The Patriots have an early start this morning, with their first practice in pads scheduled to start at 8:30am. The players have spent the last couple of days practicing in sessions that didn’t involve contact, so fans will get to see guys start hitting this morning. Let’s just hope there aren’t any injuries.
Now let’s get to today’s top stories.
Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com has his “quick hit thoughts” for this morning, including his thoughts on the normally animated Ochocinco. He feels “Brady’s message came through loud and clear if Ochocinco was listening; the culture they try to create in New England is more about team than individual”. Reiss also ponders why Ochocinco was able to participate in yesterday’s practices considering some of the new CBA rules that would have theoretically kept him out until August 4th.
Reiss also ponders the defensive line moves and wonders if it signals a shift in the defense.
Shalise Manza Young writes that yesterday’s purge of Ty Warren, Alge Crumpler, Nick Kaczur, Tully Banta-Cain, Marcus Stroud, and Tony Carter cleared $12.8 million off the books yesterday for New England. The biggest surprise in the bunch was Warren, who was told by the team that they’re going in a different direction defensively.
Mark Farinella of the Attleboro Sun Chronicle also has a column on the cuts, which he feels definitely raises some eyebrows.
Fans will reportedly get their first glimpse of Albert Haynesworth, who is expected to take the field this morning. Amalie Benjamin writes that the Patriots newest member of their defensive line is still facing a sexual assault trial on August 23rd, and has more details on the case.
Shalise Manza Young and Monique Walker combine for a notebook in the Globe this morning, with the first portion focusing on Tom Brady – who says he’s feeling much better after coming off of a foot injury last season.
“I feel really good; I feel about as good as I can feel,’’ he said. “I feel excited. I think everyone’s been anxious to get out here and start playing and getting back to doing things that we really love to do.’’
One interesting comment from Brady yesterday was when he spoke to Haynesworth yesterday and told him he still remembers the crushing hit that the former Redskins lineman put on Brady in a 2009 preseason game, which left the quarterback with three cracked ribs he dealt with for the entire year.
“I saw him this morning and said, ‘I still haven’t forgiven you for that.’ He said ‘God, I’ve got a lot of friends up here’ and they have all given him a lot of grief over the years,’’ Brady said. “Hopefully he can come in and fill a role and be a big part of the success of this team. I think that’s what we’re all trying to do.’’
The Worcester Telegram has the complete transcript from Brady’s interview yesterday.
Ian Rapoport of the Boston Herald looks at how Ochocinco is going to fit into the offense, and writes that Deion Branch will also benefit from a full preseason after being acquired via trade mid season last year.
“Deion is such a special person and player and he’s had a lot of familiarity with what we’ve always done,” Brady said. “I think we’ve been spoiled over the years with so many guys like that that have come in and been able to understand what we’re trying to do. Whether the rookies (or) free agents can figure that out that remains to be seen. It’s not an easy offense to learn.
“Guys who are in their fourth year, like Wes (Welker), can really excel in it because he’s way past the learning stage.”
Rapoport also has a notebook, which also talks about yesterday’s cuts along with the fact that Crumpler’s release was also somewhat of a surprise, especially since he was a captain last season.
Karen Guregian spoke with several receivers yesterday who said that they’re excited about the addition of Ochocinco, even if it means one less open spot to compete for on the roster. Veteran Wes Welker just hopes he keeps them moving int he right direction.
“I’m excited to have him. I’m excited to get to work with him,” Welker said after the morning session. “Hopefully, we can come together and make some good plays out there.”
“He’s a great player. I think he’s showed that over the years,” Welker said. “Hopefully, he can make some big plays for us and keep us moving in the right direction.”
Jeff Jacobs of the Hartford Courant looks at this year’s team and, considering the new group of players they now have, he expects it to be an interesting season.
The joys of having Ochocinco here means that apparently TMZ is now a news source we’ll need to keep an eye on. They have an article this morning about the fact that despite being a Patriot, he has no intention of buying a house here in New England just yet. Lower your expectations for this article – not much other than what the headline tells you.
That’s it for this morning. We’ll have more throughout the day, so be sure and check back for updates. You can also follow me on Twitter @ianlogue.