Postcards from Camp: Day 2


Postcards from Camp: Day 2

Day 2 of Patriots Training Camp. Practice didn't kick in until around 2 p.m., although most players were on the field between 1:30 and 1:50. Tom Brady didn't pull on his jersey until nearly 2 causing a ripple of concern (at least with me) that he was elsewhere.

Overcast for the most part at the start of practice with some breaks of sun later. It was muggy again, temperatures again in the mid-80s. There were a few sprinkles at one point but no rain.

They wore Nike practice jerseys - white for the offense, blue for the defense. Again. Same as yesterday. No full pads yet, although teams are allowed to go full pads once a day and also have a walkthrough with no contact.

Started off with some light stuff at 1:30 until everyone dribbed and drabbed out there. Why doesn't everyone come out at once? My suspicion is that there are meetings, high-level X-ing and O-ing going on, checking release points and hand placement. I would be very disappointed to find that Tom Brady was in the locker room trying to send out a hit on those photographers who got the latest picture of him cavorting near water. Once everyone was out there, the corners and wideouts worked on jams and releases respectively. The DBs were being shown how to funnel their men to help with their jams. The receivers did some catching drills in which a towel was thrown into their line of vision as the ball arrived. There was a lot of special teams punt work done. Most of it stressed coverage. There was also 7-on-7, 5-on-5 using half the field and 11-on-11 followed by field goals at the end. And full field sprints.

Tom Brady went 25 for 28 on Friday after going 26 for 29 on Thursday. (editors note: Paoletti's in charge of Brady stat-keeping and she made a weird face that said, "I might have missed one..." There will be consequences). Julian Edelman looked outstanding in some of his 1-on-1 drills. He usually does. Aaron Hernandez also had a solid day. And Jerod Mayo has been on the field almost non-stop for the defense through the first two days.

Free agent fullback Spencer Larsen didn't look good. A few drops offensively. And the reporter who asked Rob Gronkowski whether Gronk's ankle felt OK FOUR FREAKING DIFFERENT WAYS at the start of the group interview, basically ruining the easily spooked Gronk for the rest of the interview. That guy wasn't so hot either.

Tom Brady was wearing Under Armour cleats with big red laces. Again. Robert Kraft came out to the field and backslapped. Again. This time with Hernandez and Deion Branch. Kraft was wearing what appeared to be skinny jeans and a black polo with his collar popped. Hey, don't shoot the messenger, here.

"What difference does it make? Do we have any football questions here?" - Bill Belichick when asked if he saw pictures of Tom Brady cliff diving.

Not a lot of talk about Cannon this season, and that's a good thing for Patriots


Not a lot of talk about Cannon this season, and that's a good thing for Patriots

Marcus Cannon has had his run as a piñata. The Patriots offensive lineman is a frequent target when things go wrong up front and, usually, he’s deserved it.

A bit of anecdotal evidence? 

Sunday, I tweeted that every time I watched Cannon, he was making another good play.

On cue, about 10 tweets came back at me with variations of “Keep watching him!”

I asked Bill Belichick if he agreed with the layman’s assessment that Cannon’s playing well.

“I think Marcus [Cannon] has done a good job for us for quite a while,” Belichick began. “I mean he’s stepped in for Sebastian [Vollmer] and then last year when Nate [Solder] was out [and he substituted] for Nate. He has played a lot of good football for us.

“We extended our agreement with him off of his rookie contract which I think speaks to the fact that we want him on the team and we like what he’s doing and so forth and he’s continued to I’d say show with his performance [that he has] validated the confidence that we have in him.”

Cannon’s ending to 2015 – a poor performance (along with the rest of the line) against the Broncos in the AFC Championship Game was followed by a performance against the Cardinals that was marred by late-game holding calls.

But with Sebastian Vollmer injured (and still injured) it was sink or swim with Cannon which had plenty of people rolling their eyes.

But – as I said – every time I see Cannon, he’s either holding off a defensive end in pass protection, steamrolling downfield in the running game or making really athletic second-level or cut blocks in the screen game.

“Like every player, as they gain more experience they do get better,” said Belichick. “I think our offensive line’s certainly improved over the course of the year and playing with more consistency than we did last year. But there’s always room for improvement and the continuity that we’ve had there since (right guard) Shaq [Mason] has gotten in the last few weeks – we had Shaq over on the right side a little bit at the end of the season last year and then this year most all of the year except when Shaq was out for a few weeks there at the end of training camp and the start of the season – but our overall consistency and communication on the offensive line has been better because we’ve had more continuity there so that helps everybody.”

It can’t hurt that the lineman whisperer, Dante Scranecchia, has returned to coach the group. Cannon’s conditioning and physique looks better. He just appears more athletic and explosive. And he’s seemed more relaxed in the limited time the media’s in the locker room.

All off that added up equals nobody really talking about Marcus Cannon.
“Like any lineman, the less you call his name probably the better he’s doing,” said Belichick. “It’s probably a good thing when you guys don’t talk about him. Then that probably means they’re not doing something too noticeably wrong, right?”