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Patriots Daily Briefing 08.04.11

Posted by Greg A. Bedard  August 4, 2011 10:12 AM

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Good morning. Here is your PDB for Thursday, Aug. 4, 2011. It contains all the links, info, analysis and occasional humor that you'll need to go about your day. If you can't detect sarcasm or take yourself and/or football too seriously, this may not be your thing.

WHAT'S ON TAP

Today

- 4:30-7:30 p.m., Practice.

Tomorrow

- 1:30-4 p.m., Practice

TOP OF THE NEWS

- ProFootballTalk.com reported the Patriots are $9.2 million under the cap, but that was as of Tuesday. That figure likely includes the $3 million veteran exception, but probably doesn't include Matt Light or BenJarvus Green-Ellis. They are probably closer to $4.5 million under the cap right now. Of course, the Patriots could open up even more cap room by getting a long-term deal worked out with guard Logan Mankins.

Remember that teams don't spend right up to the cap to start the year. You still need room if you want to give out extensions to, for example, Wes Welker or Jerod Mayo.

And any restructures with Chad Ochocinco (likely) or Albert Haynesworth would also clear up room, but wouldn't happen until after the CBA is ratified.

- CB Ras-I Dowling couldn't go back-to-back practices after signing, and RB Shane Vereen was injured halfway through last night. Not a good couple of days for the rookies. You don't want to sign late and then get hurt. That really gets you off on the wrong foot.

TO RECAP

- Dan Shaughnessy can't wrap his mind around Chad Ochocinco's group hug with the media. Yeah, neither can I. For the record, I abstained. There's no cheering in the press box, and there's definitely no hugging.
- I took a look at the evolution of the Patriots' defense. Right now we have only circumstantial evidence about any potential shift, but it's certainly interesting (I'll have some numbers in a follow-up blog post).
- RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis is back in the fold.
- Shaughnessy and Bob Ryan debate Albert Haynesworth.
- Training Camp Today looks at Matt Light's return.
- Shalise delivers the mail.
- The Rundown on last night's shells practice. Ochocinco is making strides.

AROUND THE DIVISION

Here's the tally so far:

PATRIOTS--Additions: WR Chad Ochocinco (trade), DE Albert Haynesworth (trade), DL Steve Williams, OL Jonathan Compas, OL Chris Morris. Re-signings: LT Matt Light, LG Logan Mankins, RB Sammy Morris, RB Kevin Faulk, LB Tracy White, S Brandon McGowan. Subtractions: OLB Tully Banta-Cain, DB Tony Carter, DL Marcus Stroud, DL Ty Warren, TE Alge Crumpler, OL Nick Kaczur, LB Anthony Leonard, LB Ryan Coulson, QB Jonathan Crompton.

JETS--Additions: WR Plaxico Burress, P Chris Bryan (Bucs), CB Donald Strickland (Chargers). Re-signings: CB Antonio Cromartie, WR Santonio Holmes, RT Wayne Hunter, S Eric Smith, K Nick Folk, T Robert Turner, QB Mark Brunell, S Brodney Pool. Subtractions: WR Brad Smith (Bills), OL Damien Woody (retirement), CB Will Billingsley (waivers), G Marlon Davis (waivers), P Steve Weatherford (Giants), CB Drew Coleman (Jaguars), OLB Jason Taylor (Dolphins).

DOLPHINS: Additions: RB Reggie Bush (trade with Saints), LB Jason Trusnik (Browns), QB Matt Moore (Panthers), LB Kevin Burnett (Chargers), DL Ronald Fields (Broncos), LB Jason Taylor (Jets), OT Marc Colombo (Cowboys). Re-signings: DL Tony McDaniel. Subtractions: QB Tyler Thigpen (Bills), LB Channing Crowder, LB Tim Dobbins.

BILLS: Additions: QB Tyler Thigpen (Dolphins), WR Brad Smith (Jets), DL Lionel Dotson (Dolphins), LB Nick Barnett (Packers). Re-signings: CB Drayton Florence, LB Garrison Sanborn, TE Scott Chandler. Subtractions: LB Paul Posluszny (Jaguars).

Further reading...

Jets

- RB Shonn Greene is ready to step it up. Bet you've never heard that one before.
- Rex Ryan is still saying UMass product Vlad Ducasse "is going to be a tremendous player." Is Vegas taking action on this? Please?
- Ravens WR Derrick Mason will visit the Jets. Why do they feel the need to replace Jerricho Cotchery?
- Former Colts OC Tom Moore views himself more as an observer with the Jets.
- S Brodney Pool is back. I have no idea what this means.
- The Jets only offered DE Shaun Ellis one year at the minimum? The Patriots should get in on that. Ellis kicked their ass last season, and they had to double him when he didn't. Would be a great third-down replacement for Vince Wilfork. At the least the Patriots could drive up the price for the Jets to keep Ellis.

Dolphins

- Kory Sheets doesn't want people to view him as just a third-down back. Uh, Kory, some of us don't view you at all. Who are you again?
- Vernon Carey took a pay cut and his moving to guard to make room for Marc Colombo.
- Coach Tony Sparano said it made him sick when fans chanted for Kyle Orton. That joke is too easy to make.
- Dave Hyde, you know I love you, but you can't be writing Brett Favre-to-the-Dolphins columns. Come on man!
- Jay Glazer reported Tiki Barber worked out for the Dolphins.

Bills

- Apparently the Bills are sticking with the 3-4. Rookie Marcell Dareus would played left, Kyle Williams in the middle and Dwan Edwards (RE) would be the starting line. Corner is the area with the most competition so far in camp.
- Thought that with Dareus and Williams, the Bills might go to the 4-3 -- they'll end up being a hybrid -- especially with former Dolphins coach Dave Wannstedt now on the staff.

"My role is to help Chan and George Edwards and the other guys on defense," said Wannstedt, who is also the inside linebackers coach. "Anyway that I can contribute defensively, that's why I'm here and that's my motive. Chan and I have such a good rapport that the two of us can talk about it and hopefully I can give him some thoughts on past experiences that help. My approach is that I've kind of done it all, so wherever I can be the most assistance, I'm ready to go."

During Wannstedt's 16 years in the NFL, his teams have ranked among the top 12 on defense 11 of those years, though they were all 4-3 teams. The Bills are professing to be a 3-4 base team, though they will sprinkle in some 4-3 as well, an idea that Wannstedt likes.

"As long as we continue to not try to do everything, taking a small section of the 3-4 and a small section of the 4-3 and working those things and getting really good at it, it's good and it can be done," he said. "The key to defense is not making mistakes, being aggressive, and giving your players chances to make plays."

ELSEWHERE IN THE NFL UNIVERSE

- RIP, Bubba Smith.
- When the CBA is done today, Roger Goodell will have still have control of the conduct policy, Adam Schefter reported.
- Eagles DT Mike Patterson is doing fine after his on-field seizure.
- This Osi Umenyiora thing isn't done yet.

News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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