It sounds like WR Aaron Dobson could be ready to go by the time training camp begins. (USA TODAY Images)
Some news and notes on this Monday:
PATRIOTS ARE THE SMARTEST NFL SPENDERS:
USA Today has an article this morning looking at the fact the Patriots have compiled a 61-19 regular season record from 2009-2013 and did it with payrolls that ranked, on average, in the bottom half of the league.
Of course they credit Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, calling Belichick “not only one of the best in the league, but among the best in any sport, anywhere.”
“How did they do it? It starts with two people who’ve been with the franchise over a decade – and one of them doesn’t count toward the team’s payroll at all. The latter, of course, is Bill Belichick, the head coach universally regarded as not only one of the best in the league, but among the best in any sport, anywhere. No matter how much the Patriots retool their roster, Belichick remains in complete command of the franchise, and his steady stewardship (though not so steady that he won’t make adjustments on the fly as needed) has produced a 163-61 regular season record with the Patriots, as well as 11 straight seasons of 10 wins or more. Grantland’s Bill Barnwell suggested in 2012 that top coaches are undervalued, since they play a vital role in a team’s success without costing a cent against the salary cap. For that reason, no matter what the Patriots pay Belichick – and no one outside the organization has much of an idea – he’s worth every penny.”
You can read more here – CLICK HERE
DOBSON OPTIMISTIC ABOUT BEING READY FOR TRAINING CAMP:
After missing spring practices following offseason surgery on his foot, it sounds like Aaron Dobson may be making enough progress to potentially be out on the field in a few weeks for the start of training camp.
According to MASSLIVE’s Nick Underhill, there is now optimism the second-year receiver may be ready to hit the field later this month, which is good news for a player who will likely be a big key to the Patriots success this season.
Dobson suffered a foot injury against the Broncos in week 12 that caused him to miss three games, but then he reaggravated it against the Bills in the season finale. He initially avoided surgery after there was a belief it would heal on its own, but clearly that wasn’t the case and he underwent the surgery in March.
Fortunately it sounds like he’s making progress. Hopefully he’ll be ready to go and won’t suffer any setbacks.
JAMIE COLLINS MAKES THE “MAKING THE LEAP” LIST:
Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com continues his series of top 25 players he believes will “make the leap” in 2014, with Patriots linebacker Jamie Collins coming in at number five on this list.
Rosenthal calls Collins a “cornerback trapped in a 250-pound body”, and writes that, “while most linebackers are forced into pass coverage duties, Collins looks at home on an island.”
“As a rookie, Collins played inside and outside linebacker. He lined up at defensive end occasionally to rush the passer, and could blitz up the middle. Moving forward is typical of a guy his size, but it’s not typical to see the same player line up one-on-one outside the numbers against receivers, and win.
Bill Belichick has found a new sort of prototype. Nearly 30 years removed from establishing what NFL teams look for in a 3-4 linebacker, Collins is the right player for this era. Once a safety at Southern Mississippi, Collins can go entire games without going after a quarterback. (Week 16 against Baltimore was a great example; he shut down their tight ends on passing downs.)”
One interesting comment is the fact Rosenthal believes that “Collins is the player that Adalius Thomas was supposed to be.” He also feels that Collins is much like a five tool player, making a baseball reference and believes that while teams love hybrid linebackers, the Patriots may have finally found one.
MCCOURTY BROTHERS MAKE A CASE FOR RUTGERS:
Dan Duggan of the Star Ledger has an article with Devin McCourty and his brother Jason among former players making a case to recruits as to why Rutgers is their best choice to come and play college football.
“You get an opportunity to be in a program where you can go talk to a coach about anything in life,” said Devin, a Patriots safety. “He’s a very open guy where he can laugh, he can joke with you, he can be strict. I think just on a personal level it’s a great fit. But like I always say, Rutgers has to be a fit for you. I don’t know if every guy can go there and work hard and be willing to put in that work and sacrifice. I think it has to be a good fit. I think for guys that are young and hardworking and want to be the first guys to do something under a great coach that might not have a huge name, but you can be the first just like he’ll be, it would be a perfect fit for you.”
Linebacker Steve Beauharnais also had high praise for coach Kyle Flood, calling him a “players coach” and believes that he’s just as tough as former coach Greg Schiano.
Duggan writes that Rutgers hasn’t landed any of the top 17 recruits in New Jersey’s class of 2015 according to Rivals.com’s rankings, and has just three in the top 35. Then again, it’s not always the biggest names that necessarily become the brightest stars. However, it never hurts to get some endorsements by former alumni who have been there and have proven that players from that university can go on and do great things in the NFL.
BOB KRAFT COMMITS FUNDS TO CROSSROADS CAMP PROGRAM:
Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who is a Brookline resident, surprised Crossroads for Kids last month with a commitment of up to $100,000 to send 100 young people to its residential “Camp Wing” program.
From Wicked Local Brookline:
“Through the program, they will meet mentors and friends who will stand by them for the next 10 years as they learn to dream big and travel the path to a safe and successful future.
It costs $1,000 to send a child to a 20-day session of overnight camp, a cost Crossroads subsidizes through fundraising to ensure 1,000 kids have the opportunity to experience a safe and happy summer each year.”
According to the article, Kraft’s commitment entails that he will match all donations by new donors and past supporters who will increase their support to send a child to camp, and will mtch them up to $100,000.
Jarrrett Bell of USA TODAY has this piece in the Detroit Free Press looking at the Patriots and writes the franchise is at the milestone 10-year mark and believes it’s time for a reunion – READ MORE
Nick Underhill of MASSLIVE continues his series raking the top 10 Patriots heading into training camp, with this morning’s edition focusing on Nate Solder and Sebastian Vollmer – READ MORE
ESPN BOSTON’S Mike Reiss looks at some of the top plays in Patriots history, with today’s entry focusing on the infamous “Snow Plow Game” – READ MORE
He also continues his series looking at players who he feels are “locks’ to make the roster heading into training camp, with this morning’s edition focusing on the defensive tackles – READ MORE
Oliver Thomas of NEPATRIOTSDRAFT.com has a nice write-up on Devin McCourty, looking at the rise of the former Rutgers standout. – READ MORE
James Christensen has a good read on Bleacher Report looking at five “dark horses” he believes may make the final 53-man roster. – READ MORE
For those who enjoyed watching him play here, Ricky Henne of Chargers.com has a nice feature on former Patriots RB Danny Woodhead – READ MORE