Archive for August 1st, 2010

Source: Guyton injury not considered serious

Sunday, August 1st, 2010

FOXBORO ‘€” According to a league source, the knee injury suffered by Patriots inside linebacker Gary Guyton suffered in camp Sunday afternoon is not serious. ‘€œA tweaked knee with perhaps a couple of days rest,’€ is how the source described Guyton’s situation after the Georgia Tech product went down during a practice session Sunday afternoon.

Guyton appeared to slip on the grass during an 11-on-11 drill, and stayed on the ground for a few moments before walking to the sidelines where he consulted with trainers and coaches. Guyton then walked around the second practice field for a bit but did not participate in any drills. He eventually left the practice field under his own power and without a limp.

The 24-year-old Guyton has spent the last two seasons for the Patriots. Last year, he started all 16 games at inside linebacker and finished the season with 91 tackles and 1½ sacks. Despite the fact he is one of the incumbent inside linebackers, he faces a challenge for playing time this year, as rookie Brandon Spikes and Tyrone McKenzie, who missed all of last season with a knee injury, have looked impressive through the early stages of training camp.

Report: Pats work out Ogunleye

Sunday, August 1st, 2010

The Patriots worked out defensive end Adewale Ogunleye this afternoon, according to multiple media outlets. Ogunleye, 32, is a nine-year veteran who has played for Chicago and Miami and has 67 career quarterback sacks, including 15 with the Dolphins back in 2003. A 6-foot-4, 260-pounder undrafted free agent out of Indiana, Ogunleye could be a candidate to replace linebacker/defensive end Derrick Burgess if Burgess does decide to retire, as has been reported.

Photos: Patriots Training Camp slideshow from Sunday

Sunday, August 1st, 2010

FOXBORO ‘€” The Patriots wrapped up another day of training camp on Sunday and WEEI.com’s John Vu was there to snap a couple of shots. Click on the image below to launch a slideshow.

Training camp report from Sunday afternoon session

Sunday, August 1st, 2010

FOXBORO — The Patriots have wrapped up another day of training camp with the conclusion of Sunday’s second practice session. Wes Welker may have gotten the biggest reception when he reeled in his first pass of the day, and he kept those on hand happy by pumping up the crowd. Here are a few notes:

– The following players were missing from practice: Defensive lineman Ty Warren, offensive linemen Nick Kaczur and Logan Mankins, receiver Matthew Slater, and linebackers Thomas Williams and Derrick Burgess. Mankins continues his holdout while Burgess is rumored to be retiring.

– The following were in shorts and t-shirts: Defensive linemen Ron Brace and Mike Wright, offensive lineman Stephen Neal, defensive backs Terrence Johnson, Bret Lockett and Jonathan Wilhite, and running back Thomas Clayton.

– There was one injury related storyline that should get some attention in the coming days, as linebacker Gary Guyton slipped up and appeared to hurt his knee in an 11-on-11 drill. He stayed on the ground for a few moments before walking to the other practice field where he consulted with trainers and coaches. Guyton then puttered around the field for a bit but did not participate in any drills. He eventually left the practice field under his own power and without a limp. The injury did not appear to be serious but it is certainly worth keeping an eye on. Rookie Brandon Spikes saw a few more reps as a result.

– Speaking of Spikes, there were plenty of concerns about the Florida product’s speed throughout the entire draft process. Given his leadership and all-around skill-set it could easily be argued that speed was the reason he went in the second round, though the thinking with his selection was that he plays faster than he may run a 40-yard dash. Such logic wasn’t exactly confirmed in one-on-one passing drills. Spikes actually had to hold tight end Alge Crumpler (see below) just to prevent from getting beaten badly. Not exactly a positive sign, but far from a reason to not hold high hopes for the youngster.

– The most entertaining part of the session may have been a passing drill done by Tom Brady and Brian Hoyer that had a bit of a schoolyard feel to it. The two quarterbacks took turn trying to throw a pass into an empty barrel from 40 yards out. Rarely were there any big misses, which helped to quickly get the attention from the crowd even though it was taking place on the far practice field. Brady hit the barrel twice, but Hoyer may have come to sinking one on his only pass that made contact.

– Accuracy is the name of the game for seventh-round pick Zac Robinson, and it’s quite difficult to gauge how long some of the struggles he’s had early on will last. He made plenty of nice passes but often led receivers out of bounds and most of the days perceived “acrobatic” catches were made on balls thrown by Robinson. Time will tell if he can catch on as the team’s third quarterback behind Brady and Hoyer.

– Immobility is the name of the game with Crumpler, and it sure is a good thing rookies Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez can move. Despite his speed Crumpler looked decent in one-on-one passing drills, beating the aforementioned Spikes and also reeling in some passes. Gronkowski and Hernandez took turns impressing and having rookie moments in the day, but on the whole it appears the team has a nice balance of youth, speed, hands, and blocking at the tight end position.

McCourty hitting the books, learning on the fly

Sunday, August 1st, 2010

FOXBORO — There are a number of different paths one can take to the NFL. Whether it be as an undrafted free agent-turned practice squad guy-turned special teamer or as a high profile first-round pick, there are plenty of ways to end up playing with the big boys.

Once training camp begins however, there is something to be said for all previous accolades, accomplishments, or struggles going out the window. Defensive back Devin McCourty seems to be getting a sense of that in his first training camp. A fast riser in the pre-draft process, the Rutgers product was chosen by the Patriots with the 27th overall pick, adding him to a stable of cornerbacks that included veteran Leigh Bodden and second-year man (and fellow Big East corner) Darius Butler.

