have had daily discussions the past two weeks, trying to get a contract in place before full-squad workouts begin on July 29.

The Globe report indicates the option bonus remains the sticking point.

The Herald story quotes agent Andy Simms as saying he’s “very optimistic” the deal will get done soon.

“Obviously, Devin and I plan on having a contract before training camp starts. He’d like to be there tomorrow, if it was at all possible,” said Simms, of PlayersRep Sports Management. “At this point, we just have to make sure we work out the right deal and take care of things the right way before we rush anything.”

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WEEI NFL Power Rankings: Training camp edition

07.20.10 at 7:48 am ET
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power-rankings575

Training camp is right around the corner, and what better way to kick off the start of the NFL season with an edition of the WEEI NFL Power Rankings?

The Saints and Colts remain at No. 1 and 2 respectively coming off their Super Bowl appearances. Jumping into the top five are the Ravens, who enjoyed an excellent offseason in which they added a Pro Bowl wide receiver and watched their division rival Steelers lose their starting quarterback for 4-6 games.

With much offseason hype surrounding the Jets, Rex Ryan’s gang sits at No. 7 after adding many key players to their roster. The Patriots are looking up two spots at their AFC East rival at No. 9.

Feel free to leave your comments and opinions below.

New Orleans Saints1. The Saints will try to be the first team to win back-to-back Super Bowls since the 2003-04 Patriots. The pass defense certainly will need to improve if they want to repeat.

2. Indy goes into this season trying to win 12 or more games for the eighth straight season — an unprecedented run of success for Peyton Manning and friends. Like many of the teams in the NFL, the defending AFC champs have some players threatening a holdout. Reggie Wayne and Robert Mathis both are looking for new contracts despite the fact that two years remain on both of their current deals.

3. The Ravens finally have a big-name receiver to catch the ball. The addition of Anquan Boldin will make Baltimore a very difficult team to beat.

Green Bay Packers4. The Packers must protect quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who was sacked 57 times last season. Rodgers is turning into one of the premier QBs in the game and can lead this team to a championship if given the chance by his offensive line. Green Bay also has the luxury of playing Buffalo, Chicago and Detroit in three of the first four games.

Dallas Cowboys5. The Cowboys clearly are the favorites to win the NFC East this year with their weapons on the defensive line and the array of talent ready to catch passes from Tony Romo.

Read the rest of this entry »

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NFL 2010 Training Camp Dates and Locations

07.19.10 at 4:15 pm ET
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With some teams opening training camp as early as this week, here’s a look at when and where all 32 teams will begin the 2010 season. New England Patriots rookies will report to camp at Gillette Stadium on July 25th and veterans will follow on July 28th.

Team Site Location Rookies Veterans
Arizona Northern Arizona University Flagstaff, AZ 7/30 7/30
Atlanta Atlanta Falcons Training Facility Flowery Branch, GA 7/29 7/29
Baltimore McDaniel College Westminster, MD 7/26 7/28
Buffalo St. John Fisher College Pittsford, NY 7/29 7/29
Carolina Wofford College Spartanburg, SC 7/28 7/28
Chicago Olivet Nazarene University Bourbonnais, IL 7/30 7/30
Cincinnati Georgetown College Georgetown, KY 7/28 7/28
Cleveland Cleveland Browns Training Facility Berea, OH 7/23 7/30
Dallas Alamodome San Antonio, TX 7/24 7/24
Detroit Detroit Lions Training Facility Allen Park, MI 7/30 7/30
Green Bay St. Norbert College Green Bay, WI 7/30 7/30
Denver Paul D. Bowlen Memorial Broncos Centre Englewood, CO 7/26 7/31
Houston Methodist Training Center Houston, TX 7/30 7/30
Indianapolis Anderson University Anderson, IN 8/1 8/1
Jacksonville Jacksonville Municipal Stadium Jacksonville, FL 7/29 7/29
Kansas City Missouri Western State University St. Joseph, MO 7/29 7/29
Miami Miami Dolphins Training Facility Davie, FL 7/30 7/30
Minnesota Minnesota State University, Mankato Mankato, MN 7/30 7/30
New England Gillette Stadium Foxboro, MA 7/25 7/28
New Orleans New Orleans Saints Training Facility Metairie, LA 7/29 7/29
NY Giants University at Albany Albany, NY 8/1 8/1
NY Jets SUNY Cortland Cortland, NY 7/29 8/1
Oakland Napa Valley Marriott Napa Valley, CA 7/28 7/28
Pittsburgh Saint Vincent College Latrobe, PA 7/30 7/30
Philadelphia Lehigh University Bethlehem, PA 7/26 7/29
St. Louis Russell Training Center Earth City, MO 7/28 7/30
San Diego Chargers Park San Diego, CA 7/25 7/30
San Francisco Marie P. DeBartolo Sports Center Santa Clara, CA 7/30 7/31
Seattle Virginia Mason Athletic Center Renton, WA 7/29 7/30
Tampa Bay One Buccaneer Place Tampa, FL 7/30 7/30
Tennessee Baptist Sports Park Nashville, TN 7/31 7/31
Washington Redskins Park Ashburn, VA 7/29 7/29
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Randy Moss makes two new friends

07.18.10 at 3:23 pm ET
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Here are are some photos of Randy Moss and a a walrus and a penguin, taken recently during the Patriots’ wide receiver’s trip to  Sea World (courtesy our friends at Sea World and Pro Football Talk). I really don’t know what else to say …

moss_seaworld_blog2

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