Pats Camp Roundup: Ocho elevates his game

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Pats Camp Roundup: Ocho elevates his game

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com Patriots Insider Follow @tomecurran
FOXBORO - Chad Ochocinco, slippery-fingered for too many days early in training camp, had the best day I've seen him have. His shining moment? Elevating between rookie corner Malcolm Williams and safety Sergio Brown to make a leaping 50-odd-yard reception on a bomb from Tom Brady. As for the drops? Didn't see one. A collection of other observances from a three-hour Saturday practice: The Patriots will have a day off Sunday. Rookie first-rounder Nate Solder caught a punt at the end of practice that gave them the day off. Figure they probably would have gone until he got it right though. The best10 minutes or so of practice were the 1-on-1 tackling drills between tight ends, running backs, wideouts and the secondary players. Best Hit? Bret Lockett guessing right on a shimmy by Wes Welker and taking the wideout down hard. Best Truck? Undrafted rookie Will Yeatman, who goes 6-5, 268, running over 6-foot, 200-pound Matt Slater. Yeatman didn't bother to put a move on and Slater was left crumpled for a few moments before struggling up. Worst Whiffs? Brandon Meriweather getting out-quicked and out-efforted by Julian Edelman and Stevan Ridley on back-to-back reps. Meriweather failed to even make contact on each play. Albert Haynesworth, Matt Light, Kevin Faulk, Ron Brace, Brandon Tate, Brandon Spikes and Mike Wright were among those sitting this practice out. Wide receivers coach Chad O'Shea talked about the importance of having experienced wideouts like Wes Welker and Deion Branch to tutor Chad Ochocinco as he becomes enmeshed in the Patriots schemes. "I think that having two veteran football players, Wes Welker and Deion Branch, has greatly helped Chads development here early on learning the offense," O'Shea explained. "Its very important that they have open communication on the field, which they have had. Theyve done a great job in the meeting room with Chad. Theyve done a great job on the practice field. Were all working together to get better and thats what theyve done."Our focus at the receiver position right now is fundamentals, getting open and catching the football," O'Shea explained. "Weve worked very hard at practice on being fundamentally sound and along with that, obviously, you have Chad Ochocinco whos running the offense with two veteran football players who know the offense. So, were working very hard on the fundamentals along with learning the offense."Aaron Hernandez had a slew of diving catches during practice. The work of the tight ends early in camp - Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski, but also rookie Lee Smith and Yeatman - has been eye-opening.

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

Belichick: 'All the experts in the league' can decide on number of preseason games

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Belichick: 'All the experts in the league' can decide on number of preseason games

FOXBORO -- After Ravens tight end Benjamin Watson went down with a torn Achilles in a recent preseason game, Baltimore coach John Harbaugh said he wouldn't mind if the league eliminated preseason games. 

"If I had my choice, I'd go none," Harbaugh said. "That might be an extreme point, but we could run scrimmages, or we could run practices against other teams and figure it out. We'd all be in the same boat. That's for people higher up than me to decide."

Patriots coach Bill Belichick was asked on Tuesday afternoon for his thoughts on the value of the preseason. 

"I think I’ll let all the experts in the league decide that," Belichick said. "That’s not really my job. My job is to coach the team. But, I think our joint practices give us extra opportunities to evaluate the team. That’s why we use them.

"I’d say probably almost every team in the league does that. There might be a couple who don’t, but most of them do one, sometimes two. It seems to me like most of the teams want that type play and competition and opportunity rather than less of it. You want to play against somebody else. I don’t know why you wouldn’t schedule a few extra scrimmage days. But, you should talk to the experts about that. That’s not really my . . . we just play by the rules."

Rodney Harrison apologizes for saying Kaepernick is ‘not black’

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Rodney Harrison apologizes for saying Kaepernick is ‘not black’

Former Patriots safety Rodney Harrison apologized on Twitter for saying Colin Kaepernick wasn’t black after saying in an earlier radio interview that the 49ers quarterback wouldn’t understand the discrimination people of color face every day.

“I’m a black man, and Colin Kaepernick, he’s not black,” Harrison told a Houston radio station. “He cannot understand what I face and what other young black men and black people or people of color face on a every single [day] basis when you walk in the grocery store, and you might have two or three thousand dollars in your pocket and you go up into a Foot Locker and they’re looking at you like you’re about to steal something. I don’t think he faces those type of things that we face on a daily basis.”

Kapernick, who ignited a controversy when he refused to stand for the national anthem before a preseason game to protest racial injustice, is biracial. His birth mother is white and he was adopted by white parents.

Harrison, now an NFL analyst for NBC Sports, later tweeted the following: 

 

 

 

Brady believes Patriots will have plenty of emotion, energy without him

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Brady believes Patriots will have plenty of emotion, energy without him

FOXBORO -- Tom Brady has been an emotional leader for the Patriots since he took over the starting quarterback's gig back in 2001. He leads the team out onto the field. He screams and yells and holds his teammates accountable and generally plays with a level of passion that borders on hysteria. 

Brady was asked how the Patriots might cope without him for the first four weeks of the regular season.

"We’ve got a lot of great leaders on this team," he said. "The veterans, I think we’ve got like -- we’ve got a lot of really good players, a lot of really good leaders. I think we’ve always done a good job cultivating guys to step in and fill the void. I think we’ll do a great job with that. Between our coaches and our players, we’ve got a lot of great leaders, so I’m very confident in that. We’ll go out and play with a lot of energy and emotion that we always do."

The last time the Patriots went without Brady for an extended period of time was in 2008 when he suffered a season-ending knee injury. Brady explained that during that stretch, he wasn't able to expend much energy watching games because he was so focused on getting well. This time, he hopes to return to the team with an improved perspective on his job.

"It will be tough to watch, but it will be fun to watch in some ways to see what it looks like when you’re not there," Brady said. "That’s a different perspective. Hopefully I can use that perspective and then come back with better perspective saying, ‘Wow, I really noticed some things that maybe I wouldn’t have seen had I been there.’ So that’s kind of what I’m going to try to do."