Now that McCourty is under contract and a few days into training camp, things like draft position and signing bonuses become more and more irrelevant with each passing day, while learning a new playbook and adjusting to NFL receivers takes the forefront.

“Probably by the first training camp [at Rutgers], I kind of understood that whole playbook, so that was kind of it,” McCourty said of the adjustments made in understanding Bill Belichick’s scheme. “I didn’t have to study as much, just learning more about personnel and everything, but now it’s trying to learn personnel and learning a bigger playbook.”

Though McCourty appears to have a very high ceiling and was likely the best tackling corner in a draft that saw seven defensive backs go in the first round, his selection wasn’t viewed as the team addressing a huge need. With Bodden and Butler in tow, McCourty doesn’t need to necessarily be one of the top two guys on the depth chart. Having a veteran like Bodden and a someone who is just a year removed from the rookie process should be extremely beneficial for the youngster, who has also sought the advice of the other corners.

“Leigh, Darius, Jon [Wilhite], [Terrence] Wheatley , and Kyle [Arrington], all those guys have been here,” McCourty said. “Anything I can learn from each one of them I try to use it.

“Each defense and each drill we kind of do is like a new technique, so there’s always a little something that they can just tell you from experience.”

The above-mentioned personnel, given McCourty’s position, may prove to be just as difficult as learning a new playbook for the defensive back. His assignments in training camp have already included covering Randy Moss, who didn’t waste much time in beating the rookie in the end zone for a touchdown. Rather than getting frustrated with being just another name on the list of corners Moss has beaten, McCourty looks at his competition in practice as a blessing in the name of his development.

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Complete Wes Welker Q&A from Sunday

Sunday, August 1st, 2010

Thanks to the Patriots’€™ PR staff, here’€™s the complete Q&A between the media and wide receiver Wes Welker today:

Q: So how does it feel to be back out there on the field?
WW: It feels good. It doesn’€™t feel like I ever left it, just being out there and being able to work and do some things when nobody’€™s really looking. It feels good out there. It feels good to get out there with the teammates and do some things.

Q: Do you feel 100 percent?
WW: No. We’€™re not there yet, but every day we get a little bit closer. Slowly but surely we are making progress.

Q: Did you ever think in your wildest dreams that you’€™d be back out there this early after the injury occurred?
WW: I don’€™t know. I just wanted to take it each day, a day at a time and sit there and work at it and try and get better each day.
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Training camp report from Sunday morning session

Sunday, August 1st, 2010

FOXBORO — The first of two Patriots’ practices for Sunday is in the books. There was plenty for fans, who once again braved the heat and packed the bleachers and grass areas alike, to be happy about with the return of Wes Welker from the physically unable to perform list and he didn’t seem to disappoint. In addition to Welker’s return, there were plenty of noteworthy facets to the session. Here are a few:

– The Derrick Burgess watch continues as he was absent from practice and reports that the pass-rusher will retire are practically ubiquitous. Other players not in attendance were guard Logan Mankins, whose contract dispute still has yet to reach a resolution, receiver Matthew Slater, offensive lineman Nick Kaczur, and defensive end Ty Warren.

Defensive linemen Ron Brace and Mike Wright, defensive backs Bret Lockett and  Terrence Johnson, and running back Thomas Clayton were present but were in sweats.

– Hard not to like the fire that Welker showed as he donned the pads once again. No. 83 didn’t participate in any drills against defenses, but overall looked very clean running and catching the ball. He made a number of nice catches along the sideline on balls thrown by Brady, with the one slipup — a dropped ball over the middle — yielding a frustrated shout accompanied by him kicking the ball toward the sidelines. It doesn’t appear Welker is cutting himself any slack in his return from his knee injury.

– The punt return duties were split up by second year receivers Julian Edelman and Brandon Tate as well as Kevin Faulk. All three looked clean in fielding punts from rookie punter Zoltan Mesko.

– A few notes on passing situations. Fred Taylor, who struggled mightily catching the ball in organized team activities earlier in the summer, made a very nice catch away from his body on a throw from Zac Robinson. It’s far too early to form opinions on anyone, but some of Robinson’s tosses needed more adjustments on the receivers than one would like..

– With the Mankins saga still taking place and Kaczur not on the field, the left guard position was occupied primarily by Ryan Wendell and Rich Ohrnberger. Neither stood out as being particularly good or bad, though Wendell struggled against Vince Wilfork on a play that forced Tom Brady to hurry a throw down the sidelines to Tate, a pass that was dropped despite an acrobatic attempt by the second year receiver.

– Brady sailed one well over the head of Moss in a passing drill. Though the ball was headed for the crowd, a security guard picked it up and rolled it back toward the practice field. Moss, much to the delight of those on hand, recovered the ball and jogged it over past the sidelines and tossed it to a young fan. He then gestured to the fan to toss the ball back, making for an abbreviated game of catch the fan likely did not head to Foxboro expecting.

Matt Light and rookie tight end Rob Gronkowski fell victim to laps. The two were sent running when they jumped a little early on a goal-line play.

–  A second round pick in April’s draft, Gronkowski made up for his earlier mistake by standing up a previous second-rounder. After reeling in a pass from Brady, Gronkowski plowed through safety Patrick Chung on the goal line, knocking the safety to the ground and getting into the endzone.

Sunday’s workouts will conclude with a session that runs from 3:45-5:30. Stay tuned for a complete report from the afternoon session.