Finally made it to the Patriots training camp, a successful pilgrimage. I annually go to the Redskins camp, living in DC, so I'll start with the contrast, which is stark. First off, the set-up is so much more fan friendly. At the skins camp, the crowds just stand around---the bleachers and grassy area at Patriots camp (finally know what Mrs. B is talking about) is great. Also the vending area is so much nicer. Misting tent was much appreciated. More importantly, the practice itself was night and day. Spurrier's camps were laughable, Gibbs' camps are more organized, Belichick's are another level up. My wife said it made the skins camp look like a 13-year-old soccer practice. There were lots of things the skins don't have like down markers and period clocks. But the real difference is the attitude and seriousness among the players and coaches. They are there to get something accomplished, running between periods, focusing, watching, encouraging each other. Another major difference I observed was the amount of talking among the defense, it was a babel of communication. Other observations: - They couldn't have walked any slower coming onto the field, it was ~100 degrees. Reche Caldwell was first one out there (guy's got some serious calves). Saw Chad Jackson getting some footwork coaching (nice old school hair on Chad). - Crowd was pretty sparse. - There was no applause when the players took the field or started, nor one at the end---I thought that was odd. Maybe it was the sparse crowd but the one thing about the skins camp is that the crowd is much more vocal/supportive, not just reactive. Some regulars ought to start an opening applause tradition if there isn't one---give these guys some love! - Players were in shells, little contact, no hitting (oh well). - They don't seem to take stretching all that serious, inconsistent on technique and some players weren't doing it much. I guess the coaches don't stress it much. - The practice was shortened to 1:30 due to the heat (I guess), and Bramlett and Mortenson barely got any reps, not even during the offense only drills. I don't know if they get more during a longer practice, if not they are in trouble if they play in the preseason. - Brady was the loudest guy on the field when he wasn't in there, screaming encouragement to the offense after good plays. - Watched Ellis Hobbs jam Chad Jackson and Jackson slipped to the ground in a heap (helped by Hobbs). Hope Chad learns to handle the press better than that! Otherwise Chad didn't do anything so special, he looked like a rookie, not bad, just nothing impressive. Reche Caldwell did look good. - As every other camp report mentions, Ben Watson was catching 1 out of 3 balls when in there. - Team worked on a trick play---direct snaps to running back---a few in a row. One time Brady was telling a receiver what to do when the ball was snapped. - Cassell yelled at Childress (I think) on one play about lining up wrong (told him just to stay there). Needs to work on the pitch in his voice (a bit high), but otherwise seemed he was confident he was right. - Josh Miller was on the 2nd (or 3rd) kickoff coverage unit. Don't know why---seems like there'd be enough scrubs to cover it, maybe they just like to see him do something. He asked the fans how we were doing, didn't get much of a response. He was offsides every time. - Vrable picked up a squib kickoff, ran backwards, was in total no man's land, yelled "oh sh*t", which got a rise out of the crowd, and then lateralled. Few could have gotten away with that besides Vrable. - Bam Childress ran backwards after catching a pass and then did some push-ups, not sure if it was for running backwards. Pretty wimpy push-ups too (if you're gonna do 'em...). No way that guy is 5'10", as listed on roster. - During sprints Belichick was yelling at them to bank it. Matt Light set the pace of the OL and got a compliment from BB. Good to see Dante running with the OL. Brady was yelling encouragement for everyone to keep running through the line, but then he (and Dillon) were the last to cross. Brady didn't look like he was 100% when running, perhaps related to the knee brace and his recent days off. - At the end of practice Ivan Fears came over and brought his son along with ~6 friends on the field. They got to meet Belichick, chatted for a few minutes. Then Belichick went over to the bleacers to sign for a few minutes. He seemed like he was in a pretty good mood. I think he likes camp. - Tight ends signed, they seemed pretty relaxed, still there when we left after ~20 minutes. (Again big contrast with skins camp where the players sign for maybe 10 minutes and it's a scramble to get one, though the sparse crowds did make it easy.) I asked Dave Thomas how he likes being a Patriot, said it's been great so far. That's all I recall for now. It was awesome being there---those guys are all business.