Best & Worst: Patriots camp 2011

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Best & Worst: Patriots camp 2011

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com Patriots Insider Follow @tomecurran
It's been less than a week since the lockout was settled. Why's it seem like it happened a month-and-a-half ago? Probably because a month-and-a-half's worth of NFL transaction activity has happened in the span since the now-forgotten lockout ended. With the Patriots taking a break from practice on Monday, I've slapped together a quick best-and-worst before going out to see what the hell happened to the back lawn since last week when I disappeared into the training camp abyss. Chinch bugs? Don't tell me it's chinch bugs. BEST SHOW OF SUPERHUMAN STRENGTHAlbert Haynesworth, perhaps hustled onto the practice field Sunday to head off the inevitable "Haynesworth Watch" that was coming if he didn't partake for a second straight day, rag-dolled Ryan Wendell and Rich Ohrnberger during a brief appearance in drills. And he showed his edge with a little shove given to the relatively diminutive Wendell after the play. WORST SENSE OF IMPENDING DOOMHaynesworth is one of the nastier defensive linemen in the league. Logan Mankins is one of the nastier offensive linemen. Very soon, the two men will be lining up across from each other. In the heat. With each having something to prove to each other, themselves and their teammates. That they will scrap is inevitable. Whether either gets hurt (bet on Haynesworth) and how much collateral damage is exacted are the only unknowns. WORST FIRST IMPRESSION (ON-FIELD)Chad Ochocinco has not been glue-fingered. He's had close to 10 drops in his first three practices -- an alarming number. He's got a habit of leaving his feet to make catches inside the numbers. It's a ploy that receivers use to help protect themselves - if they're planted, their resistance is greater against oncoming hits and going up allows them to turtle a bit and absorb impact - but Ocho does it more than necessary. And with a quarterback as accurate as Tom Brady, it takes away the YAC opportunity. Also, Ocho doesn't let a failed play end without emoting in some direction - quarterback or defender. It's a little whiny. BEST FIRST IMPRESSION (OFF-FIELD)Ty Law has been the single funniest Patriot I covered. He was the best at his position for a time and had the kind of enjoyable arrogance that very few pro athletes capably carry off. Ocho's got that too. He overstates and self inflates and you know he believes what he says. But he's so quick and so aware of his audience that it's completely harmless. He said he's going to keep his distance from the media and I don't doubt he will. He all but locked out the Cincy media the past few seasons. His interactions will be self-designed. You can disagree with the way he goes about his business, but it's hard to dislike him. WORST HOLDUPRookie first-rounder Nate Solder still isn't in camp as he haggles over his contract. This was supposed to be easy with the new rookie wage scale, but apparently there's wrestling over whether or not these guys are going to get guaranteed contracts (see PFT post here on matter). All the remaining first-round holdouts are players taken between 17 and 24. Solder was taken 17th. BC lineman Anthony Castonzo, the 24th pick by Indy, wants a guaranteed four-year deal. Coltsvice chairmanBill Polian cuffed that notion around. "We are old school and if we wont give Joseph Addaiwho helped us to two Super Bowls and helped us win two AFC championships, a fully guaranteed contract, we arent going to do it for a rookie, any rookie. We love Anthony. We think hes a great draft choice and we think he would be a great Colt, but its time for him to prove that before he gets a fully guaranteed contract.BEST HOLDUP INSURANCEMatt Light. As we told you all along, this was going to get done and it did. Contract's not signed but the agreement - as of Monday morning - is in place. WORST CROWD INTERACTIONThis one. About the :40 second mark

Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Wilfork on Body Issue: 'Looking forward to what the locker room's going to say'

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Wilfork on Body Issue: 'Looking forward to what the locker room's going to say'

ESPN The Magazine's Body Issue won't hit newsstands until July 8, but Vince Wilfork gave people a not-so-little preview of what to expect this week.

The former Patriots defensive lineman, who is listed at 325 pounds but said he's weighed as much as 350 pounds, sat down for an interview about his size that landed on ESPN.com on Thursday.

"I just think it's a good idea for people that are bigger-boned," Wilfork said when asked why he posed nude for the Body Issue. "If people can look at me, a guy that's 325-plus, doing an issue like this, I'm pretty sure that they might have a little confidence.

"There will be critics, just like with everything else. I think a lot of people will get a laugh out of it, I'll tell you that. I'm looking forward to what the locker room's going to say. But at the end of the day, I'm perfectly fine with who I am as a person and what I have accomplished. It shows a lot of my personality."

You can read the full interview here, as well as watch a video that shows Wilfork in all his modeling glory.

Brady, Gronkowski make Top 10 of NFL Network's Top 100

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Brady, Gronkowski make Top 10 of NFL Network's Top 100

Ask a football fan in New England, and he or she might tell you that Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski are the top two players in the NFL. A random NFL player might not be as generous, but on balance, Brady and Gronkowski's peers consider the Patriots stars to be among the top 10 talents in the league. 

The NFL Network announced the final 10 players to be included in their annual Top 100 list, a list voted on by players, and both Brady and Gronkowski made the cut.

The order of the top 10 has been determined, but has not yet been announced. Brady and Gronkowski are in the running for No. 1 alongside Odell Beckham Jr., Antonio Brown, Julio Jones, Luke Kuechly, Cam Newton, Adrian Peterson, Aaron Rodgers and JJ Watt. 

The weekly series, which has counted down Nos. 100-11, will end on Wednesday, July 6 with two, one-hour episodes on NFL Network at 8 and 9 p.m. Highlights of each player will be featured, as will interviews with some of their teammates and competitors. 

"He plays with a chip on his shoulder he’s always had," Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins said of Brady, "that really separates him."

Of Rob Gronkowski, Texans corner Charles James II said, "He's a glitch on Madden."

The only other Patriots players included in the Top 100 were Julian Edelman (who came in at No. 87) and Chandler Jones (No. 48). Jones, now a member of the Cardinals, was the only Patriots defender involved. 

Corner Malcolm Butler, linebackers Jamie Collins and Dont'a Hightower and safety Devin McCourty all had an argument to be included but were left off. 

NFL.com contributors Gregg Rosenthal, Chris Wesseling, Maurice Jones-Drew and Ike Taylor put together their own individual Top 100 lists to supplement the one voted on by current players. Rosenthal included Collins (No. 64), McCourty (No. 73) and Butler (No. 99) in addition to Edelman (No. 84). Wesseling included Collins (No. 43), McCourty (No. 88) and Hightower (No. 91), but not Edelman. Jones-Drew included both Edelman (No. 62) and Butler (No. 95). Taylor included only Edelman (No. 89).