Wright feels right at Day 2 of lockout workouts

191543.jpg

Wright feels right at Day 2 of lockout workouts

By TomE. Curran
CSNNE.com

CHESTNUT HILL Informal. But still damn important.

For Mike Wright, the lockout workouts held Wednesday and Thursday at Boston College give the Patriots defensive tackle a chance to get back to a place he couldnt even think about last fall.

On the field with his teammates.

Sidelined much of last season by a debilitating concussion and its aftereffects, Wright took a minute Thursday to talk about being back on the field even in this limited basis with 40 or so teammates.

Its been great, said Wright, who led the Patriots with 5.5 sacks despite his limited playing time. Its good to be back with the guys and working together. Its a chance to see some new faces, some old faces. Its good to get out there and get going for next season.

With NFL owners meeting with players head DeMaurice Smith in Chicago this week in advance of Fridays court hearing in St. Louis, were getting the strongest indication in some time that real work toward ensuring a full season is being done.

Meanwhile, Thursdays workout was a reminder of how far behind the players are getting despite their best efforts at working independently.

Normally, this would be the week the Patriots conduct their June mini-camp. It would have followed OTAs and passing camp and the rookies would have already attended their rookie mini-camp.

But this shorts and t-shirts workout on Thursday with no contact and no coaches is the most important team-wide exercise of the star-crossed offseason of 2011. How much technical correction can be done in real time? And if the practice isnt taped and then broken down, how can development happen? How much can be installed? How much can be done when players who have had their health benefits suspended by the league are loathe to get injured and have their jobs in jeopardy in the fall?

Despite all that, the benefit for the players is there. Mostly, its team building.

Whos in? Thats a question that was answered by attendance and the level of fitness players showed up in.

And if any were looking for an example of commitment, they could find veteran running back Kevin Faulk. Faulk is a free agent and coming back from a blown ACL. Yet he was on the field Thursday, moving with the quickness and confidence were accustomed to seeing.

For players like Wright, the chance to be on the field with guys hes fought next to was refreshing.

I feel much better, said Wright. Its good to be back in it and its good to be working with the guys and getting back into a normal routine. It lasted a while. Im just glad that its over. It was a lot longer than expected but Ive moved past it and Im just looking forward to next year.

Now we just need next year to get here.

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

Quick Slants Podcast: Antonio Brown’s betrayal; Matt Light; eyeing up Pittsburgh

cp-podcast_86.png

Quick Slants Podcast: Antonio Brown’s betrayal; Matt Light; eyeing up Pittsburgh

Tom E. Curran and Phil Perry discuss the aftermath of Antonio Brown’s Facebook Live video. Curran interview Matt Light ahead of the AFC Championship. They dissect the press conferences of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, and look at how to beat the Steelers.

SUBSCRIBE iTunes | Google Play | Spotify | Stitcher | AudioBoom

2:29 Antonio Brown’s Facebook Live aftermath

13:14 Stopping Le’Veon Bell

27:16 heywassyonumba? with Patrick Chung and Kyle Van Noy

32:30 Injury report updates for AFC Championship

36:51 Brady and Belichick’s press conferences

44:50 Matt Light interview

Belichick asked if playing at home helps: 'Go ask Dallas and Kansas City'

Belichick asked if playing at home helps: 'Go ask Dallas and Kansas City'

FOXBORO -- Bill Belichick knows that how you play, not where, is what matters most. 

That's why when he was asked on Wednesday about the advantage the Patriots will have by playing at Gillette Stadium in the AFC title game, he wasn't willing to go all-in on how a comfortable environment will positively impact his team.

"I don’t know," he said. "Go ask Dallas and Kansas City."

The Patriots apparently thought enough of home-field advantage that they played their starters throughout their regular-season finale win in Miami, exposing their best players to potential injury in order to maintain their positive momentum while simultaneously ensuring a better road to the Super Bowl. 

The Patriots fans in attendance on Sunday will help when the Patriots take on the Steelers, Belichick acknowledged. But there's much more to it than that. 

"Yeah, of course," he said, "but the game is won by the players on the field. That’s who wins football games – the players. And they’ll decide it Sunday night."

And if you needed any further proof, just ask the Cowboys and Chiefs how helpful their home crowds were in the Divisional Round.