Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Pats Linebacker Situation

One of the major concerns for many Patriots fans entering camp was a lack of depth at linebacker. Just more than a week into practice, those fears may have been realized.

With Tedy Bruschi and Chad Brown both on the shelf, reportedly with wrist injuries, the Patriots already thin corps has taken on an Ally McBeal look lately. As a result, there may be some changes in store for Bill Belichick’s defense.

Tuesday afternoon’s practice featured a 4-3 base set with veteran free agent acquisition Barry Gardner manning the middle linebacker spot. Mike Vrabel and Rosevelt Colvin manned the outside positions behind a front that included Ty Warren and Mike Wright outside and Le Kevin Smith and Vince Wilfork inside. The team also worked plenty of four-man fronts during the morning session.

Obviously the alignment doesn’t necessarily mean the end of the 3-4. Belichick spends plenty of time every year working on a variety of fronts and looks and this camp has been no different. But perhaps with such a paucity of depth at linebacker he believes he’ll need more 4-3 work – at least early in the season if Bruschi is out for any extended period.

That wasn’t the only change to the daily routine for the defense. Eugene Wilson, who has spent most his time working at corner during camp, continues to work back at safety, lining up with Artrell Hawkins along with corners Ellis Hobbs and Asante Samuel.

Who’s hot: Patrick Cobbs – The little-known running back has made the most of his limited opportunities during camp. While the likes of Corey Dillon, Laurence Maroney and Kevin Faulk getting the bulk of the attention, Cobbs has shown a nice burst through the middle and good hands coming out of the backfield. On Tuesday he played the role of Atlanta’s Warrick Dunn and he certainly did the Pro Bowler justice with several nifty cuts and runs. Cobbs seems like an ideal practice squad candidate.

Who’s not: Troy Brown – The normally reliable receiver had a case of the dropsies during the afternoon practice. On consecutive reps during a seven-on-seven drill, he dropped well-thrown passes from Tom Brady, the latter of which bounced high in the air after he failed to hold it. Roughly 30 minutes later, Brown spent some extra time catching passes from Brady on the side.

Play of the practice: Josh Miller unleashed a titanic punt during a drill midway through the practice. Faulk was lined up around the 15-yard line and had to run back into the end zone but never got a chance to catch it because the ball bounced off the crossbar.

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Monday, July 24, 2006

Pats fail to acquire Ty Law for '06-'07 Season

The New England Patriots can say goodbye to Ty Law.
Law agreed to a five-year contract with the Chiefs yesterday worth more than $30 million.
The free-agent CB had narrowed his final options down to the Patriots and Chiefs, but the Pats failed to match Kansas City’s hefty offer.
Law is scheduled to visit Kansas City today for a physical. If he passes, he will then sign his contract and be reunited with head coach Herman Edwards, who helmed the Jets last year when Law led the AFC with a career-high 10 interceptions and made his fifth Pro Bowl.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

New England Patriots - The Trading Continues....

The New England Patriots signed rookie offensive tackle Ryan O'Callaghan yesterday, however the terms and conditions of the agreement were not disclosed. New England selected O'Callaghan in the fifth round (136th overall) of the 2006 NFL Draft. 23 year old O'Callaghan, started 35 games over the past three seasons at the University of California, and appeared in 46 of 47 games during his collegiate career. The 6-foot-7-inch, 330-pound offensive lineman helped to produce the school's first 2,000-yard rusher in 2004 (J.J. Arrington) and helped pave the way for a pair of 1,000-yard rushers in 2005 (Marshawn Lynch and Justin Forsett) while earning consecutive first-team all-conference honors.

The Pats also selected Garrett Mills, 106th overall in the fourth round of the 2006 NFL draft, and signed a deal with him on July 18th. His versatility as a player has made it difficult to define his position-type. Officially listed as a tight end, Mills also played H-back, fullback, long snapped, and played on special teams. He even played defense during his senior year, recording four tackles. He was Tulsa’s go to wherever his skills were needed. With the season fast approaching, and training camps underway, the Pats are steadily forming into a strong contender for the coming season.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

A Look Back at Tedy Bruschi

Tedy Lacap Bruschi (born June 9, 1973 in San Francisco, California) is an American football player. He has been an inside linebacker for the NFL's New England Patriots since 1996.

Bruschi played high school football at Roseville High School in Roseville, California. He played college football at the University of Arizona as a defensive end, where he tied the NCAA Division I-A sack record with 52 quarterback sacks. He was taken by the Patriots in the 3rd round (25th pick) of the 1996 NFL draft.

Bruschi has a knack for intercepting passes and taking them to the end zone. In 2003, he had 3 picks, 2 of which went for touchdowns. As of 2006, in his career with New England, he has 829 tackles, 27 sacks, and 11 interceptions, 4 of which have gone for touchdowns. All of those touchdowns came on consecutive interceptions, a feat no other NFL player has yet to equal. Bruschi has become greatly popular with Patriots fans for his tenacious playing style and ability to seemingly make a key play whenever necessary for his team; 12 of his 27 sacks have come in the fourth quarter.

Bruschi had six tackles, a sack and an interception of Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb to help the Patriots cement a 24-21 win in Super Bowl XXXIX, their third title in four years. He later made his first Pro Bowl the next week. A few days later, on February 16, 2005, Bruschi was taken to a hospital with symptoms including temporary numbness, blurred vision and headaches. Bruschi suffered a mild stroke. He had experienced a broken blood vessel in his head and suffered from partial paralysis that went away soon after admittance to Massachusetts General Hospital. After several months of rehabilitation, Bruschi announced that he would sit out the 2005 NFL season.

On October 16, 2005, it was announced that Bruschi had been medically cleared to resume playing football and he rejoined the team on the practice field three days later. The Patriots officially activated him on October 29, and he played the following night against the Buffalo Bills. ESPN broadcast this game and had several features on Bruschi's return, including a calculation of hits for the first time on an ESPN NFL broadcast and many interviews during game play. Bruschi played in all but the final game against Miami and was ready to suit up for the first playoff game against Jacksonville. He was recently named the 2005 "NFL Comeback Player of the Year", an honor he shared with Carolina Panthers Wide Receiver Steve Smith.

Trading Trials and Tribulations

According to Patriots sources, as well as spokespersons for Maroney, the Patriots are still in the process of acquiring 1st Round draft pick, Laurence Maroney. Maroney cannot sign a deal for more than five years, which forces a departure from the Patriots’ previous desires to ink their first-round picks to six-year pacts. Last year’s No. 1 pick, guard Logan Mankins (who was 32nd overall), signed a five-year deal, but was just the second of the six, first-rounders of Bill Belichick’s reign to not agree to a six-year contract. Daniel Graham, eligible for unrestricted free agency at the end of the 2006 season, was the other.
The team declined to comment on Maroney last night, but did announce their signing of fourth-round tight end, Garrett Mills to a four-year deal with the Pats. With any luck, the Patriots roster will come together quickly in the coming weeks and months leading up to regulation play this Fall.

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