TRAINING CAMP COUNTDOWN: 32 days until Patriots training camp

We’ll kick off this morning headlines with a piece from NESN’s Jeff Howe, who feels that the Patriots success this season will come down to whether or not they can take care of their AFC East nemesis – the New York Jets.  Howe looks at many of the new players the Jets have added, along with how the Patriots match up against them.

So, while the Jets have added wide receiver Santonio Holmes to mix up with Braylon Edwards, the Patriots might not have to respect New York’s running game as much as they did last year. That, ultimately, could help the Pats focus their attention on continuing to confuse Sanchez until the quarterback proves he can be a weapon, as opposed to a game manager.

The Worcester Telegram has an article this morning on Ty Warren, who as we know spent the offseason getting his degree and really values education just as much as he values football.

“Don’t get me wrong, football is the most important thing (to me) next to God and my family. But education is right there with it. If football is No. 1, education is No. 1A.”

New England’s Buddy Farnham and Eric Alexander are working with kids this weekend, and we’ll be taking the field for the second time today at a football clinic in Waterville.  According to WABI (channel 5 in Maine) the two are helping run a youth football camp that is in it’s 14th year and is run by former Patriots coach Ray Hamilton.

The Burlington Times has a piece on Torry Holt, who spoke to reporters there recently during a break in the Holt Foundation’s 7-on-7 high school tournament at Eastern Guilford.  Holt’s looking forward to the Patriots upcoming training camp, and is ready to battle it out for a spot on this football team.

“It’s up to me to go up and do my thing,” he said. “It’s good to be back in an organization that’s serious about football and serious about winning. That’s what I’m used to and that’s what I expect. This is a team that is going to challenge you.”

Albert Breer of the Boston Globe reported this morning that former linebacker Tedy Bruschi spent some time in Washington, D.C. recently and On Tuesday was added to the 16-person President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition. He reportedly spent two days helping run an event for area high schoolers and middle schoolers geared to educate them on proper health.

“I don’t know how they found me and picked me, and I was kind of shocked they did, but I’m honored to volunteer my time,’’ Bruschi said. “The First Lady is committed to fighting childhood obesity, and getting kids out to exercise.

“That’s what I’ve been doing my whole life. I’ve got a lot of experience with that. So when she’s talking about it, I already know what she wants.’’

After his final television appearance before his summer vacation head coach Bill Belichick appeared on Patriots All access, and made some interesting comments regarding the competition he expects on defense for certain positions.  Ian Rapoport of the Boston Herald takes a look at who’s jobs may be in jeapordy, and offers his thoughts on the subject.

As mentioned in last Monday’s headlines, former Patriots wide receiver David Givens recently opened the Euphoria Lifestyle Café, which is a “smoothie bar” in Beverly Massachusetts.  Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com caught up with Givens, and writes a much more in depth and absolutely terrific article on the former Patriot’s new business venture.

Jeff Howe of NESN.com takes a look at the Patriots kicking game and feels that thanks to Stephen Gostkowski, that’s the one area New England won’t have to worry about when camp opens next month.

I mentioned this last night in the forum and started a thread on the subject, but also thought there may be some out there who hadn’t read this piece from Jason Cole from a couple of days ago.  Cole discusses several restricted free agents including Logan Mankins, with these players currently facing a tough decision with their respective teams.

“The offseason is about money,” former Baltimore Ravens head coach and current NFL analyst Brian Billick said. “Always has been, always will be.”  Billick generally believed that once training camp came around, the tiffs over money tended to fade. Either players realized they weren’t going to get raises or extensions, or they felt the tug of returning to the team and their teammates (don’t underestimate that, as sappy as it sounds).

Mark Farinella of the Attleboro Sun Times has a mention in Sunday’s “Ponderous Thoughts” on Mankins, and what he feels could be the only way for him to turn things around in his contract negotiations if he wants to stay in New England.

I still think there’s time to smooth ruffled feathers and set up the press conference where Logan Mankins says, “I was just being emotional because of all the pressures of negotiations, but I really love playing for the Patriots and I respect and admire the Kraft family and all they do for the sport.” But it’s getting short. – Mark Farinella

Finally, someone sent this link to me and I couldn’t help but include it in today’s edition of the headlines – especially after noticing how many clicks the story about their little man being potty trained got in yesterday’s edition.   I’m guessing this one will get more. 

I don’t need to summarize this one for you – it’s pretty self explanatory:

Gisele Bundchen Looks Stunning in First Post Baby Photos – DailyMail (UK)

There’s quite a few photos included in this article – as it appears that Mrs. Brady has officially returned to work.

OTHER NFL NEWS:

The Tampa Bay Online has an article this morning about Roger Goodell’s plan to extend the season to 18 games, and says that fans need to get used to the idea, because it’s just a matter of time before it happens.

Speaking of Goodell, in case you missed it, his wife Jane Skinner and 12-year anchor for Fox News, announced on Thursdsay that she was leaving the network.  It appears her plans now are to focus on her family, and her new life with her new husband.

“This is my last day on the air at Fox,” Skinner said Thursday. “It’s been a thrill to have been a part of the incredible success of this place over the past 12 years that I’ve been here,” Skinner told viewers. “My life in the 12 years I have been here has changed significantly in wonderful ways and they’ve created a lot of new responsibilities. I added a husband [Goodell] who has in the last couple of years become the NFL commissioner, and has a job even busier than mine. I have twin daughters, so to do justice to this new life I’ve decided to take a break from the business.”

The Palm Beach Post reports that Miami Dolphins’ wide receiver Brandon Marshall apprently believes this is going to be his best season ever.  Coming off his fifth straight 100 catch season, his confidence appears to be sky high, and he’ll definitely be someone fans in New England will have their eye on when these two teams face off this season.

“I’m not making a prediction,” Marshall said, which of course meant he was about to make one. “But this is going to be a great year for us, and for me probably the best year I’ve had.”

The Boston Herald has a piece this morning in their NFL Notes that leads off with a story about former Patriots receiver Deion Branch, who is coming off another knee surgery and hopes to help Pete Carroll’s new team have a successful first season.

More bad news for the Lions out in Detroit.  A brawl on thier final day of minicamp ended things early, and now it appears that those involved in the altercation are going to be hit where it hurts – thier wallets.  The Detroit News reported that head coach Jim Schwartz plans on fining each and every one of the guys who were a part of it.

“That is not acceptable what happened,” he said. “We weren’t able to finish a period. It’s going to get hot and you’re going to get to the end of practice and you are going to have things that come up, but when you can’t finish practice and when you have guys entering fights that aren’t involved in it, it’s unacceptable and they are going to get taxed pretty heavy.”

We’ll end on this note, because I’m not a fan of Dan Snyder and reading this just left me shaking my head.  We’ve all seen the success that both the Red Sox and New England Patriots have had with their new lottery ticket games that they added in recent years.  After all, scratch tickets here in New England seem to do pretty well in general, and for the most part tend to be successful.

Apparently not in Washington.

The Redskins tried this same experiment and much like everything Daniel Snyder has tried since taking over in Washington it’s reportedly also failed.  The comments from the team’s own local paper I thought were quite telling.

The Redskins, of course, have had the least stable operation in the NFL, on and off the field, since Snyder came here in 1999. So it makes metaphorical sense that the team’s initial lottery offering is getting blown up after its one disastrous season.

So there you have it.

That’s it for this morning.  Hope all of you enjoy your Sunday and we’ll see you tomorrow.