It's time to clean out the notebook for this week's Two-Minute Drill, which starts off with a heavy dose of leftovers from a series of stories that I've really enjoyed writing. And then we'll get into Marcus Cannon, Drew Bledsoe, Bill Parcells and an interesting vote that snubbed the two combatants of Super Bowl XXIII.
1. Thanks for all of the positive feedback from the three features I wrote about the trio of Patriots who are on the military/reserve list. If you missed the last one, the purpose was to put the lockout in a different perspective if it disrupts the NFL's scheduled plan to honor the 10-year anniversary of 9/11.
2. For those who have asked, Tyree Barnes is on Twitter, but Eric Kettani is not. "It's just not for me," Kettani said.
3. Oh, it will be, Eric. It will be.
4. Barnes and Kettani both said in Tuesday's feature that they attended the Naval Academy in part due to 9/11. Here is the rest of Kettani's reason:
"I wanted to experience something different. A lot of my friends from Ohio are going to Ohio State, or Ohio University or the MAC schools. I wanted to do something different with my life. I didn't want to go the same path as some people did. Some people say it's ironic, 'You go to the Naval Academy.' It's a hard decision.' I had a great recruiting coach, Jeff Monkin, he's actually the head coach at Georgia Southern right now. In high school, I didn't really know what the Naval Academy was in detail. I went there for a visit. It's something else. It's a pretty amazing place. It's right on the water in Annapolis. It's not a college campus. You can tell right away when you show up."
5. Barnes said his decision to join the Navy opened his eyes to a whole lot of things he never understood when he was still in high school.
"It kind of did, more so that it opens your eyes that the stuff we do is part of something bigger than yourself. That is something you can always reference back to and just know that there's so much more going on in the world that I kind of didn't understand as a 16-year-old high school student going into the Naval Academy."
6. Barnes and Kettani both had very different family stories, too. Both of Barnes' parents were in the Navy, and his father still works as a welder on submarines. Kettani's family doesn't have any military background. His father was born and raised in Algeria, and his mother was born and raised in Ireland. Kettani's brother was also born in Ireland.
7. Kettani has actually been amazed by how much Bill Belichick knows about the Navy. Belichick's father, Steve, served in the Navy and worked for a long time as a coach and scout for the Naval Academy's football program. As a result, Bill Belichick grew up in Annapolis.
8. Kettani and Belichick have discussed this in the past, at least as recently as Veterans Day, when Kettani showed up to a practice at Gillette Stadium.
"I was in school in Newport, R.I. for officer school," Kettani said. "It was called Surface Warfare Officer School. You learn tactics and all that stuff. I stopped up [at Gillette] for a day. I was in my uniform, and I spoke to the team and told them what it means to me, and I spoke to [Belichick] on the sideline. His father coached there for many years, played football, so he group up there as a child and understands what type of a regimented lifestyle it is. It's pretty interesting what he knows. He surprises me at times."
9. It says a lot that there are five players in the NFL who are currently on a team's reserve/military list, and three of them play for the Patriots. The other two are defensive lineman Ben Garland (Broncos) and tight end Travis Dekker (Packers). Garland and Dekker are serving in the Air Force.
10. Due to those numbers, I asked Kettani if he thought Belichick had something of a soft spot for players from Navy.
"A lot of teams, I wouldn't say 'overlook' myself, Tyree or Shun [White], but the NFL is a business. You have to treat it like a business," Kettani said. "I would love to have gotten drafted, but I understand the business aspect. There are two years of waiting. I'm happy that Belichick saw a talented player, and two years is a long time, but I'm only 24 years old."
11. ESPN's Rick Reilly wrote an awesome column about offensive lineman Marcus Cannon, the Patriots' fifth-round draft pick who began chemotherapy treatments during the first day of the draft.
12. In the story, Cannon revealed the Colts were the team that requested a biopsy at the combine. I believe that's the first time Cannon has shed light on that detail.
13. Drew Bledsoe had some interesting perspective when asked about the Patriots' decision to draft quarterback Ryan Mallett.
"I think that was probably a wise move on their part," said Bledsoe, who was inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame this week. "They saw value there in a talented guy who can come in and learn behind Tommy [Brady] for years to come, and then if he's called into service — hopefully that never happens — but if he is called into service, having some talent and learning behind one of the best in the game should serve them well if that ever happens. That backup quarterback position is never important until it becomes the most important thing. That was probably a wise selection on their part to have a quality talent behind Tommy if he ever does get injured."
14. Bledsoe also mentioned the great risk in only having one backup quarterback, which is a strategy the Patriots have used with Brian Hoyer for two seasons. While the extra roster spot is a tremendous luxury to have, the gamble on the backside of that is a huge one.
15. Mallett's skill set is often compared to Bledsoe's, mostly because of the big arm, tall frame and lumbering feet. When Bledsoe was asked if Mallett had a similar playing style, he responded, "That's what it sounds like."
16. Another interesting tidbit from Bledsoe's conference call this week, he said he hasn't spoken to former head coach Bill Parcells since he left the Cowboys in 2006. Bledsoe didn't make it sound like there was any spat between the two, but he joked last month about going back for a second stint with Parcells in Dallas.
17. The Buccaneers announced they turned down their invitation to be on HBO's Hard Knocks for the upcoming season, which is a shame. They'd be an interesting team to watch because of all of their young talent and energetic head coach Raheem Morris. They've also got Kellen Winslow, who has been known to say anything. And then there's LeGarrette Blount, who the world really needs to get to know. Oh well.
18. I was reading through the major changes that will happen to Madden 12 — which will be released no matter what happens with the lockout — and one line jumped out at me. They've implemented a new feature that allows you to trade future draft picks in the franchise mode, and the author dropped the line, "This allows you to mortgage the future for a player you want to trade up to get in this year's draft. Or pretend you are the Patriots and trade down throughout the NFL draft for next year's picks."
19. ESPN has used a panel of eight NFL writers to post a series of top-10 lists throughout the offseason, and the most recent one caught my eye. They ranked the top-10 helmets in the NFL, and the Patriots' silver helmets finished tied for 22nd after they only received one vote from the eight writers. Things likely would have been different if they included old-school helmets. How do Patriots fans feel about the team's silver helmets?
20. It could be worse, though. The Bengals, Cardinals, Falcons, 49ers, Texans and Titans didn't receive a single vote. I'm actually fairly shocked the 49ers and Bengals were left out in the cold on this one.