|08.07.10 at 1:30 am ET|
If the report of Nick Kaczur suffering a “significant” back injury is correct, it will leave the Patriots even thinner at a position — left guard — where they are already lacking depth.
Pro Bowler Logan Mankins, currently locked in a contract imbroglio with the franchise, hasn’t reported for training camp. Kaczur, who had been primarily used as a tackle through his NFL career, took the majority of reps at Mankins’ old spot throughout the early stages of camp, and it looked like he could enter the season as the starter.
But with Kaczur lost to injury — he’s now missed the last 11 training camp practices, not including walkthroughs — much of the responsibility would shift to Dan Connolly, Connolly has seen many of the reps at left guard since Kaczur went down, and it figures Connolly, a career backup interior lineman, would move into the full-time starters’ spot at left guard if Kaczur is out for a significant period of time.
|08.06.10 at 10:42 pm ET|
According to ESPN.com, Patriots offensive lineman Nick Kaczur has told teammates he has a significant back injury that could potentially sideline him for the entire 2010 season. The report states that Kaczur, who has been out of the Pats’ last 11 training camp sessions, was slated to move from tackle to guard, could seek another medical opinion, but the prospects for a return any time soon remain “grim.” Five-year veteran Dan Connolly has been lining up with the starting unit with both Kaczur and holdout Logan Mankins not available.
|08.06.10 at 10:36 pm ET|
The Patriots announced Friday night they have signed safety Josh Barrett and released running back Thomas Clayton. Here’s the complete statement from the team on the transaction:
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Patriots claimed and were awarded S Josh Barrett off waivers from the Denver Broncos today. In addition, the Patriots released RB Thomas Clayton.
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|08.06.10 at 10:32 pm ET|
The Patriots announced Friday night they have cancelled practice for both Saturday and Sunday. Currently, the team is scheduled to get back to work on Monday with double sessions at Gillette Stadium in anticipation of the visit of the New Orleans Saints — the Patriots and Saints will be holding joint practices on Tuesday (9 a.m. and 3:45 p.m.) and Wednesday (9 a.m.) in Foxboro prior to their Thursday night game at Gillette.
|08.06.10 at 4:41 pm ET|
FOXBORO — The Patriots just wrapped up their Friday afternoon practice session after having a walkthrough in the morning. The ESPN caravan made a stop at Gillette Stadium, meaning Adam Schefter was signing autographs before any of the players. Here are some notes:
- Not in attendance were linebackers Gary Guyton and Derrick Burgess, defensive end Ty Warren, defensive backs Brett Lockett and Leigh Bodden, and offensive linemen Logan Mankins and Nick Kaczur.
Defensive tackles Ron Brace and Mike Wright, as well as defensive back Terrence Johnson and running back Thomas Clayton, were present but exercised in shorts and t-shirts.
- Jonathan Wilhite, defensive lineman Myron Pryor and offensive tackle Mark LeVoir made their returns to the practice field. LeVoir was welcomed back by having to run a lap for jumping early on a play.
- In 1-on-1 passing drills, a few players stood out for various reasons. Sam Aiken was the first, making an impressive catch despite having Terrence Wheatley pretty much choirs to him. The best play of the drill came from Receiver Rod Owens, who downright embarrassed second-year cornerback Darius Butler. Owens took a step toward the middle of the endzone, and Butler totally took the bait, making for an easy catch once Owens changed course for the outside. Butler made up for any shame caused by breaking up a pass from Brian Hoyer that was destined for the hands of Randy Moss.
- The catch of the day happened during 11-on-11 drills, when Brandon Tate made a diving, over-the-shoulder catch to reel in a pass deep along the sidelines from Hoyer. Though Tate landed out of bounds and the play would have been ruled an incompletion in a game, there was quite the celebration from players and fans alike.
- On a drill in which rookie punter Zoltan Mesko practiced punting out of the endzone under pressure, receivers Julian Edelman, Buddy Farnham, and Tate took took turns acting as the punt returner.
- Rookie tight end Rob Gronkowski dropped a ball in traffic in the the endzone during the final two-minute drill but made up for it with a nice catch on the goal line to wrap up the session.
