Activity will be a bit slower on this blog over the next few weeks, as I'll be away on vacation. The plan will be to begin regular postings on July 15.
If there is a significant news-related item regarding the Patriots, colleague Christopher L. Gasper has plans to post here.
Until July 15, here are a few Patriots-specific thoughts from the offseason:
Attendance can't be overlooked. One of the big questions in the NFL is sure to be "how will the Patriots respond to losing Super Bowl XLII?" If the attendance at voluntary organized team activities is any indication, the club is as hungry as ever. Every player was present.
Areas on the roster to monitor for possible additions. With some uncertainty surrounding right tackle Nick Kaczur's off-field situation and starting right guard Stephen Neal still recovering from a knee injury that knocked him out of Super Bowl XLII, offensive line would be near the top of the list. The team hosted free-agent Barry Sims on June 11 (he ended up signing with San Francisco). The club has also met with a few free-agent running backs (Samkon Gado, Kevin Jones), but that might be for more down-the-road planning if Sammy Morris experiences a setback upon his return to full-contact work. Tight end would also be high on the list, with both Benjamin Watson and David Thomas looking to come back from injuries.
Defense -- faster and more diverse. After watching minicamps and a few organized team activities, the potential diversity of the defense stands out, and will be a story to monitor come training camp and the preseason. Through much of his tenure in New England, Bill Belichick has preferred the unit to be multiple, with the ability to play the 3-4 on one snap, and the 4-3 on another. That requires some special characteristics among players, and the Patriots seem to have injected the defense with various parts to help them be faster and more multiple.