Patriots hope to work with another team in training camp
The Sports Xchange
--The Patriots have spoken to the New Orleans Saints about getting together for joint practices during training camp,
but scheduling might be an issue due to the fact New Orleans will play
in this year's Hall of Fame Game on Aug. 5, whereas the Patriots' first
preseason game is Aug. 9.
"It's a little bit of a tight schedule on their
end," Belichick said, "so we'll see how it goes."
The idea is to hold the practices before the
preseason opener. If the Saints can't do it, Belichick said there's
still a chance the Patriots could work with another team to hold joint
practices this summer.
--The Patriots surprised a lot of teams, namely
the Giants, when they claimed former New York tight end Jake Ballard
Ballard likely won't be able to play this year due
to a knee injury, and the Giants were hoping he'd clear waivers so
they'd be able to add him to the physically unable to perform list
rather than have him take up a spot on the preseason roster.
"We'll move along with his rehab, and see how that
goes," Belichick said. "He seems to be doing relatively well for where
he was at when he had the surgery."
Fighting The Elements
--Bad weather usually isn't considered lucky, but
special teams coach Scott O'Brien didn't mind the dreary conditions
because it allowed his kick returners to work on fielding the ball
under duress, namely rain and wind.
"It's a great experience," O'Brien said, "because,
especially specialists, they always have something to fall back on.
Bill does a good job, even if we're not getting bad elements of mixing
them in, if it's wet balls and things like that.
"It's always good to know exactly what we get here
as far as wind patterns, being able to focus on the conditions of being
wet, all that kind of stuff. It's good, it's great experience."
The Patriots haven't settled on any specific
players for kick- and punt-return duty, but one name being mentioned is
veteran receiver Donte Stallworth, who's back on the roster following a
one-year stint with New England during their perfect season in 2007.
"Donte's just like (cornerback) Devin (McCourty),"
O'Brien said. "When we got Devin as a rookie, we got him exposed to it,
and we got him experience doing it, so he does it, too. You never have
enough; it's been good so far for those guys."
Gregory Filling The Gap
--The feedback on veteran safety Steve Gregory has
been positive thus far. The Patriots are hoping the former San Diego
Charger can fill a void in their pass defense, a problem that has
plagued them throughout the past two years.
"He's a smart dude," safety Patrick Chung said.
"He can make plays. He can see things. He's a veteran out there. I'm
learning things from him, too. He might see things I don't see. He's
picking up on the stuff. He's picking it up fast, so it's good."
Added safeties coach Brian Flores: "He's done a
good job during these OTAs and minicamp. He's bright. He's a team guy.
Wherever we put him, he's done a good job, learning the defense. He's
great. What I like about him is that he's a team-first guy. He's
willing to learn all positions. He's very versatile, and he's smart."