Thursday Afternoon Notes - Haynesworth The Sleeping Giant Awakens, A Little Bruschi in Tarpinian, and More

Ian Logue
September 08, 2011 at 04:10pm ET

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The big news Thursday morning was the announcement of the team's captains for this season, with Devin McCourty and Matthew Slater among six names revealed as those who will represent the team in that capacity this season.

In just his second season, cornerback Devin McCourty is now a captain here in New England. (FILE:Icon/SMI)

The interesting part is obviously the fact that according to Ian Rapoport of the Boston Herald, it was the players who voted them into this role, so it shows you how much respect the guys have for them in the locker room.

The other guys joining them are less surprising, with offensive lineman  Logan Mankins, quarterback Tom Brady, linebacker Jerod Mayo, and defensive lineman Vince Wilfork rounding out the list.  Last year’s captains – for anyone who is curious – were RB Kevin FaulkWilfork, Brady and Mayo.

McCourty and Slater each told Nick Underhill of that they were both honored to be selected.

"When your teammates get to vote for you and show you how much they're behind you as a leader, I think it's important for me to just continue doing what I've been doing," McCourty said.

"It's very humbling," Slater said. "It really means a lot to me. ... Took a vote, got the result. I've just always prided myself on working hard and leading by example, and hopefully I can continue to do that."

More Notes From Today:

- A Great Story on the Krafts Bringing Football to Israel - In case you missed it yesterday, our own Steve Balestrieri has a terrific article on how Patriots owner Robert Kraft and his wife Myra helped bring American Football to Israel.  It's a great read, and you can check it out here.

- The Patriots Set A Record Last Season - Something I didn't realize this morning.  Last season the Dolphins produced a franchise-low 19 turnovers in 2010, which to them was an impressive milestone.   Meanwhile here in New England, the Patriots gave the ball away just 10 times - the fewest in a 16-game season in NFL history.  Obviously Tom Brady's mere 4 interceptions last year played a big part in keeping that number as low as it was.

- Haynesworth Ready to Awaken the 'Sleeping Giant' - Albert Haynesworth told WEEI's Christopher Price on Thursday that he's coming along and he's feeling good heading into their first game.  "Now, I'm in the system and I'm playing and practicing, and I think it's time for me, the sleeping giant, to awaken and to go back out there on the field and play football again," said Haynesworth. ""I’m feeling good.  I talked to my coaches and they said, ‘Since they day you got in here, you’ve been improving and getting better.’  I still have work to do to get where I want to be but it’s coming along great.”

- Miami Herald reporter Armando Salguero Predicts an Upset - Salguero has an entry this morning saying that while the Dolphins have their issues, the Patriots have their own flaws and predicts that Miami will pull off the upset against New England on Monday night.  He also reports that the Dolphins are set to sign runningback Larry Johnson today.

- Patriots Using their One shot at two padded practices - Shalise Manza Young of the Boston Globe pointed out on Thursday that under the new rules of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, teams only are allotted one week to have two padded practices during the regular season.  Thursday marked the second day for players appearing in pads - so it appears that the Patriots will use theirs in week one as they continue preparing for the Dolphins on Monday night.

- Vollmer absent again from practice - Danny Picard of CSNNE reported on Thursday that offensive tackle Sebastian Vollmer was once again absent from practice.  Vollmer also missed yesterday's practice, although no official word has been given regarding his injury.  The team will be releasing the injury/practice report later today.

- A Letter From Roger Goodell To Fans - Erik Scalavino of Patriots Football Weekly has an entry with a letter for fans from Roger Goodell this afternoon.  In the letter the commissioner says they've got that they've got their 'foot on the accelerator' on focusing on making the game better, saying "we believe in better. Players, owners, coaches, team and league staff – working together — will be putting our collective foot on the accelerator. We have more work to do to improve our league and game on a variety of fronts. We will do that by continuing to focus on the quality of the game and innovation. And we will do it relentlessly."  You can read the full entry here.

- REISS: Patriots see a little bit of Bruschi in Tarpinian - Mike Reiss of held his weekly chat on Thursday afternoon, and had an interesting mention that I thought I'd share here.  According to Reiss, the Patriots like linebacker Jeff Tarpinian quite a bit and think he can not only help them on special teams, but also on defense.  Reiss also said he, "had one player tell me they see a little Tedy Bruschi in him from an instincts standpoint."  Interesting.

- Peyton Manning Rumors continue to swirl - And finally, the rumors surrounding Manning's future this season continue to churn.  They keep trying to put the fires out down in Indianapolis, but it's not looking good.  Scott Sarvay of reports that Manning had cervical fusion surgery which requires a minimum of 2- 3 months recovery, citing a source.  The most interesting fact came last night from Mike Lombardi.  Lombardi pointed out last night on "Inside the NFL" that four other players previously suffered a similar nerve damage injury - and all four were forced to retire.  Needless to say it makes sense that there's a fair amount of panic coming from Indianapolis, as it's obviously a pretty serious situation going on there right now - especially if Manning can't come back from this.