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Old 07-28-2003, 02:22 PM   #1
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Default Training Camp Notes

Being a citizen of my second pro football city, I've always had a hankering to head out to catch some training camp goings-on. But, in Pittsburgh, you have to travel to Latrobe, which, if you're headed to the Rolling Rock Brewery as well, is worth it, but otherwise, there's not much there and, well... there are usually things to do closer to home for far less hassle.

For the last five summers, I've been in Boston, and while not a huge Patriots fan, can stomach them, especially in the post-Carroll era. I didn't have a strong compunction to drive an hour down 95 while the Pats had training camp in Rhode Island, but when they moved training camp to the regular facilities this summer, a mere ten miles from my house, I felt compelled to get in the car and drive down to catch as much as possible.

Training camp opened on Wednesday. The Pats' public-access practice field is about 150 yards on the south end of Gillette Stadium. You park in general stadium parking for free, and get to watch for the two hour periods that training takes place. They avail particular units to autograph seekers shortly after practices. On two-a-day days, they have a 9a start and a 6p start.

When they opened on Wednesday, rain closed the public access field, although they did practice on closed circuit TV that could be watched INSIDE of Gillette. I didn't bother attending, but understood it was a cool gesture, and one that would be repeated throughout camp. Rain had the same effect on Thursday, and I didn't have time to make it on Friday. Saturday morning, though, I packed up my 23-mo. old daughter and drove 15 minutes to watch in some boiling field level heat (we didn't stay long) while guys did some run-blocking drills and a brief bit of throwing drills.

I made it out again this morning, and made the following notes.
  • Rohan Davey v Damon Huard for #2 QB looks like a tough battle, given the performance and snaps each are getting.
  • Antowain Smith, despite initial concerns, looks very good. I never realized he was so tall.
  • Mike Cloud looked good and will compete for #2 RB when he can play come week five
  • Otis Smith was notably absent on Day Five of Training Camp
  • Ty Law must be overweight. He was outfitted in a full sweatsuit, complete with a ski mask and gloves, UNDER the pads, jersey and pants. The temperature was around 80 at 10am...
  • WR David Givens looked VERY GOOD, and will be difficult to keep off the field, given his six-inch height advantage over the rest of the receiving corps.
  • Rookie corners Assante Samuel and Eugene Wilson were getting plenty of time in first team defensive drills
  • Troy Brown schooled Samuel in route-run/cover drills
  • Deion Branch similarly schooled Assante Samuel
  • Rodney Harrison lined up as the weak-side safety. He had two highlightable plays:
    [1] Lined up as weak-side safety, came over to cover TE Daniel Graham and covered him LIKE a BLANKET. Knocked a very catchable ball away, and got hoots from the crowd for showing some pretty decent speed.
    [2] Lined up as strong-side safety and blitzed over the left tackle. Would have killed QB Tom Brady in game situation as the ball was released.
  • P Daniel Pope needs better hangtime if he wants to unseat Walter. Meanwhile, his kicks averaged about 10-15 yards longer.
  • No sign of second-year knee injury case RB Antoine Womack.
  • Kliff Kingsbury, who looked good on Saturday, is much taller than I realized, and looked tired Monday morning. Zip that was present on Saturday was gone, and he was looking a little confused in actual play practice.
  • While he was on the field a bit, I didn't notice much from Roosevelt Colvin

I don't know how the world at-large spends their mornings, but there are few things better than sitting in the sun on a beautiful day and watching guys play football, even if it isn't for real yet. I hated having to come to work after.

So, if you have time, and don't have to travel over the bridge and through the woods to get to your local team's training camp site (or even if you do) feel free to share your notes. I'll add to mine, despite the fact that few on the board care about the Pats. As it is, I don't care that strongly about the Pats either. It's sort of an amateur interest and love of the game thing for me.

(Larry Centers, my favorite all-time fullback, was apparently signed by the Pats over the weekend, but wasn't on the field. Patrick Pass, with whom he'd compete for playing time, had a noticeable giddy-up to his step; he wasn't practicing Saturday; Fred McCrary continues to not be on the practice field.)

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