The Patriots continued their organized team activities on Monday, and thankfully since the session was open to the media we have plenty of headlines for you this morning.
We’ll kick things off with an article from the Providence Journal, with Paul Kenyon discussing the fact that with all the new young players on the defensive side of the football, no one has yet to emerge as a leader – at least not yet. With veteran guys like Mike Vrabel and Rodney Harrison no longer with the team, Kenyon feels that Brandon Meriweather or Jerod Mayo could be one of the players who could – and discusses it with each of them.
“I feel like everybody is a leader. Everybody has their qualities that make them a leader,” Meriweather said. “As for me and Jerod, I think every day we’re trying to get better at our jobs. We’re just going to work hard. If that’s what you call a leader, then I hope we’re good at it.”
Reporters also caught up with Patriots safety Patrick Chung yesterday, with several media outlets filing stories on him. Chung spent Monday’s session wearing a red jersey, but didn’t give any details on his injury. Nevertheless here are a few that you’ll definitely want to check out:
Patrick Chung Mum on Injury – NESN
Patrick Chung Grasps System – Boston Herald
Chung Acknowledges He Has Work to Do – Boston Globe
Chung’s Development a Key For Patriots – Mike Reiss
Reiss also offers a chart of Chung’s playing time last season, pointing out that he played in 20-percent of the snaps during his rookie season.
Chung told the Boston Herald that he’s put a lot of work in, and that he’s much more comfortable this year than he was during his rookie season.
“If I was comparing (last year to this), I didn’t know anything,” Chung told the Herald. “It’s a big, big jump. Coach Belichick has been meeting with me, getting a lot of film work in. I’m working hard, doing everything I got to do to help the team.”
Meanwhile wide receiver Wes Welker participated yet again in workouts on Tuesday, although he was only reportedly on the field with the team for approximately the first 30-minutes of the session before heading into the Dana Farber Field House for a private workout.
Fans have obviously been excited to see him back out on the field since he made his return last week, but Welker told the media that it’s just business as usual and he doesn’t quite get what all the fuss is about.
“I didn’t think it’d be that big a deal,’’ he told the Boston Globe. “I’ve been pushing it and trying to get ready and get out there with my teammates, get a few reps and try and get better as much as we can.’’
Paul Kenyon makes an interesting observation regarding Welker, pointing out that despite running and cutting during practice, he was very careful going down the stairs on his way to the field – pointing out that he still has a long way to go before being ready for the contact he’d have to be able to take during game action.
He went down the steps gingerly. He did not run down or bound down the steps, by any means. At a couple of different points, he took two steps on the same platform, the way someone favoring a leg would do. While there were no outward signs of a problem, no limping, Welker went down the stairs more carefully, more slowly, than a pro football player in good health would be expected to.
Here are more headlines regarding Welker:
Welker Says ‘He Feels Good’ – WEEI.com
Welker Not Getting Caught Up – Boston Globe
Welker on his return: ‘I didn’t think it would be that big a deal’ – Enterprise News
Welker Comfortable with Rehab Pace – Attleboro Sun Chronicle
Wes Welker Pushes Hard to Get Ready – Boston Herald
Tom Curran also files a story on Darius Butler, who told him that like Chung he’s also more confident heading into this season.
“I know what I’m getting into and how to prepare for it,” Butler said of the difference between this season and last. “I had time to reflect on last year and it’s positive (entering 2010) in a lot of different ways.”
One of the biggest topics heading into the offseason has been the Patriots lack of pass rush, which as we know was an issue last season. Reporters caught up with Tully Banta-Cain, with Chris Price of WEEI.com reporting that Banta-Cain has heard the chatter and feels confident they’ll be better in that area this season.
“I’ve been aware of it. I hear it in the wind,” he told WEEI.com. “But I think that as long as improve on what we did last year and try to make sure that our focus is the same and we look at what we didn’t do well and try to make it better, I think overall, things will be better.”
Here is another article from the Herald on Banta-Cain:
Banta-Cain Feels Pressure – Boston Herald
Back from vacation the Herald’s Ian Rapoport files a story on runningback Laurence Maroney, and feels the fact the team didn’t draft a runningback is a vote of confidence for Maroney heading into training camp.
“We definitely have a great group of guys,” Maroney said. “Not even talking about myself. We got Fred, whose name speaks for itself. Kev, his name speaks for itself. Sammy, he does what he does. And Benny [BenJarvus Green-Ellis]. That’s one thing we do have, we got a lot of experience. Even though some people may consider me a vet, being my fifth year, I’m still a young guy. I’m blessed to be around a lot of guys I can learn from.”
Former Patriot Willie McGinest is apparently getting into real estate, investing in property on North Long Beach. A couple of media outlets report on the subject:
McGinest looks to invest in North Long Beach redevelopment property – Contra Costa Times
WEEI personality Fred Smerlas is apparently getting ready to get into the political scene, but according to the Buffalo News he doesn’t feel this year is the right time to take the leap. However, he didn’t rule out the possibility of potentially running for a seat in Congress at some point.
“I wouldn’t rule it out,” Smerlas told the newspaper. “I’ve acquired a lot of information about how things happen. I’ve run businesses and made them work. … I feel in a couple years when everything’s right, I would run eventually.”
That’s it for now. Check back for more updates throughout the day.