We're already on Day Three of Patriots training camp, can anyone believe preseason games start next weekend? Football is back, baby!
A few things that have popped out to me in the first couple days of Pats camp:
Tank Williams is getting a lot of work at linebacker. He's about 6'2, 220 pounds, a lot lighter than middle linebackers have been in the past for this 3-4 defense where their job is to take on guards.
I am a bit surprised Mayo and Hobson are running with the second team. Perhaps the best way for them to compete for the starting position is to play side-by-side. Or Tank playing LB is just a new wrinkle to make the Pats faster on defense.
We still haven't seen Rodney Harrison practice. When he returns keep an eye out for what happens to Tank (who is quickly becoming one of my favorite additions and not just because his name is Tank).
The Hoodied One is always on the lookout for how the game is evolving and tries to evolve as well. Those who don't adapt will lose many football games. Ask the Raiders, they're still trying to build a running team when the game is now played pass-first.
Perhaps it will evolve at some point back to run-heavy. But right now, you have to have a QB who can fling it if you want to win. Is Jamarcus Russell that guy? We're about to find out.
This is also why I don't get the "Vikings are Legit" crowd. Until Tavaris Jackson beats a good team in a hostile environment on the strength of his arm I'm skeptical.
Until that point they're still just another in a long line of NFC Central teams with great defenses/running games but shaky QBs, that ultimately won't be able to keep up with devastating passers like Eli "Why's Everyone Still Making Fun of Me?" Mannning.
Anyway, back to the Pats. With Eillis Hobbs on the PUP list, Jason Webster and Fernando Bryant have been the starters. Both have gotten a couple positive mentions from those watching camp and liveblogging (when their batteries don't die during the first day of camp, thanks Patriots Fan Weekly!).
Rooks Jonathan Wilhite and Terrence Wheatley haven't been mentioned too much. Maybe that's a good thing and they're not getting lit up. Wilhite did have a pick six today, but it was off Matt Cassell.
The battle has just begun at Cornerback.
Then there's our good buddy Chad "the Chad" Jackson. Despite some rare praise from Belichick in his press conference, the Chad has been catching more flack than footballs.
He muffed a kickoff return on Saturday, got stern talking to from Brady on Friday. Not exactly how you want to start off camp.
Granted, all eyes are on the Chad. I'm guessing Belichick's glowing (by the Hoodied One's standards) review of the Chad's offseason was purposely done to make sure he stays confident.
It's still early, plenty of time for Jackson. Even Randy Moss dropped a pass Friday.
Other than that it's business as usual in Pats Camp 2008. Mayo blasted Kyle Eckle and Sammy Morris on separate days, Maroney is running hard, Brady is fired up, and it seems like the 2007 Patriots with all their baggage, good and bad, are all but forgotten.