My son Mark and his wife Catherine are home from Virginia for ten days or so. Since they're both big sports fans, on Monday I'd thought we could take a ride down to Foxboro and see one of the open practice sessions at Patriots training camp.
Turns out Mark hadn't been to the new stadium yet. I haven't been there since they started surrounding the place with enormous shopping malls. It's impressively, massively tacky around there now... too little green and way too much asphalt.
The practice session, was way cool. Though the afternoon was hot and humid, there was a nice breeze to tone it down and the clouds gathering by the time we arrived eventually gave way to blue sky. I'd guess there were somewhere around 1,000 to 1,500 fans and media watching from the small stadium set-up and grassy knoll surrounding the twin practice fields behind Gillette Stadium.
The big question this year, of course, is the health and recovery prognosis of Tom Brady after last season's knee surgery. Tom, the best quarterback on the planet, sure seemed like his bad ol' se'f during the passing drills.
To help Tom get through a very difficult off-season rehabilitation regimen, every morning Gisele took a break from writing her thesis on alternative fuel sources for inter-stellar travel to make breakfast: a pair of soft-boiled eggs which she would then secrete somewhere on her person and force Tom to hunt them down and consume them while hand-cuffed and blindfolded.
Number 12 was one of the last players on the field; easy to spot in his red practice jersey as every eye went to him. The Pats have four QB's on the roster at this stage: Brady, Mike O'Connell, Andrew Walter, a free-agent cut by Oakland, and rookie Brent Hoyer. To begin practice, the four alternated throwing sideline passes to the running backs. Though Walter can really wing the ball, it was easy to see why Brady is Brady. Hard throws with perfect timing and on the money, time after time.
Effortless... Tom somehow makes it all look easy. Attitude has a lot to do with it, and if Tom has lost even an ounce of confidence with that season-ending injury, you'd never know it. His teammates love him, gravitate to him. At the end of the 90-minute practice, Tom was standing in the middle of a group huddle, screaming at the top of his lungs and pumping his fists. I think Tom will be back, and so will Mr. Lombardi.
I was disappointed Randy Moss and Wes Welker were held out from the afternoon practice. I really wanted to see Randy doing his thing close up. I was also impressed by young Brandon Merriweather, who came to the sidelines after practice to sign autographs. The way he spoke with the fans, he just seemed like a great kid... a great kid who happens to hit like a ton of bricks, mind you.
Patriots fans in a cold-sweat panic and about to abandon ship need to remember the 2004 Superbowl run.
In the first game that year, New England lost to the Buffalo Bills, 34-0. Tom Brady was sacked a number of times and had one of his worst games ever... statistically, at least. It's hard to be on top of game when you're underneath a laughing defensive end or blitzing safety.
Fast-forward to the regular season finale; New England turns it around and dumps the Bills by an identical 34 to zip whitewash. The game wasn't as close as the score indicated, y'all will recall.
You don't how good or how bad your team is and what's needed to improve your chances until at least game six or eight.
That's when the real season--the playoff push--begins.
Blog from the Future Past has been wrongly accused of using the mere mention of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady as an excuse to include a cheesecake photo of GISELLE BUNDCHEN.
On the night Tom Brady injured his knee, Giselle tried to console him by wearing the quarterback's favorite all-gymp panties. Tom's long rehabilitation will allow him more time for in-depth study of Ms. Bundchen's world-class caboose.
Tom Terrific bit the dust yesterday. Out for the year, kaput for the playoffs and beyond.
It's too bad... an injury. No player deserves it, but football is a violent game and the mother of a lot of hard, sometimes fatal accidents.
This is going to make the road to another Superbowl muddy and slow. I figure Tom Brady is worth 10 points more per game than Matt Cassel, not to mention ball control issues and keeping the other offense off the field. If the Pats scored ten less per game last year, they would have been 10-6 instead of 16-0 in the regular season.
On the other hand, other AFC powers seem to have like problems, so who knows?
To tell the truth, toward the end of last year, you started to worry when they weren't blowing off the opposition by more then 30. That's how 'spoiled' we were.
There will be a lot of nail-biters, scratching and clawing. It will be an interesting season.
Football is a game of guts and endurance in the face of extreme violence. Yesterday's game against Indy was one for the ages in that regard.
After the game was over, I said to May, "That was so intense, if my dad were still alive that game would have killed him."
Not sure where Randy Moss has been all our life, but I'm sure glad he finally got here. Moss was the difference maker in the game, the one non-QB you could point to and say, "He's the reason they were able to pull this out".
I have never seen a player with hands that can rip the ball out of the air like Randy can. When the ball is in the air, he goes for it as if he needs it.
Maybe he does.
Randy Moss is often a little embarrassed about his uncontrollable urges to moon the crowd. The Pats wide-receiver recently started up a new charitable foundation to aid those suffering from this debilitating affliction.