PHOTO: New England Patriots' Andy Stokes, bottom,
a tight end from William Penn College, stretches with teammates on the first day
of rookie minicamp in Foxboro, Mass., Friday, April 29, 2005. (AP Photo/Elise
A flurry of activity for a
number of players who may never see an NFL field in a game that counts. Patriots'
minicamp began on Friday with rookies and draft picks joining the team for their
Here's an update on what's been going on the first couple
days of minicamp which ends on Sunday, when league rules stipulate rookies must
be allowed to return home.
Day 1: Friday
The first day of minicamp
was a form of orientation into the ways of the NFL for 30 new players that the
Patriots are evaluating. In addition to the Patriots seven draft selections from
the NFL Draft, the team has 10 undrafted free agents and a13 more players trying
The Seven Draft Picks:
Round 1 OG, Logan Mankins
CB, Ellis Hobbs, III
Round 3 OL, Nick Kaczur
Round 4 S, James Sanders
5 LB, Ryan Claridge
Round 7 QB, Matt Cassel
Round 7 TE, Andy Stokes
Undrafted Free Agents Signed for camp
RB DeCori Birmingham of Arkansas
Travis Conway of Virginia Tech
OT Mike Lorenz of Wisconsin
FB Kyle Eckel
FB Matt Phillips of Edinboro
DL Ryan Krug of Connecticut
DL Mike Wright of Cincinnati
LB Andre Torrey of Arizona
S Raymond Ventrone of Villanova
Robbie Gould of Penn State
Thirteen other street free agents looking to
make the roster
The Patriots, as a matter of policy, do not release the
names of players they are talking to or those who try out for the team until they're
Day 2: Saturday
More drills, although the
team skipped the morning practice do to a lack of bodies.
down in numbers a little bit here." Belichick explained. "There's only
so much we can get done with this group and we'll just take that out there this
afternoon and keep our progression going"
Belichick appeared content
with the progress being made in camp, although according to him, there's not much
players can do to change their status other than absorb everything the staff is
trying to share with them. It can be overwhelming to many players, yet those who
will succeed are the ones who work hard at the process.
He went on to discuss
how it can be a little overwhelming at times, so they (the staff) don't try to
do more with some of the players from the bigger schools like Logan Mankins (Fresno State) Vs the ones from the lesser known programs, such as Andy Stokes (William
"I think we're pretty much at the same place with everybody,"
Belichick said. "We're giving them a lot of information, trying to get them
up to speed and get them doing some of things that we do."
brought in 30 players, yet other programs have brought in more. Belichick indicated
it was more of a position decision than a pure quantity decision. "... we
have so many spots on the roster and we bring in people that we think would be
competitive for roster spots," he explained. "You can't sign everybody.
Some places, you have two, three or four guys in for one spot because you are
not sure how that is going to go."
The team will conclude minicamp
on Sunday when league policy dictates the limit on structured process in the offseason.
Rookies and free agents will return home with some of the lessons learned looking
to wrap things up at home before they return to Foxboro.
Some roster changes
were made on Saturday. Matt Phillips, fullback from Edinboro University was given
his release. In addition, the team signed 6 players to the roster.
RB Earl Charles
WR Michael McGrew
G Michel Rogers
DL Santonio Thomas
P Rhett Kopp
hopes that the players they do sign get their personal issues taken care of before
they return. To have a chance to make the roster, they can't be distracted by
school work, finances or family matters, they have to focus on the lessons being
taught to them in camp.
On what he expects out of his rookie class. We'll
give them some material to look at. We'll give them some drills to do. We'll give
them some things to work on in terms of training," Belickick explained. "They
need to do those and get that underway. They have a lot of personal things (to
Realistically, Robbie Gould, the kicker from Penn State
will probably not make the final cut. Teams always bring in extra bodies to make
it through camp, but Belichick would say that's the only reason Gould was in camp
while Vinatieri waits in the wings. Out side of the odd chance that an injury
claims Vinatieri in the offseason, the Patriots are preparing for a "what
Gould also gets an opportunity to showcase his skills
for other teams that might need a kicker.
"We had that situation a
couple of years ago with our kicker that we released that the Giants picked up,
that type of thing," Belichick reflected on kickers having tryouts. "He
kicked for them, I think, on opening day or the second week whatever it was. That's
what those guys have. They get an opportunity, a chance to play in the National
Football League and show everybody what they can do."
The next camp
is officially scheduled for June, but Belichick expects to see the players some
time in May. Until then, they should be doing their homework.
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