Looking through the comments on the blog and answering more questions ...
That seems impressive that [Shawn Springs] keeps his own through notebook on receivers. Is that a common practice among players to keep their own extensive notes, or is it more the norm to let the team do the prep work for opposing players and teams?
Springs seems to keep more detailed notes than the average player, but I think note-taking like that has been around for ages. I asked Ty Law about it and this is what he said: "It's pretty common, especially if you see a top guy twice a year, or if it's somebody you respect but don't see too often outside your division. You don't want to get embarrassed because you don't know him."
What running backs make the final roster? Does Alex Smith look like a viable H-back type?
At this point, I'd go with Kevin Faulk, Fred Taylor, Sammy Morris and Laurence Maroney, with BenJarvus Green-Ellis's spot contingent on injuries and what happens at other spots on the roster. I think Alex Smith will be on the team and is indeed a viable H-back type. He should help the Patriots.
I'm excited about Dante Scarnecchia's group on the offensive line this year. I look for us to be both able to establish the run game and protect Brady. Is my enthusiasm misplaced?
I don't think so, Edmund. I thought the Patriots' line did a good job in 2008 in the run game (7th in the NFL in average yards per carry -- 4.4) and that group returns intact. I think the exciting part for Scarnecchia is having some young players to work with like second-round pick Sebastian Vollmer, who has been lining up at left tackle. Also, fourth-round pick Rich Ohrnberger, who has gotten some work in at center. So I think the present and the future looks bright for this group.
I've heard it mentioned by multiple sources (including you in this chat) that Vince could get the team to agree to not franchise him next year. When this has happened in the past, the franchise tag contract amount would have been so high that it was unlikely the Pats would do it anyway, but Wilfork is at a position the Patriots value and his number would be low at about 6 million (less than 5% of the cap). The Pats could still tag him again at a relatively modest amount which means they must feel they can control the player for three years if he does not want to accept a home town discount contract. I don't see the Patriots making any concessions except maybe a handshake deal to franchise him and trade him so he can get paid next year. What are your thougts on this logic?
From a black-and-white, cut-throat business perspective, you are 100 percent correct and I have no arguments. The Patriots would be giving up leverage by agreeing not to franchise-tag Wilfork, especially based on the reasonable franchise-tag figure that is projected for 2010. But I still think they will agree to that type of short-term concession -- whether it's agreeing not to tag him, or upping his 2009 base salary to put him closer in line with top nose tackles. Considering the entire context of Wilfork's situation, I think the Patriots agree that Wilfork is worthy of a raise from his $2.2 million salary and with that in mind, they can avoid having an unhappy player in their locker room. Sometimes these situations can affect a player's performance and resonate through a locker room. I think the situation outlined above, specific to Wilfork, would lead to more problems for the team. In the end, I believe the sides will reach an acceptable compromise that works for both of them. There is nothing dirty at play here and both sides have said it is nothing personal.
Is [being prohibited from posting information at practice] acceptable to you? ... There's no competitive advantages to be gained from you taking a head count at a mandatory off-season workout.
The actual rule instituted by the Patriots is that an update can be provided, but reporters will not be allowed to stay at the practice if they do so. This is sort of an "inside media" question, and I'm not sure there is much interest among the fan base in this. The reason I pointed it out in the previous update is that I figured some Patriots fans would be interested to know if Vince Wilfork was present for mandatory minicamp when practice started at 11 a.m., but based on the rules, that information could not be provided until after the session was over if reporters intended to stay throughout. As for my thoughts, I agree with you about competitive advantage not being sacrificed in the case of Wilfork.
What is the supplemental draft?
The supplemental draft, which is scheduled for July 16, is for players who didn't enter the regular NFL draft but whose situations have since changed. One player to keep an eye on this year is Kentucky DE/OLB Jeremy Jarmon. If he is granted inclusion into the supplemental draft by the NFL -- he's presumably applied, but that is a detailed process -- he'll probably be the first player selected.
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