TRAINING CAMP COUNTDOWN: 29 days until Patriots training camp

We’re finally less than a month away from the start of training camp, with camp set to open on July 29th.  No times have yet to be announced, but the fact that we’re now less than 30-days away has me feeling pretty upbeat this morning.  So let’s get started.

We’ll kick off this morning with a piece from Christopher Price of WEEI.com, who takes a look at the rest of the unsigned rookies and predicts when the rest of them will come to terms on a contract.  The Patriots currently have five of their 12 draft choices under contract.

We’ve added the third installment of “What We’ve Learned”, with today’s focusing on Patriots wide receiver Taylor Price.

Cary Betagole of NESN.com has an article on former Patriot Chad Jackson battling for a spot with the Bills, but quotes a story from ESPN that paints an interesting picture of what went wrong with Jackson in New England.

The Patriots claimed a lack of motivation stunted his rehab from a torn ACL sustained in the 2006 AFC championship game. Jackson isn’t so sure they were telling the full story.”When I got hurt, I fell back,” Jackson told ESPN. “I tore my ACL. I hurt my hamstring. Then they brought Randy Moss and Wes Welker and Donte Stallworth and all those guys in. I was put on the back burner. I’m just trying to make up for lost time now.”

Paul Perillo of Patriots.com answered questions in his Tuesday mailbag, with lots of great topics that were discussed, including Tom Brady’s contract, Logan Mankins, and how head coach Bill Belichick will handle a season with  no designated offensive or defensive coordinator.

Mike Reiss also did his Tuesday mailbag yesterday, with plenty of great topics discussed including the state of New England’s running game, the supplemental draft, and a look at the defensive backfield.

ProFootballWeekly has an intereview with New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Peyton, who has a book coming out called “Home Team: Coaching the Saints and New Orleans Back to Life,” which lands in stores June 29.  The book reportedly gives readers an inside and in-depth look at Payton’s early life and rise through the coaching ranks before joining the Saints in 2006.

In the interview there’s an interesting mention of an impression video that he did of Bill Belichick prior to their meeting against the Patriots last season.

PFW: One of the highlights from the book and something that has been talked about a lot already is when you did the Bill Belichick impression video for the team before playing the Patriots last season. Have you heard from Belichick about the impression? Did he ask to hear you do it?

Payton: No, it was just a unique way of trying to be critical of our team. Every Wednesday we come in and talk about “here’s what we need to improve on.” So picture the “here’s what we need to improve on” meeting, but instead it’s going to be the opposition pointing out our flaws, starting with myself. I threw in offense, defense and the kicking game and was just trying to talk about some of our weaknesses and it was a little bit of a unique way to hear from, technically, not me.

The whole interview is actually pretty interesting, so be sure and check it out.

The Manchester Examiner has an article on quarterback Tom Brady, who Fox Sports recently ranked #3 among NFL quarterbacks heading into the 2010 season.

ProFootballWeekly has an article that discusses the Patriots pass rush, calling it a “Pressing Training-Camp Issue”.  Eric Edholm has the story, and makes a couple of good points regarding New England’s struggles in that category last season.

The Patriots had one or two sacks in eight of their final nine regular-seasons games, and none in the playoff loss to the Ravens. Ten of the Patriots’ 31 sacks came in two games against the Bills, and that almost doesn’t count in my book.

Are you a video game fan?  ESPN takes a look at the Madden ’11 ratings for the Patriots, along with their AFC East Rivals – the Buffalo Bills.

Jeff Howe of NESN.com has an interesting article on Sebastian Vollmer, who he expects is going to make a big impact on New England’s offensive line in 2010.  The only question Howe seems to have is where exactly Vollmer will end up by the time training camp is over.

OTHER NFL HEADLINES:

One developing story that’s going to be interesting is a piece that’s about to come out in ESPN the Magazine regarding quotes from Dwayne Bowe, who discusses the practice of “importing women” the week before an away game for NFL Players.

ProFootball Talk reports that in the latest issue, which hits newsstands Friday, the Chiefs receiver discusses the practice and is now reportedly trying to backpedal on his statements.

“My rookie year, we were playing in San Diego,” Bowe says.  “You hear stories about groupies hanging out in hotel lobbies, but some of my teammates had it set up so there was a girl in every room.  The older guys get on MySpace and Facebook a week before we go to a city; when a pretty one writes back, they arrange to fly her in three or four days in advance. They call it importing.” 

I know we’ve discussed the possibility of adding a retractable roof to Gillette Stadium a few times – although it’s clearly something that is unlikely to happen.  Down in Atlanta, however, it’s among one of the big topics being discussed in regards to the Georgia Dome.  The Atlanta Journal Constitution has an article where the prospect of expanding the facility along with changing the roof is being talked about in an effort to bring the Dome up to “NFL Standards”.

Patriots rookies took part in the NFL’s four day annual rookie symposium, and Len Pasquarelli of ESPN takes a look at this year’s event which in the report helps players take care of themselves both off the field socially and financially.

Said Minnesota quarterback/wide receiver Joe Webb, a sixth-round pick: “It goes from things as simple as how to rent an apartment to as [complex] as how you handle your money. There’s a lot of commonsense stuff. But there are also things that make you say to yourself, ‘Man, I never thought of that.’ It’s very thorough and, while it can be [tiring], it’s worth your attention.”

NBC Sports has an interesting article on the NFL devising other ways to cultivate their next generation of rabid fans, and they’re apparently making a 22 episode cartoon program for Nickelodeon to reach out to them.

Les Carpenter of Yahoo! Sports has an article on the NFL’s conduct policy, and feels that it’s time for the Roger Goodell to strengthen it.

Problem is: players didn’t stop misbehaving. Even more, the NFL’s policy doesn’t provide answers. While Goodell was wise to create the document and attack a looming image problem, it still stands today as a public relations ploy – two pages of words that mean different things depending on the profile of the offender.

That’s it for this morning.  Hope your day goes well, and we’ll have updates later on.