- Not that it’s surprising, but Brandon Spikes looks very good against the run. He may not be the fastest guy and certainly risks being exposed when in coverage, but where the runner goes, Spikes goes. It’s that simple for the hard-hitting rookie.
- Tom Brady wasn’t particularly active in the practice, with Hoyer taking far and away more snaps than either Brady or third-stringer Zac Robinson. Hoyer looks comfortable as he enters his second season, though Robinson remains very erratic with his throws. The seventh-round pick did run a two-minute drill towards the end of practice. The lack of snaps for Brady simply appeared to be a case of him getting a lighter session and nothing more. He did get to act as a pash-rusher, however, in drills to familiarize the quarterbacks with throwing the ball under pressure.
|08.06.10 at 2:28 pm ET|
ESPN football insider Adam Schefter took a break from his training camp bus tour to talk to the Dale & Holley show Friday afternoon. One of the first topics of conversation was the return of Wes Welker to Patriots practices after suffering what was thought to be a horrible knee injury in Week 17 of last season.
“He’s surprising everybody,” Schefter said. “Even today during [an interview], he said that the doctors told him it would be eight to nine months before he’s back on the field, before he could think about being back on the field. … The guy is an awfully tough football player, and what he’s done here has been remarkable.”
Schefter also addressed the contract negotiations between the Patriots and star quarterback Tom Brady. Many in New England are worried that it will take some time for a deal to be completed, if it even is completed. Schefter did not seem nearly as worried.
“I won’t answer specifically about when it’s going to get done. Let’s just say this: It’s going to get done,” he said.
Finally, on the topic of the very competitive AFC East division, Schefter was very noncommittal on choosing his preseason favorite, saying, “To me, when you look at the division, it won’t surprise me if the Jets win it. It won’t surprise me if the Dolphins win it. It won’t surprise me if the Patriots win it. It’s going to be a question of who stays the healthiest, who gets on a roll, gets some momentum and confidence going. It could be any of the three teams.”
Schefter noted that Jets coach Rex Ryan autographed the ESPN training camp tour bus, and after his name, Ryan wrote: “New York Jets, soon to be champs.” Schefter said Welker wrote a response when he autographed the bus Friday, but Schefter would not indicate what it said.
|08.06.10 at 12:21 pm ET|
Thanks to the Patriots’ PR staff, here’s the complete transcript of Friday morning’s Q&A between coach Bill Belichick and the media at Gillette Stadium:
BB: We dodged a little bullet there yesterday [with the weather] and got off [the field] just in time, so hopefully that won’t be a problem today. Moving forward to more situational football, we’re starting to get into more down-and-distance and field position, new field position situations and we’ll continue to build on that today, really each day as we go forward here. It’s all starting to sort of come together a little bit. Different down-and-distance situations, field position situations, backed up, moving into the red area, goal line, two-minute, and so forth. As we come to the end of the week here [we’re] trying to get most of our installation in and then we can go out there and execute it against the Saints next week and just see how it looks against another obviously very good football team in a competitive environment. I think we’re progressing along here. We’ve still got a long way to go and we’re right in the middle of two-a-days, so I think that’s a good time to evaluate our players’ conditioning, their dependability, consistency, and just day-to-day performance under tough conditions. That’s what we all need; we’re getting it.
Q: Last year at this time you had a bunch of veterans who would take practices off, but this year we haven’t really seen that. Is that a philosophical change or is it that they’re in better shape?
BB: I’d say we’re doing a number of things differently than we did them last year and I’ll just leave it at that. We’re doing a lot of things differently.
Q: How much has having the Saints come to practice next week affected the walkthroughs up to now?
BB: It hasn’t affected it all. In all honesty, what we do today is just really based on where we’re at today. Right now, long term to me is the next hour. I’m just saying that from an installation standpoint, we sometimes try to put things in the last two or three days before that preseason game. This year, we didn’t want to be doing that because we’re going to be practicing against the Saints. We wanted to have in whatever it is we’re going to have in, and then go out there and run it because we don’t really have time to install it. We’re practicing against them, [so] we don’t have our periods to put everything in. So we want to move that up so that it’s in and we can just go out there and be able to call it against them and run it.
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