Wright feels right at Day 2 of lockout workouts

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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

Are Patriots still 'pissed off' at Ravens for Deflategate role?

Are Patriots still 'pissed off' at Ravens for Deflategate role?

The Patriots should always be motivated heading into games against the Ravens. After all, Baltimore might be the team’s primary rival. 

Yet Monday’s matchup might be about more than past meetings. It could be a revenge game for the Ravens’ role in the Deflategate fiasco. 

As Tom E. Curran notes in the above video, the then-recently eliminated Ravens set off the ordeal when they tipped off the Colts entering the 2014 AFC Championship game. From there, the year-and-a-half-long saga played itself out, ultimately resulting in Tom Brady accepting a four-game suspension from the league. 

Curran and Mike Giardi discussed whether Monday could be a revenge game, with them both concluding that they feel the Patriots are still “pissed off” at the Ravens. 

"I’m just reading the tea leaves,” Curran said. “Bill Belichick will usually throw bouquet after bouquet at the Baltimore Ravens any time they play, from Ozzie Newsome, to George Kokinis, to Eric DeCosta, to John Harbaugh, Dean Pees, everyone. Not a lot of that today. Make of that what you will; I don’t think it’s a coincidence because I do know that when the Patriots were going through the process early on, the fact that the Ravens had dropped a dime -- their assistant special teams coach Jerry Rosburg calling the Indianapolis Colts and saying, “Look there was some foolishness going on with the K balls.’

“Additionally, when that email from the Colts to the NFL was sent to Mike Kensil, it said, 'It’s well-known throughout the league that the Patriots screw with the balls after they’ve been checked by the officials.' So if that conversation was going on during the week between those two teams, one certainly has to surmise that they also spoke about the fact of deflating footballs. 

“So as much as John Harbaugh has tried to dissuade anyone from thinking there was involvement, Dean Pees was interviewed by Ted Wells, Jerry Rosburg was interviewed by Ted Wells. Those are the only two principals from other organizations who were involved, so yeah, I think they’re still probably pretty pissed off about it.” 

What if Belichick had coached the Ravens? 'I think we would've been competitive'

What if Belichick had coached the Ravens? 'I think we would've been competitive'

FOXBORO -- Ever wonder what might've been if Bill Belichick had remained the coach of the Browns, and later the Ravens, after they moved from Cleveland? He says he doesn't.

[And maybe it's a good thing that he doesn't, as his last memories with the organization saw fans literally rip the team's stadium apart and throw it onto the field.]

"I haven't spent a lot of time thinking about it, no," Belichick told Baltimore reporters during a conference call on Wednesday. "I try to think ahead and make the best of the situation that I’m in, which is what I tried to do when I was in Cleveland. I took a team that wasn’t very good in 1991, prior to free agency and all of that, had a real good team in 1994. The team moved in 1995."

The decision to move the team helped undo the Browns season in 1995, and Belichick was later fired. There's little denying, though, that he left the pieces of a competitive roster behind. And he helped stock the Ravens' cupboard with valuable assets.

Five years after Belichick's tenure in Cleveland had expired, the franchise won a Super Bowl with linebacker Ray Lewis -- drafted with a pick Belichick had acquired -- as its foundational piece. 

"We made a trade that provided two first-round picks that Ozzie [Newsome] did a great job with," Belichick continued. "Ozzie and Ray Lewis were two of the cornerstones of that eventual championship team.

"I have a lot of confidence in my ability, I had a lot of confidence in the coaching staff and the players that we had at that time – 1995 wasn’t obviously a great year for us. I don’t think we need to talk about that. We all know what happened. But yeah, I think we would have been competitive if I had been the head coach there. I think we would have been competitive. We had a good team, we had a good staff, and we had a lot of good players.

"Ozzie did a good job with that team and made it better, and they won a championship five years later [with] some of the same players that we started with. But you know, it wasn’t my choice, Ted [Marchibroda] came in there and was going to transition that for what they needed at that point in time. But I haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about it, no."