TRAINING CAMP COUNTDOWN: 27 days until Patriots training camp

Things are fairly quiet this morning heading into this holiday weekend, but here are today’s New England Patriots Headlines.

We’ll kick off this morning with an article from Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com, who takes a look at how the Patriots cornerbacks compare with the rest of the National Football League.¬† Reiss points out that the success of this group this season rests squarly on the shoulders of how Darius Butler and Devin McCourty develop.

Patriots defensive back Leigh Bodden and Chad Ochocinco have been going back and forth on Twitter, and Albert Breer of the Boston Globe takes a look at the online rivalry that’s already started before these two teams face off for their season opener on September 12th in Foxboro.¬† The entry has a great photo of¬†Ochocinco stiff-arming Bodden back when he was with Cleveland.¬† The Boston Herald also has a follow up entry on the topic with more banter between them.¬† Needless to say it should make for an interesting game when these line up against eachother.

Reiss held his weekly chat yesterday, and touched on a variety of topics including what positions he feels will be most improved, along with his take on some of the guys who may be on the bubble heading into this season.¬† It’s a great read, and definitely worth taking the time to check out.

Reiss also had a piece on defensive line coach Pepper Johnson, who told Sirius radio that he feels the team has 17 starters on defense.¬† Ian Rapoport of the Herald had a mention on Johnson yesterday, who also said he’s been getting phone calls with interest from other teams.

There’s talk of Notre Dame potentially being moved to the Big Ten, but according to the Detroit Free Press most alumni are absolutely against it.¬† New England Patriot Mark LeVoir is one of those players who doesn’t want to see it happen.

Eden Prairie‚Äôs Mark LeVoir, an offensive tackle with the New England Patriots, said it would be a ‚Äútravesty‚ÄĚ if Notre Dame joined a conference.

‚ÄúThey have to stay independent,‚ÄĚ he said. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs just part of the history. We don‚Äôt need a conference. It‚Äôs kind of not our way.‚ÄĚ

Kathryn Tappen of NESN has a great video featuring head coach Bill Belichick, who is among many that have been inspired by the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation.  The organization sets up college or high school sports teams with children diagnosed with pediatric brain tumors.

The foundation has reportedly¬†had more than 230 children “adopted” by teams,¬†and has¬†touched the lives of countless individuals – including the Patriots head coach.

“There’s nothing better than being a part of a team, and these are relationships where the kids give as much to the team as the team does to them,” Belichick said at the first annual Boston gala for Friends of Jaclyn, where he was the honorary chair. “To enable a child to be part of a team and for the [players] on the team to experience the strength of what they’re going through, I think it’s a great idea, a great concept.”

OTHER NFL HEADLINES:

Ian Rapoport of the Boston Herald¬†is apparently also writing for ESPN.com, offering up a great look at how technology is helping change the world of college football recruitment.¬† It’s an interesting piece, and shows¬†several interesting methods that¬†universities are using to¬†try and bring in new¬†talent.¬†

We’ve been hearing all along that Tom Brady may not sign a new deal until Peyton Manning does, and that Manning may not sign a new deal until Brady does.¬† Apparently now Donovan McNabb is in the mix, after ProFootballTalk.com reported this morning that he’s¬†not likely to sign one until¬†those two get a new contract.¬† The website says that once those two top-tier guys get a new deal, it will likely trickle down and effect 2nd tier guys, etc.

¬†CBSSportsline.com has a piece on Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll, who in his quest to transform that team into a championship contender is facing all kinds of challenges.¬† What’s interesting about this article is he talks a little bit about why he feels he’ll be more successful this time around in the NFL compared to when his last coaching job in New England didn’t work out.

“I didn’t know who the heck I was as a football coach,” Carroll said the day he was introduced. “Everybody has a philosophy, you just might not know how to describe what it is … What transformed for me, between New England and SC, was really I had an epiphany of what was most important to me as a football coach.

Former NFL quarterback Chris Simms was arrested recently for being under the influence of marijuana.¬† According to the New York Post the story becomes more interesting as Simms was apparently smoking weed with his pregnant wife in the car – which may be the more unfortunate part of this story.¬† Simms’ lawyer is trying now to change the story, but the spin doesn’t hold up against what public reports have shown.

“My client never admitted to smoking marijuana that night. He said he was smoking cigarettes that night,” insisted his lawyer, Nathan Semmel, who claims two other passengers were in the car and are “responsible for the marijuana odor.”

According to police reports, Simms and his wife were the only two in the car – so the other two passengers would be the wife and the fetus – go figure.

We’ll end on a sad note.¬† Former San Diego head coach Don Coryell died at the age of 85 yesterday.¬† He spent 14 seasons as an NFL head coach, five with St. Louis and nine with San Diego. His famed ‘Air Coryell’ offense led the league in passing yardage every season from 1978 through 1983.¬† The LA Times has his obituary this morning, with a¬† look back at his legendary coaching career.

That’s it for this morning.¬† Hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday weekend, and we’ll have updates later on.