Best & Worst: Patriots camp 2011

Best & Worst: Patriots camp 2011
August 1, 2011, 3:52 pm
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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