Bob Neumeier has all the headlines and highlights for Tuesday, July 12, including Adrian Gonzalez' and David Ortiz' take on the Derby, and Jacoby Ellsbury's thoughts on being named to the All-Star team.
FOXBORO -- Resistance is futile.
You see this team out there scampering around from drill to drill on a cloudy, late-July day, not a lollygagger to be seen, everything moving with military precision, and you know what it looks like?
It looks like 80-something players and a coaching staff starting NFL training camp.
What is it really? It's the first day of work for the NFL's greatest dynasty as it embarks on what will likely be a historic campaign.
Never mind "may." Never mind "has a chance." It is LIKELY the Patriots will be the first team to ever win 19 games in a single NFL season.
Between now and the start of the season, a parade of indignant former players, coaches and executives will snort and chortle at how absurd the conversation is.
Frankly, they don't know what the hell they're talking about.
That won't stop all of them from scoffing at the prospect of 19-0 the same way Curtis Strange scoffed at Tiger Woods back in 1996 when Woods said coming in "second sucks and third is worse." You'll learn, Strange said.
Strange learned. Everybody learned. Maybe the experts should have seen it coming with Tiger. Maybe not.
But with the 2017 Patriots, a failing to see what's likely to happen means willfully ignoring facts to do it. The Patriots went 17-2 last year. They lost to Buffalo because their third-string quarterback's thumb was dangling. They lost to Seattle on a night they handed the ball to the Seahawks repeatedly and still were at the Seattle 1-yard line with 30 seconds left with a chance to send the game to overtime but came away with nothing.
They played poorly in the AFC Divisional Playoff against Houston and won by 18. They played "meh" against the Steelers in the AFC Championship and led 33-9 after three quarters. (Don't "But Le'Veon Bell" me. Would Le'Veon Bell have been covering Chris Hogan? No? Okay. Pay attention).
In the Super Bowl, they spotted Atlanta -- a team being favorably compared to the Greatest Show on Turf Rams -- 25 points, and they wiped out that 25-point deficit in 23 minutes of play.
Since they walked off the field in Houston, they added a Pro Bowl corner named Stephon Gilmore to play opposite their other Pro Bowl corner, Malcolm Butler. They added a wide receiver named Brandin Cooks, who caught 162 passes the past two seasons for 2,311 yards and 17 touchdowns. And they will also unveil once again the best tight end of his generation, Rob Gronkowski.
They have a head coach who is definitely the best of the free agency era, probably the best of the Super Bowl era and arguably the best of all time. Their quarterback has even fewer qualifiers around his greatness and legacy.
The crème de la crème of the rest of the league is sludge. Smug Aaron Rodgers is tethered to the moon-faced buffoon in Green Bay, Mike McCarthy, a head coach who could overcomplicate ordering coffee. In Pittsburgh, Ben Roethlisberger is fat and fresh off an offseason spent contemplating retirement and Ring Dings. The Cowboys' maturity issues start with their 70-something owner and cascade right down to their enabled superstars Ezekiel Elliott and Dez Bryant. Denver? Trevor Simien. Atlanta? Their motto this year is "Embrace the Suck." What does that even mean? That they enjoyed the Red Wedding that was the second half of the Super Bowl so much, they just want to roll around in humiliation for another year? Dear God.
My point with all that is that there is no Peyton Manning out there to be the Frazier to Brady's Ali. And while there may be a coach out there with gray matter who could battle Belichick, that coach hasn't spent 18 seasons collecting assistants and coordinators and creating a program where they can tell a player to shit in the corner and the player asks, "What color?"
Don't fight it. Don't scoff at it. Don't be like those people who, in 2001 and 2002 were still saying Tom Brady was a product of the system and that the Patriots would rue the day they traded Drew Bledsoe within the division. Open your eyes. Think critically. What do you see.
FOXBORO -- David Harris has been used to doing things one way for a decade as a member of the New York Jets. But when he walked onto the field for his first day of training camp practice in New England, thus began a foray into a whole new world for the 33-year-old linebacker.
"I don't think I've ever seen this many fans for a training camp practice," Harris said with a smile on Thursday.
The differences between life as a Jet and life as a Patriot don't end there, of course. You won't catch Harris putting down his former club -- he says he harbors no resentment toward the Jets for how their split came about during the offseason -- but he readily acknowledges the benefits of being in Foxboro.
It's all about football, he explained. And that's a good thing, because he doesn't have any time for much else right now after arriving to the club following spring workouts.
"I told some guys I feel like a transfer student, coming in late and pretty much hit the ground running," he said. "I have to spend more time in the playbook at night and in the morning and with the coachces to get me up to speed. That's expected for a new guy, and I'm no different."
Harris has been eager to learn how the Patriots do things well before he arrived in town. After he was released, he said he heard from multiple teams, but there was one call he received that ended the decision-making process.
"There were a couple inquiries," he said, "but once the Pats came, I already knew what time it was."
Now comes the work, which isn't limited to learning the Xs and Os of the Patriots scheme.
"The hardest thing is to pick up the playbook and learning teammates names and putting names to faces," he said. "I played against them for 10 years . . . but the guy behind the facemask, that's the main thing I'm trying to focus on right now."
Harris made up a group of off-the-ball linebackers during Thursday's session that included Shea McClellin, Kyle Van Noy and Elandon Roberts. Dont'a Hightower remains on the physically unable to perform list for now, but how Harris might impact Hightower's game will be one storyline to watch once they're able to share the field.