-- OL John Welbourne was signed by the Patriots Monday. Welbourne spent nine
seasons in the NFL playing for the Philadelphia Eagles (1999-2003) and the Kansas City Chiefs (2004-07).
-- DE Chris Norwell was released by the team on Monday to make room on the
roster for Welbourne. Norwell was a standout defender at Illinois. He joined
the Patriots as an undrafted rookie free agent.
--T Nick Kaczur became the second of 12 Patriots that opened camp on PUP to
be activated and hit the practice field July 27.
--T Pete McMahon signed with New England July 27. The first-year player out
of Iowa has spent time with the Raiders (drafted in the sixth round, 2005),
Browns (practice squad, 2005), Jets (training camp, 2006) and Jaguars (training
camp, 2007). He's never played in an NFL game.
--SS Rodney Harrison was activated from the PUP list July 29 and wasted no
time throwing his body around the practice field with some very physical work
in his first couple days of action.
--C Ryan Wendell, a rookie free agent, was activated and participated in his
first NFL training-camp practice July 31.
--CB Ellis Hobbs, WR Wes Welker and rookie LB Bo Ruud were activated off of
PUP and practiced for the first time Saturday. The transaction left New England
with five players on PUP as of Saturday.
--T Anthony Clement was placed on injured reserve with a knee injury Saturday.
New England immediately filled the roster spot by signing Barry Stokes, another
veteran offensive lineman who has spent time with six teams, most recently Detroit.
Stokes has started 44 of his 83 career games played.
Pollard Gets It
Tight end Marcus Pollard has a unique perspective on the two guys generally
considered the best quarterbacks in the game today. The 14-year veteran spent
10 seasons with the Colts, the bulk of which included catching passes from Peyton Manning.
Now, the first-year Patriot is catching training-camp reps from reigning NFL
MVP Tom Brady. And while he's just getting to know the two-time Super Bowl MVP,
he feels like he has a handle on why the two passers have had such impressive
"Both are very smart, intelligent quarterbacks. Very knowledgeable about
the game. Both are serious competitors, hate losing at all costs. Tall. Strong
arms. I don't know Tom very well yet, but they seem like they're just great
guys to be around every day.
"I think they are just two great quarterbacks. I think they found a way
to be successful. It came with a lot of hard work and they paid a lot of the
prices where a lot of guys would leave early and these guys stay and watch film
and do the extra. In my opinion, they are where they are now because of the
work that they do, not necessarily because it was given to them."
Goal Line Battles
One of the more interesting practice drills during training camp is live, goal-line
work pitting the first units on both sides of the ball against each other. New
England closed practice with such a drill on Thursday and both Sammy Morris
and LaMont Jordan had solid, second-effort touchdown runs in the action.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick joked of the double-edged nature of the drill
afterward, "We win and we lose."
Three of New England's practices last week took place under the watchful eyes
of three officials on hand to help the team navigate through the latest rules
changes and points of emphasis in place for the 2008 season. While most of the
alterations are minor, Bill Belichick still felt it was good to operate with
stricter constraints than the normal training-camp setting provides.
"We have the officials here so we will have them officiate the different
aspects of practice through (July 31) as we try to tighten up our techniques
in pass coverage, offensive holding, offensive line, play alignments and stuff
like that," Belichick said at the start of his press conference. "It
will be good to work with them for the next couple of days."
Davis Mad At Jordan
There was an interesting item in the July 28 San Francisco Chronicle, citing
two league sources, that indicated Al Davis was upset that RB LaMont Jordan
signed with New England. The report claimed that Davis released Jordan under
the provision that he not sign with the Patriots or Broncos.
"One thing I know about the media, a lot of times they have no idea what
they're talking about," Jordan said. "I'm quite sure that if my release
was contingent on that, it wouldn't have just been heard in the Bay Area. It
would have been heard all over. Everybody wants to take a shot at the Patriots,
so I'm quite sure the media would have taken a great opportunity. From my understanding,
my release wasn't based on that. My release was based on the fact the Raiders
no longer wanted me out there. I think that's what it comes down to."
Rodney Is The Unquestioned Leader
"I'm not bossing them around. That's Hot Rod. Can't nobody boss the leader
around." -- Second-year safety Brandon Meriweather, when told that Rodney
Harrison and other veterans have commented on the sophomore's more vocal, take-charge