Attended evening session 7/29/10.
I wanted to primarily check out McCourty, check out our new TE’s, and see how Kaczur was handing LG.
First on the field, as others have reported was Mesko- it was hard not to be impressed by his work ethic- he was practicing his techniques, doing drops, and the balls always bounced in the right direction (forward). This kid is meticulous- I do not think we will be disappointed with this pick.
Welker on the field, no brace and no red shirt- was apparent he was not going to do anything. Probably holding him to just one session a day. Brace out of uniform- does not seem to be injured; was seen running sprints. May have flunked his physical.
Interesting tidbit: Thomas Welch is working out in long-snapping- he figures to be the LS backup which may help his odds in making the team.
As much as I wanted to watch the defense, they were on the far field (as they always seem to be) with BB. They were working on onside kick technique (resisting the temptation to pounce on the ball- let the second tier take care of that). A few DB’s were working on proper techniques (ball security) in recovering onside kicks. Could not observe much, other than onside drills and working on zone pass coverage out of the cover 2.
I was reminded of just how efficient the Patriots always seem to practice. They start off with light technique work, KR blocking drills (making sure no 2 blockers within 2 yards within each other = 15 yard penalty) which warms up their bodies for stretching and at the same time, they are going through technique- then stretching, then more intensive drills, e.g. bags.
Tate, McCourty, Edelman, Wheatley, Slater, Farnham, Price all working out at PR
(JUGS). Was surprised to see Tate not wearing a brace on either knee. He looks sharp and 100%. Great acceleration, good explosion, good separation speed, clean breaks. This man definitely has the wheels and the hands, catches outside his frame, leverages well. He is probably going to be the #2 WR until Welker returns, and will probably project to #3. Of all the groups to pare down by season, I think the most difficult is going to be WR, because that corp is loaded. Was surprised to see Patten still has his speed. Holt looks sharp too, not a vertical threat but looks to be more of technical route runner which plays into Brady’s anal approach to pattern running. I know people are in love with Buddy Farnham on this board, but I was not impressed. Everyone loves “Rudy”, but Farnham is just out of place. He is just a very long shot to make the roster, unfortunately. Does not accelerate enough and has no snap in his breaks.
Watching Jam and bag drills after stretching and sprints. Chung continues to whoop everyone, and Moss is clearly the leader of the WR team. He led the sprint to the single coverage drill- and this is where I got some very pleasant surprises.
First, McCourty is good as advertised, perhaps even more. I was confused when we first drafted him, but now am firmly convinced we have a very solid CB corp- getting very excited about this. Flips his hips very fast, transitions well, runs backwards almost as fast. Long arms, great feet, great intangibles. There was one sick rep he took in single coverage- big cushion on Price, picked him up, but lost him in transition, but since his hips were so fluid, he located fast and accelerated to deny Price the long pass. This can only be a good sign.
Now, the biggest surprise was Chung in coverage- I have to tell you that the man has really improved. I was basically stunned. Last year you could not leave him on an island, but now I see what Caserio was talking about when he discussed who made the big leap in year two. Chung has basically taken a big leap here. Granted this is TC, but I saw massive improvements in technique, angle, and leverage. He really closes in on his man once the pass is airborne.
This is where we got the rash of injuries- Slater pulled his left calf, Lockett has at least a bruised shoulder. Meriweather got shaken up, but was able to get out of there under his power.
And again I was reminded of just how easy Moss makes everything look. While “jogging” a deep in, he juked Butler right into the ground. That had the crowd laughing. It is just so easy for an uneducated spectator to characterize him as someone who takes plays off, because he really looks it sometimes. He is just so deceiving and deceptive.
Hernandez used a lot in motion as you would guess, he also lined up at FB, slot, flanker (yes!). The one thing I really like about Hernandez is that he has a YAC mentality- every time he made a catch, he was always turning up the field, no matter what the circumstance was, if the play was dead, or if there was someone over the top or nobody there. If nobody was there, he would still just juke and fake.
First look at Zac Robinson- good footwork, solid technique, nice follow through- release has pop, ball has nice tight spirals. Have to see what he does under fire- although in situational football, he muffled a snap from Wendell and both of them had to run a lap.
Field was divided in half, a lot going on, one side had 3-4, other had 4-3 with Cunningham in elephant. Damien Lewis taking significant reps alongside Pryor in the 4 man front- watching him- seems fundamentally sound. I think he has the inside line on making the roster.
In 3-4, of course spikes is in Sam and seems to be working there exclusively, having problems in coverage and was lost on a few plays. Surprised to see Fletcher in WILB as he was projecting to OLB- this doesn’t really leave our OLB weak, but we do not have many options there.
Plenty of juicy stuff here. Was interesting to see Gronk check in as eligible lineman (weakside) where he took an easy TD pass over Chung and there was even one formation where Crump and Gronk was side by side. I don’t know if I should disclose any more on formations or plays… don’t really want to make trouble for this forum.
This was where I had an opportunity to watch Kaczur. I will tell you this much: he is a solid fill in. Not spectacular, but solid. He has made the transition to LG well. He has the assignments down, the technique down (smaller steps, low launch), and pulls well and shoots the gaps good and had a good stone on a strong side pull. However what he lacks is leverage because he is the wrong size- Bruschi talked about this and talks about how he would get his helmet under Kaczur and blow him up and that is what Wright did on one play. He will get blown up by smaller linemen, but he will buy time- so that is fine for me.. however, definitely NOT a long term solution there.
The last play of situational football was a 212 Ace personnel in 2x2 with Hernandez in motion (out of 3x1)- it was a fake run play and a quick slant to Hernandez in the end zone. Chung smelled the fake and was in the right place at the right time, but Hernandez ripped the pass out of his hands. Chung was really frustrated- you have to love his attitude. I think he is the backbone of the DB’s. He really plays like Rodney Harrison- took a cheap shot at Edelman.