By: Ian Logue
We’re one week away from the season opener down in Miami, and the team got back to work this afternoon as they begin preparations for their first regular season game.
Cornerback Leigh Bodden was back at practice on Monday. (FILE:Icon/SMI)
According to published reports the team saw some players back at practice, including cornerback Leigh Bodden, who hadn’t practiced since the Tampa Bay game. Also reportedly back in action were offensive lineman Ryan Wendell and Dan Connolly.
Missing from Monday’s session were OL Sebastian Vollmer, WR Taylor Price, LB Jeff Tarpanian, CB Kyle Arrington, LB Mark Anderson, DE Jermaine Cunningham, and runningbacks Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley.
For those interested in what’s going on down in Florida, Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald reports that free safety Chris Clemons was not in practice today, with Reshad Jones working as the team’s first team free safety.
Also reportedly missing from practice were reserve center Joe Berger, inside linebacker A.J. Edds and inside linebacker Marvin Mitchell.
Getting back to the Patriots, some interesting notes as it relates to some uniform changes, with newly acquired Brian Waters wearing #54, while Kyle Arrington has apparently switched to #24, and Sergio Brown grabbing #31 – previously worn by the recently departed Brandon Meriweather. Brown previously wore #31 at Notre Dame during his playing days as a member of the Figthing Irish. As for Arrington, he wore #9 at Hofstra – so it’s hard to say why he switched jerseys.
A number of topics were discussed this afternoon, including the recent decision to cut Meriweather. Head coach Bill Belichick told the media this afternoon that they made the decision based on who they felt would be the best fit for this year and that’s why he was let go.
“You have to pick them based on what you think is going to happen this year, and that’s relative to the competition, to the make of your team, and player’s performance,” said Belichick. “All of those are obviously a part of it. Brandon played a lot of good football for us. We kept the players this year that we felt would be the best make up for the 2011 team. It’s not the 2009 team; it’s the 2011 team, so those are the players that we’ve selected.”
Meanwhile out in Chicago, Meriweather spoke to reporters and according to Michael Wright of ESPNChicago.com, the former Patriots safety said he wasn’t surprised he was let go. “This is a business, and nothing surprises me anymore,” Meriweather told Wright. He also said little on his situation surrounding his departure, choosing to keep it private. “To be honest, that’s between me & coach,” said Meriweather. “I have a lot of respect for that organization. I have a lot of respect for Bill, and rest of staff there. That’s behind me.”
Some other interesting tidbits from this afternoon:
Gronk Fired Up – Rob Gronkowski told Jeff Howe of NESN.com he’s excited for the season. “I’m definitely fired up,” tight end Gronkowski said. “It’s about to be the first game. We’re starting up on Monday Night Football, so I’m definitely fired up.”
Big Vince Wondering What’s In Store For This Season – Vince Wilfork told Ian Rapoport of the Boston Herald this afternoon that he’s excited to see where the team ends up at the end of the season. “I’m excited,” said Wilfork. “Who knows where it will take us? It’s one of those things where you can only tell when you get out and actually go 60 minutes and play a full game against top opponents, which is the Miami Dolphins,” Wilfork said, referring to the Patriots Week One opponent. ”So, wherever it takes us, it’ll take us. If we have to make adjustments, we will. But I’m looking forward to a great year, a successful year, hopefully. A good healthy year for this ballclub. And you go from there.”
Belichick Not Surprised His Scraps Were Scooped Up – Belichick didn’t seem surprised when asked about the fact so many claims were placed on his players during the waiver wire process. “I think we’ve had a competitive camp. We have whatever it is, what 11 guys on other teams now,” said Belichick. “We had a competitive camp. We had a lot of guys battling it out in a lot of different positions. I can’t really speak to what other teams did, but the fact that they are with other teams probably says something about what the level of competition was at different positions on our team.”
Belichick said any help former Patriots tight end Will Yeatman (Now With the Dolphins) gives Miami in this week’s game is “Marginal” – “Whatever information anybody gets on that I think is very marginal, very marginal,” said Belichick. “In all honesty, sometimes it can be more harm than good. ‘They do this, they do that, watch out for this, watch out for that,’ then they don’t do it, then it’s just a waste of time working on stuff that you didn’t know they had, [and] they still didn’t use it. So, I think it’s marginal.”
Belichick Said the Timing Was Right for His Documentrary – Belichick talked about his appearance in his upcoming documentary, and said with the team’s 50th Anniversary and his 35th year in the league, the time just seemed right to do it. “When they approached us on it, it was the Patriots’ 50th season and my 35th season in the NFL, so it was a little bit of a unique situation. So organizationally, they captured the team’s 50th year along with what I did,” said Belichick. “They really did it in a way that was not intrusive, and they didn’t really know what they’re going to do with it. They just did it to archive it, to keep it as a historical – to do it in a historical way and there were no set plans on what to do with it, or how to present it or anything like that. That, I guess, evolved later on. I have a ton of respect for NFL Films: Steve Sabol, Ken Rodgers, their whole crew [and] staff down there. I think they do a tremendous job and they’ve always been good to work with, so I have a great trust in what they do and the professional way that they present it. So, I personally agree with it, and organizationally we also signed off on it.”
Rob Ryan says his brother Rex is “a little freaky” – Clarence Hill of the Dallas Star Telegram had an interesting quote from Rob Ryan, the brother of Jets head coach Rex Ryan. “Naw, I mean hell, he is a little freaky I guess,” Rob Ryan said. “Hell, I don’t know. I like everything about my wife. She got great feet, too. She got everything nice. What the hell.” He downplayed the situation, and said that everyone has their own little secrets. “Aw hell who cares,” said Ryan. “Believe me, everybody has whatever screwed up thing going on. I don’t care. I’m sure you do, and everybody else that points fingers. Who cares? Everybody has a life off the field. Who gives a crap? I’m sure I’m worse than he is. So big deal.”