|Maroney: A chip on his shoulder||05.31.09 at 7:41 pm ET|
FOXBOROUGH – Laurence Maroney knows full well many experts have given up on him. But those aren’t the people he needs to show he can still be a lead back for a Super Bowl contender.
Still only 24 — but with names like Fred Taylor, Kevin Faulk, BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Sammy Morris populating a crowded backfield — Maroney knows that the time is now for him to prove to Patriots coaches and personnel evaluators that he can carry the load and over the course of a 16-game season and playoff grind.
After seasons of 745 and 835 yards in his first two years, Maroney played in just three games last season, carrying the ball 28 times for only 93 yards.
There were murmurs about whether Maroney wanted it bad enough in New England and could his days in Foxborough be numbered. But while Brady was holding court last Thursday during an OTA attended by more media than players, Maroney told reporters that he has never heard those negative rumblings from the football staff.
“They haven’t given any negative feedback. I haven’t heard anything about it. Ask Bill and tell me what he said,” Maroney said.
Told that Coach Belichick isn’t always forthcoming about his player conversations with the media, Maroney smiled and quipped, “I guess you’ll never find that answer.”
|Highlights of Tom Brady with D&C||05.29.09 at 12:57 pm ET|
Thanks to Sam Chamberlain, here are a few highlights of Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady’s Q&A with D&C this morning. (For the complete audio of the interview, click here.)
|Getting their ‘best player back’||05.28.09 at 5:05 pm ET|
FOXBOROUGH — Wes Welker had the best year of his career in 2007 with Tom Brady calling the signals. He caught 112 balls for 1175 yards. Both numbers were just a tad better than his 2008 Pro Bowl season, spent without Brady under center for 15 3/4 games.
“Anytime you can get back your best player on the team and have him out there, it’s a great deal and we’re definitely excited about it,” Welker said on Thursday during the Patriots organized team activity outside Gillette Stadium.
Last week Randy Moss — who declined to speak on Thursday as he came off the practice field — declared this offense could be even better than the record-setting 2007 bunch that saw Brady throw for a record 50 touchdowns and Moss catch a record 23 touchdowns.
But Welker agreed with Brady in saying there’s a lot of work to be done before jumping to that conclusion.
“We’re just trying to get better right now,” Welker said. “What happened in the past happened in the past and we just have to make sure we’re pushing forward and getting ready for the future.
|Notes from Thursday’s OTA||05.28.09 at 3:12 pm ET|
Last week’s Organized Team Activity (OTA) behind Gillette Stadium took place on a beautiful spring morning, an unseasonably warm day where temperatures were in the 70s. There were a handful of reporters, and things were fairly laid-back.
Thursday was a far different story. On a bone-chilling morning far more suitable for football, 96 media members — with some outlets sending as many as six people — sat on the metal bleachers behind Gillette Stadium and got their first look at quarterback Tom Brady since he went down with a knee injury last September. (ESPN, the NFL Network, Foxsports.com and The Sporting News all sent representatives to cover the event.)
Brady looked as good as could be expected. Wearing blue sweatpants and a white practice jersey, he appeared to move cleanly throughout a series of offensive drills. He did not appear to favor his leg at any point, and his throwing mechanics were sound, firing plenty of balls with zip and confidence throughout the workout that lasted close to two hours. (Backup Kevin O’Connell wasn’t as lucky, slipping and falling on the wet grass in the middle of a handoff drill.)
It’s important to remember that this is simply another step in the rehab process, and the quarterback said as much after the workout. (Check out what he had to say here.) But based on what I saw Thursday afternoon, there’s certainly reason for optimism at this stage of the offseason calendar. He hooked up on some nice throws on a couple of occasions, connecting with Greg Lewis on a reception Brady later called “ridiculous.” At one point, he displayed the exuberance of a rookie — early on, he scooped up a ball bag and carried it from one drill to another himself, a thankless job usually reserved for a first-year player.
Oh, and there were 77 other guys on the field too. (I kid, I kid.) Other notes worth passing along include:
•Jermail Porter continues to work with the offensive linemen. The Kent State product, a collegiate wrestling star trying to make the transition to pro football, certainly appeared nimble in the drills I saw him participate in. (He lined up at right tackle on a few occasions in 11-on-11 drills, for what it’s worth.) He still remains a project, but he certainly didn’t do anything to call attention to himself in a negative fashion.
•There was plenty of emphasis on special teams, specifically kickoffs. With so many players currently on the roster — and many of the younger players likely bound for extended special teams duty — it certainly made sense. In addition, there was some emphasis on 11-on-11 situation football, specifically the two-minute offense.
•For what it’s worth, here were the players who were NOT present: WR Tyree Barnes, WR Shun White, WR Brandon Tate, DB Brandon Meriweather, RB Sammy Morris, CB Mike Richardson, DB Ray Ventrone, LB Jerod Mayo, LB Tyrone McKenzie, LB Tedy Bruschi, OL Al Johnson, OL Mark LeVoir, NT Vince Wilfork, DL Ty Warren, DL Jarvis Green.
|Complete Tom Brady Q&A, 5/28||05.28.09 at 2:19 pm ET|
Here’s the complete transcript of the Q&A between Tom Brady and the media from this afternoon at Gillette Stadium. (Thanks to NESN’s Jeff Howe for part of the transcription.)
|Brady speaks…||05.28.09 at 1:31 pm ET|
FOXBOROUGH – Tom Brady made his long-awaited debut before 14 TV cameras and countless reporters and photographers Thursday on the practice fields outside Gillette Stadium.
Here is the audio of what he had to say.
|We are at Gillette||05.28.09 at 10:47 am ET|
We are set to blog our way through today’s organized team activity down here in Foxborough. We are not allowed to blog or Tweet during practice, but I’ll have an update at the end of practice, which is scheduled to conclude at 12:30 p.m. In addition, quarterback Tom Brady is expected to address the media, and I’ll have all the updates from that as well.
The focus today is obviously going to be on Brady, but there will be several other points of interest worth following. Are the Patriots still going to be using Jermail Porter as an offensive lineman? Is Julian Edelman still working with the wide receivers? Will Vince Wilfork be in attendance? I’ll have all the answers here later this afternoon.
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