Thursday Patriots Headlines - June 24th

Ian Logue
June 24, 2010 at 09:18am ET

Patriots LB Dont'a Hightower returning to practice field an encouraging sign
Why was Patriots LB Kyle Van Noy doing pushups at a bowling alley?
Patriots owner Robert Kraft owns no concerns that Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski are missing OTAs
New NFL policy lets players who don’t want to stand for anthem stay in locker room
Former Patriots rip NFL’s new anthem policy

TRAINING CAMP COUNTDOWN: 35 days until Patriots training camp

Another limited list this morning - but here are today's headlines.

We'll kick things off with a piece that came through late yesterday from Patriots Football Weekly's Andy Hart, who points out that if history is any indication, Tom Brady and the Patriots should be heading to the Super Bowl in 2010.  Hart writes that Tom Brady "has never gone more than two seasons in the NFL without a trip to the Super Bowl".
"Tom Brady has never gone more than two seasons in the NFL without a trip to the Super Bowl," writes Hart. "He went to the big game and won it in 2001, 2003 and 2004. He went again (sorry to bring this up) and lost to the Giants in 2007."

So book your tickets to Dallas now - because Andy's already planning on meeting you there.

For any fans who will be in the Atlanta area on August 17th, 18th, or 19th, Ian Rapoport has the schedule of events when the team is in town for thier practice sessions with the Falcons during the week of their preseason match-up with Atlanta. has an interesting take on Sports Analytics, noting that Bill Belichick and the Patriots are one of the best teams at utilizing and breaking down statistics.

We all remember Tom Brady taking a hard stance against the season being extended to 18 games, and CBS Sportsline has reactions from other players regarding that topic.  Not one player thinks it's a good idea, and it's going to be interesting to see if Roger Goodell ends up getting his way in eliminating two preseason games, and adding them to the regular season schedule.

As a follow up to yesterday's headlines, The Daily Tell has more on the switch at Patriot Place to include solar energy and reduce the overall energy consumption.  According to the article Gillette Stadium uses more than 1,500 kilowatts of electricity, and the new solar panel arrangement will generate approximately 525 kilowatts of power - a savings of more than 33%.  That's obviously pretty signifcant at a facility that large.

I happened to dig into John Clayton's mailbag on and found a Pats-related question that he addressed regarding the state of New England's running game, and whether Clayton believes they can get by with who they currently have for another season.
The Patriots have become more of a passing team in the past couple of years, so they have only modest expectations for their running attack. They have been counting on Maroney's young legs to carry them, but they haven't. He's never had a 1,000-yard season and he's never started more than six games in a season. Bill Belichick doesn't mind mixing and matching his backs for different opponents. Part of that might be because they are in a division filled with 3-4 teams. The trend last year was to try to throw more against the 3-4 schemes to try to get the nose tackle off the field or to get the defense into nickel packages. For those purposes, the Patriots can get by with the backs they have unless they all get old at once.

A fan also asked Clayton if he thought the Chicago Bears would make a trade for Logan Mankins. 
"Can't see that happening," said Clayton.  "The price would be too high. The Bears can't keep trading away first- and second-round picks, and it would clearly cost any team wanting to get Mankins a first- or a second-rounder. Expect them to pass on the chance."

OTHER NFL NEWS: reported on Wednesday that Former Giants runningback Tiki Barber is out at NBC, after the network has reportedly decided not to renew his contract.  This likely comes on the heels of a report in the New York Post earlier this year when it was learned that  Barber split from his wife when she was eight months pregnant with twins.    According to the report Barber left his wife for a former NBC intern, which I'm guessing probably didn't help him since NBC couldn't have been too happy about that.

Speaking of the Giants, it's amazing - David Tyree retires from the NFL, and now Tom Coughlin faces a season where he could be on the hotseat.  According to GM Jerry Reese and Coughlin could be out the door if they endure another bad season in New York.  Needless to say it's definitely a good example of "what have you done for me lately?".  Not exactly a storybook ending for two guys who were a big part of the one that happened during an evening in Arizona that we don't talk about in New England.

We all watched the debacle that took place in Miami when head coach Bill Belichick's good friend Nick Saban left the Dolphins high and dry to head back into the world of college football.  Yahoo! Sports has an article wondering if Saban has plans to return into the NFL after making an apology last week about how he left Miami.

Maybe Belichick should look into taking the team bowling each year after OTA's.  That's what Lovie Smith does in Chicago, and he's apparently pretty excited about this season and feels they've got a good football team.
"We have the same goal we have every year, and that's win the Super Bowl, win the world championship. It's early on, and you need to get in pads, but I just like the look of this team. I think you'll get that from most of our veterans. We know what a good football team looks like, and this is a good football team."

The bad news is the article also points out that he's said this for the past three seasons.  Hopefully for Bears fans, he's finally right.

That's it for this morning.  Check back throughout the day for updates.