FOXBORO, Mass. — Well, get a load of this. We've got some football to discuss in this week's Two-Minute Drill, as training camps are opening across the league over the next few days. Let's open things by reflecting on the Patriots' first day back to Gillette Stadium.
1. It was a surreal scene Tuesday at Gillette Stadium, where the media gathered to watch players report for the first day of the post-lockout world. About 20 players were positively identified over the course of an hour or so, and there were probably twice that many at the facility throughout the day.
2. As expected, the players own some serious cars. While I've seen the players' parking lot countless times, I've seldom been able to link a player to his exact car. Until Tuesday, that is, when I saw about 10 players get in or out of their cars.
3. Patrick Chung was Tuesday's winner — other players might have nicer cars, but I either didn't see them get in their car, or they weren't there Tuesday — with a beautiful black Mercedes. Taylor Price has a white Escalade, and Julian Edelman has a black Escalade. Brian Hoyer has a really nice gray Audi, and Darnell Jenkins has a black Mustang in the newer model.
5. Wes Welker said it best when he noted it will be easy to see how hard guys worked out this offseason when they run through their conditioning test Wednesday. The test, as Tedy Bruschi detailed last year for ESPN, can have some type of variation depending on the player's position. Bruschi had to run three sets of 10 50-yard sprints. Each sprint had to be completed in seven seconds, and he got a three-minute break between each set.
6. It's so true, and players can't participate in training camp until they pass the test, so Thursday's attendance list might be very interesting.
7. Chung, on the other hand, lit up when discussing the test. He's ready, not that it should be any surprise.
8. Chung also had the quote of the day Tuesday: "I almost put my helmet on and walked around my house the other day."
9. I think Chung will improve significantly this season, mostly because he's a heck of a player, but also because Matt Patricia will coach the safeties. Patricia has been viewed as the Patriots' smartest assistant coach for the last two or three years.
10. Tuesday was mostly about working out and getting through some paperwork. Some players also chose to take their physicals to avoid the rush Wednesday. It sounds like Bill Belichick didn't have much of a presence with the players, at least not early in the day.
11. When asked about the most difficult part about getting back into football after this layoff, Welker said, "I think everybody getting on the same page and where they line up. I think hearing the play calls will be one of the main things, knowing how to run routes, techniques and having your body learn all that stuff all over again and hearing it all over again. I think that's one of the main things not being able to hear all the calls and understand them all."
12. Welker was joking, but I wasn't a big fan of his reference to running low on money in this quote: "It's great to have [football] back. At this time of year, money starts running low and everything like that, so it's nice to start getting paychecks again. We're excited. It's good to have football back. I know everybody is excited. The fans are excited, and the players are just as excited. We're ready to get out there and play. We haven't had OTAs or anything like that, but there shouldn't be any excuses about guys not being fresh and ready to go. We should be out there having a good camp and some good games coming up in September."
13. That's just not a great P.R. move one day after the league finished haggling over how to split up billions of dollars.
14. Chung began Tuesday's meeting with the media by paying homage to Myra Kraft.
"First, I want to give my condolences because that was hard," Chung said. "It was a great reception. I mean, for her sons to get up there, I don't think I would be able to do that and make it a joyous thing, and happy and positive. My praise goes out to them. It takes a lot of stuff to do that."
15. When it was determined in the CBA negotiations that Logan Mankins would remain as the Patriots' franchise player, I thought it was a no-brainer for him to sign the tender and take his $10 million.
16. Now, will the Patriots try to extend his contract, trade him or simply let him play out the year before getting back into this rodeo all over again? It would make the most sense for the Pats to extend his contract to spread out the guaranteed money from the franchise tag, that's for sure.
17. This might also make it a little easier for the Patriots to start rookie Nate Solder at left tackle. With Mankins alongside Solder, the coaching staff can breathe a little easier about Tom Brady's blind side.
18. I thought Tully Banta-Cain was going to need a good camp to make the team, and that was before the news came out about his abdominal surgery. Since the Patriots wasted very little time informing him of his release Tuesday, it was clear how they felt about his decision to have surgery less than a week before training camp.
19. With the Cowboys reportedly set to release wide receiver Roy Williams, it effectively closes the books on, quite possibly, the worst trade in NFL history. Dallas gave Detroit a first-, third- and sixth-round pick to acquire Williams midway through the 2008 season, and then forked over a six-year, $54 million contract, with a reported $26 million in guaranteed money. In two and a half seasons with the Cowboys, Williams caught 94 passes for 1,324 yards and 13 touchdowns while playing in 40 games.
20. Hey, good for defensive end Charles Johnson for getting six years and $72 million to stay with the Panthers. But I really wonder how much the Falcons offered him. Johnson tweeted the Falcons backed out because they were scared of paying him too much. But one tweet earlier, he said he wants the Super Bowl "now." Again, I'm all for someone improving their quality of life with a big contract, but the Falcons actually have an opportunity to win a Super Bowl in the near future, while the Panthers are a very long way from contending.
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