TRAINING CAMP COUNTDOWN: 15 days until Patriots training camp

We’ll kick off this morning with an article from Christopher Price of WEEI.com on Patriots owner Robert Kraft and his relationship with Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, who passed away yesterday morning.  According to Kraft Steinbrenner sent him a letter back in 2002 after the Patriots won their first Super Bowl.

“It was the nicest letter, praising us for the turnaround and making the right personnel decisions, even when they weren’t the most popular decisions at the time,” Kraft said. “We both want to win. We do things different, stylistically, but the bottom line is we want winners running the show.”

Michael Lombardi has a piece on NFL.com where he takes a look at the AFC, and gives a brief summary of each team heading into this season.  One of the highlights of this article is where he looks at the Patriots, and talks about the mention by several media outlets who are claiming New England’s “window of opportunity is closing”.

I laugh when people say the Patriots’ window is closing fast as Tom Brady gets older. Are you kidding me? The Patriots are a team in transition, but their window is not closing. In fact, it is getting wider as they keep surrounding Brady with young talent.

ESPN’s John Clayton has an article on quarterback Tom Brady, and how he will handle his contract situation heading into this season.  Clayton wonders whether or not he’ll make a statement by holding out when camp opens next week in Foxboro.

“Brady has a decision. Does he simply report and hope something gets done or does he try to make a statement with a holdout? A Brady holdout could be the biggest story of the NFL this summer.”

Andy Hart of Patriots.com answers questions in this edition of ASK PFW, including one regarding his thoughts on the linebacker position, which obviously has quite a few questions heading into training camp.

“The group has the youthful potential to be better than it was a year ago and to continue to evolve throughout the season and coming seasons. But the reality is, there are a lot of ifs in the group.”

Jeff Howe has a good article on Bill Belichick, and whether or not the Patriots head coach is spreading himself too thin by taking over so much of the coaching responsibilities by opting to go without offensive and defensive coordinators.

RotoTimes.com has a 2010 preview of the Patriots, along with Fantasy Football projections for New England heading into this season.

OTHER NFL HEADLINES:

The Buffalo Bills official website has an article looking at their offense, and wonders if they’ll be able to average more than 21 points per game this season.

The Denver Post has a mailbag that’s somewhat interesting, discussing Josh McDaniels and how long he has to win in Denver before the team would consider making a change.

The NFL confirmed on San Diego Chargers receiver Vincent Jackson’s three game suspension on Monday for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.  According to USA Today Jackson is eligible to participate in training camp and the preseason, but his availability is reportedly complicated by a lingering contract dispute.  Jackson’s name has been thrown around by fans recently in trade discussions as a potential pickup by the Patriots in exchange for disgruntled offensive lineman Logan Mankins.  Most feel that deal won’t happen, and I’d have to say I don’t see it getting done either.

We’ll end with an article from ESPN’s Len Pasquarelli who has an article on BYU runningback Harvey Unga, whom the Patriots have reportedly expressed interest in.  He points out that only 38 players have been selected in the NFL’s supplemental draft since 1977, but it appears that Unga will likely be one of them this year.

“I feel like I can help a team in a number of ways, and the indications are that I will be [chosen],” Unga said after his audition for about 20 clubs last week.

That’s it for this morning.  Hope everyone has a good day, and be sure to come talk football over at our message board and see what other fans are discussing as we continue counting down to training camp next week.