Wednesday, August 4, 2010

2010 Camp: A Week in the Books

A week into camp, and what do we know so far?

1.  Belichick's not here to talk about the past.  And unlike when Mark McGuire said it, it's a good thing.  The Patriots have removed past championship artwork from the walls inside Gillette Stadium, and they are challenging the current players to make their own history and to become leaders and reach for their own glory.

It's probably about time this happened; you can't see a bright future by looking at your past accomplishments.  And 42 of the 81 players on the roster have 2 years or less experience in the NFL.  So it's time to make their own history, not be impressed by the run from 2001 - 2007, and Belichick is challenging them to do just that.

2.  That Wes Welker guy is one quick healer.  He underwent major knee reconstruction (and I do mean major) in early February, and not only is he in camp but he's already been cleared for practice.  No contact drills for Wes so far, but that's probably precautionary.  According to all reports, he's been sprinting and cutting without incident.

I don't credit it all to his being a fast healer; he is known for his work ethic and attention to every detail.  Kudos to Wes for beating the predictions and perhaps being ready for opening day.  And as you might guess, it's nice for the team (and especially Tom Brady) to bring back the NFL's most productive receiver... two years running.

3.  The 2010 schedule might be getting a bit easier.  Brett Favre reportedly told teammates and the Vikings that he won't play this season.  If true, that would leave Minnesota with a much worse QB at the helm, and thus the Patriots Halloween tilt against them would be a much easier game.  And, it just so happens, a much needed breather.

The Patriots play the Vikings in the middle of a brutal part of their schedule: six games that include four teams that made the 2009 playoffs, perennial powerhouse Pittsburgh, and a rematch against Eric Mangini in Cleveland.  But if the Vikings feature Sage Rosenfels, Tavaris Jackson, or rookie Joe Webb at quarterback, that becomes a much more winnable game and probably a bit of a break in the middle of that slate of tough games.

Favre's retirement isn't official yet; but if he rides off into the sunset, I might just tip my cap as a thank you for the break in week 8.

4.  Like it or not the Patriots are prepared to go it without Logan Mankins.  Nick Kazcur has missed every practice so far, and if Mankins stays away for the year and Kazcur can't go, their starting lineup would look like this:

Sebastian Vollmer, left tackle
Matt Light, right tackle
Dan Koppen, center
Stephen Neal, right guard
???, left guard.

However, the Patriots brought in three offensive linemen for workouts (link), and of course, they drafted two this year, too.  I still think Mankins will miss as much camp as he can and then sign the big contract the Patriots already offered.  But if he stays stubborn, the Patriots look like they are prepared to go into the season without him.

In any event, I'll keep you posted as things progress.

Keep the faith,

- Scott

PS.  0-0!

1 comment:

  1. This team needs Welker back and close to full strength.

    It doesn't look like Favre is retiring quite yet. I think he sent those text messages just to get his facetime in with ESPN.