TRAINING CAMP COUNTDOWN: 20 days until Patriots training camp

We’ll kick off this morning with a piece from Christopher Price of WEEI.com who reports that Patriots runningback Sammy Morris¬†will be running the second stage of his annual football camp at Army Field in Foxboro from July 15 through the 17th.¬† Price reports that Morris, who grew up in San Antonio, said he always wished there was a football camp he could have attended as a young football player.

‚ÄúThere was never an NFL team or player in the area when I was growing up,‚ÄĚ he said on a Thursday morning conference call. ‚ÄúLooking back, I wish there was something else I could have done to improve my skills early on. There‚Äôs always room to improve and people you can learn from. I wanted to do that in areas that are special to me.‚ÄĚ

The article also takes a look at some thoughts Morris has about his post-football career, and is definitely a good read.

Price also reports that according to sources the Patriots were one of the teams in attendance¬†yesterday in Provo, Utah for the workout of BYU‚Äôs Harvey Unga.¬†¬†He reportedly¬†remains the biggest name available in this year‚Äôs supplemental draft, and considering the age of Fred Taylor and the injury history with New England’s runningbacks, it will be interesting to see if they make the move for him.¬†

A local paper out of BYU has more on the workout, including his 40-time, etc. for anyone interested.

Mike Reiss has rankings on the players on the Patriots roster, and ranks them in order from 1-82 with some interesting commentary.

Jeff Howe of NESN.com has a great¬†article this morning focused on the Patriots rookies, and feels that this year’s draft class could play a major role in the upcoming 2010 campaign.

Ricky Doyle, also of NESN, takes a look at ESPN’s preseason power rankings and tells us where the Patriots rank.

Shalise Manza-Young of the Boston Globe¬†has another edition of “10 Questions” this morning, looking at former Patriot Richard Seymour’s role in the defense and how New England has addressed his loss.

The Needham times has an article this morning on Patriots legend John Smith, who is bringing a soccer camp to Olin College.  The John Smith Soccer Camp will be held at Olin College from July 12-16 and July 19-23 for boys and girls age 6-18.

‚ÄúWe focus on individual skill development and improved tactical awareness utilizing a program which involves constant touches of the ball and diverse small group games,‚ÄĚ Smith said. ‚ÄúThis is accomplished with a coaching staff second to none.‚ÄĚ

For those of you who don’t know who he is, the former Patriots placekicker won the Rookie of the Year award in 1974 and lead the NFL in scoring in 1979 and 1980. In addition, Smith was an NFL All-Pro in 1980. He retired in 1983.

ESPN’s John Clayton takes a look at the state of the back-up quarterback position, calling it “abysmal” and the article features New England backup Brian Hoyer at the top of it.

The Weekly Challenger reports that New England Patriots DL Gerard Warren is set to take part in St. Petersburg on July 16th and 17th for the 3rd Annual Bay Area All Star Weekend.   The camp focuses in equal measure on the technical skill of the sport and the personal skill needed to succeed in life.

Patriots.com reports that the Hall at Patriots Place is set to unveil a new exhibit called “Cheers through the Years”, which will be an exhibit that tells the story of what it takes to be a Patriots Cheerleader, and looks back on the history of the squad and examines some of the cheerleaders’ unique contributions to the community.

The official site also has a great look at punter Zoltan Mesko in this morning’s “Meet the Rookies” article.

OTHER NFL HEADLINES:

USA Today has an article on Falcons quarterback and former Boston College standout Matt Ryan, who has Atlanta excited about this season.  Falcons fans are hopeful that after 11-5 and 9-7 records, that their team may be able to finally take the next step this season.

Jeff Howe also has an article on the Kansas City Chiefs, who he says that despite their positive steps forward, they’re still not ready to contend for a championship.

USAToday.com has an article on Michael Vick, with one of his biggest supporters РNBC anaylyst Tony Dungy Р feeling that a penalty could still be coming after the recent shooting incident that occurred following his birthday party. 

Speaking to the Dan Patrick radio show, Dungy said Vick, on probation for his 2007 dogfighting conviction, was wrong to put himself in a dangerous situation at the birthday party that was open to the public for an admission fee. “You can’t do anything that’s going to put a bad face on the NFL,” Dungy said, “…he probably didn’t live up to that.”

We’ll end on this note.¬†¬† The NFL is currently on a USO tour, with coaches Andy Reid, Marvin Lewis, Brad Childress and John Fox all travelling abroad and visiting our nation’s military.¬† They have day 5 of their diary available online and it’s a great read for anyone interested.

That’s it for today.¬† Be sure and post your thoughts on any of today’s headlines on our Patriots Messageboard Forum, and we’ll have updates later on.