Archive for July 30th, 2010

Training Camp report from Friday afternoon’s session

Friday, July 30th, 2010
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Randy Moss was all smiles during a Friday practice session at Gillette. (AP)

FOXBORO — The Patriots just wrapped up their fourth training camp practice of the summer on the fields behind Gillette Stadium on a picture-perfect New England summer afternoon.

•No real surprises in the attendance report. The following players were on the field but not in pads: wide receiver Darnell Jenkins, defensive back Bret Lockett, running back Thomas Clayton, defensive lineman Kyle Love, wide receiver Wes Welker, defensive lineman Ty Warren and defensive lineman Ron Brace. In addition, offensive lineman Logan Mankins and outside linebacker Derrick Burgess were not present, and wide receiver Matthew Slater and offensive lineman Nick Kaczur were not on the field.

•Offensively, a handful of players stood out, but a long-distance connection between quarterback Tom Brady and wide receiver Brandon Tate (over cornerback Leigh Bodden) was probably the most impressive pass-and-throw of the day. Wide receiver Taylor Price also hauled in a deep ball late in practice on an impressive pass from quarterback Zac Robinson, which drew a big cheer. (Wide receiver Julian Edelman also had a nice diving catch.) We are only four practices into camp — no one is submitting their names for Canton just yet — but Tate and Taylor have both played very well thus far.

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McKenzie hits home with fans

Friday, July 30th, 2010

FOXBORO — On the day Tom Brady was mobbed by the media about his future with the Patriots and whether his contract talks would be a distraction for the quarterback, it was an unheralded linebacker who made the biggest noise – literally.

Head coach Bill Belichick yelled at his offensive and defensive units to run a goal line play “full speed.” Apparently, Tyrone McKenzie heard the coach loud and clear.

After missing all of his rookie 2009 season with a torn ACL in his right knee just weeks after getting drafted, McKenzie, an inside linebacker, made quite the impact on Friday at Patriots training camp when he stuffed Laurence Maroney on a goal line situation, knocking the veteran running back squarely back at the goal line and keeping him out of the end zone.

The loud bang made such a sound that it drew oohs and ahhs from the over 7,000 in attendance on the practice field just outside the south end of Gillette Stadium.

“My body is getting used to hitting again,” McKenzie said. “I think it’s just natural. I’ve been playing football since I was nine.”

He, however, was humble in talking about it after practice.

“I have no idea,” McKenzie said. “I’m just going to come out here everyday and try to work hard. You sit there and try to get a big hit and then mess up on something else. That was just one play. You have to be consistent on what you do every day and that’s all I’m trying to do right now.”

Asked if it felt good, one year after blowing out his right knee in a collision with a running back in camp, McKenzie was again modest.

“It feels good just to be out here,” McKenzie said. “That was just one play, that’s all.”

Though an inside linebacker, McKenzie might be getting an extra look-see this summer with the uncertainty and possible retirement of Derrick Burgess.

“I don’t even know anything about it,” McKenzie added. “I just try to work hard with the guys I’m out here. All that other stuff, we’re all going to have to go through it sooner or later. That’s not my concern.”

Training Camp Report from Friday morning’s session

Friday, July 30th, 2010

FOXBORO — The Patriots wrapped up a fairly uneventful Friday morning practice session a little while back, with a big crowd taking in the action under a mostly cloudless sky.

•The only two players who were missing and unaccounted for were linebacker Derrick Burgess and offensive lineman Logan Mankins. Rumors persist that Burgess is considering retirement, much to the surprise of Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who talked about the veteran in his pre-practice press conference. “We expected him to be here — he’s not here,” Belichick said. “This type of situation certainly isn’t unprecedented. We’ll just deal with it going forward. I’m not exactly sure that I know all the information that I need to know, so that’s what it is for now.”

•Meanwhile, wide receiver Darnell Jenkins, defensive back Bret Lockett, running back Thomas Clayton, wide receiver Wes Welker and defensive lineman Ron Brace were all on the field and in sweats. Wide receiver Sam Aiken, who was not in action yesterday, was in pads this morning. Wide receiver Matthew Slater was not on the field.
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Quick hits from Tom Brady’s Friday morning Q&A

Friday, July 30th, 2010

FOXBORO — Tom Brady just wrapped up a 15-minute session with the media. While we’ll have the full Q&A posted shortly, here are a few quick highlights from the session conducted on the field shortly after the end of Friday morning’s training camp session:

Do you feel like you’re almost 33?
I’m feeling pretty good. I’m feeling pretty good. I try to, like all of us older guys, find a way that works for them to be ready ad to feel energized every day. We were talking about Junior Seau yesterday and how unique it is for a guy like that. But moreso, in the way you train or physically, it’s your attitude as well. Guys who stick around, our attitude is always pretty good, like Kevin Faulk and Torry and Randy … that’s what it’s about. Showing good leadership, and coming out here and having fun.

On taking down the old pictures:
Yeah, I think that’s a good point by him. I think a lot of people want to sit back and reflect and … it’s important. You always learn from the past. You learn from things you’ve done — things that have worked, things that haven’t worked. But you also understand that any of the things that have happened in the past are certainly not going to help this year. And that goes certainly not only for this team but every team in the league. Every team starts fresh. There’s no … as much as you’d love for them to be carryover every year, every year is a completely different new year, with new challenges. And we have plenty of them.

On his contract:
Coach doesn’t like us talking about it a whole lot, so I’ll kind of stick to that. As I said before … I’m in the position that a lot of guys are around the league and on this team. While I’m under contract, it’s my responsibility to come out and play as hard as I can. I’ve always felt that’s what I love to do anyway. I love to come out here and compete. I have a job. I think that’s important to realize too. It’s a tough time in the world, and I’m glad I get to come out here and do something I love.
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Belichick: ‘We expect [Burgess] to be here’

Friday, July 30th, 2010
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Derrick Burgess wasn't present for the first day of training camp. (AP)

FOXBORO — Patriots coach Bill Belichick addressed the fact that outside linebacker Derrick Burgess was unexpectedly absent from the first day of training camp on Thursday.

Speaking at his Friday morning press conference, Belichick sounded like he was caught slightly off guard by the fact that Burgess wasn’t in attendance at either practice on Thursday. According to reports, the 31-year-old is contemplating retirement.

“Derrick wasn’t here yesterday, and we expect him to be here,” Belichick said. “We’ll just deal with it going forward.

“I’m not sure I know all the information I need to know,” added the coach. “We’ll take it day-by-day.”

Burgess was not around, and in his place, the Patriots used a variety of players at his outside linebacker spot, including rookie Jermaine Cunningham and veteran Pierre Woods.

“You hate to not have all the players out there all the time,” Belichick said. “[But] the guys that have the opportunities to play have worked hard and are competitive and will take advantage of it.”

If Burgess does decide to retire, it wouldn’t be the first time that a New England veteran has decided to call it a career at the start of training camp. In one three-year stretch at the start of the decade, veteran offensive linemen Joe Panos, Rich Tylski and Brenden Stai all decided to retire shortly after the start of camp.