Extra Points

Patriots Daily Briefing 08.01.11

Good morning. Here is your PDB for Monday, Aug. 1, 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.



– No practice.


– To be announced. Patriots have not released the schedule for any further practices.


– Matt Light agreed to a two-year contract yesterday, meaning that not only is the offensive line intact, but the entire starting offensive unit.

Key move for the Patriots. Sometimes the biggest moves a team can make is to retain its core, and Light has been a part of the Patriots’ championship backbone now going on 11 years. Nate Solder still isn’t in camp – and that may not be resolved soon – so the Light signing had to happen after the rookie did not have the benefit of any offseason practices. We don’t know the financials yet, but I’d be willing to wager it was fair to both sides. Light didn’t want to leave the only team he’s ever known. I’d be willing to bet he didn’t even listen to any other offers.


– Speaking of rookie signings, it would not surprise me one bit if the problem with the Patriots’ draft picks, especially Solder, is that the Patriots don’t want to guarantee the fourth year of the deals, let alone an entire contract. Bill Belichick and Bill Polian, who is drawing a line on a guaranteed fourth year, are a lot more alike then they probably care to admit. I talked about the problems with this year’s rookie deals, including the battle over the fourth year, in Sunday Notes. Adrian Clayborn’s deal with the Bucs at No. 20 really screwed things up. Everybody wants a fully guaranteed deal now.
– Brandon Spikes talked about his suspension from last season.
– There was a little buzz in the air with Albert Haynesworth’s debut yesterday at practice. It was impressive but very brief. Looking forward to seeing more.
– There’s more on Spikes, Haynesworth and many others in The Rundown from the practice. It was not a good day for the offense.
– A couple of hours before we reported the Light signing, I posted the 88-man roster. Which now wrong and at 89. Thanks BB!

The Patriots now have 13 defensive linemen. That’s a ridiculously large number for a “3-4 team.” After we saw more four-man fronts for the first time yesterday — and I’m not saying if it was base, nickel or dime, or what the personnel was because that trends toward strategy — it’s safe to say the Patriots are no longer a 3-4 defense They are a hybrid, at the least. Started moving that way last year with all the sub packages teams now play. I wouldn’t rule out seeing more two-man lines in the nickel, which Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers has featured the past two seasons with great success in this copycat league.


– Director of player personnel Nick Caserio said RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis, a restricted free agent, is expected back this week. He wouldn’t be able to practice until Aug. 4 in any event.


Here’s the tally so far:

PATRIOTSAdditions: WR Chad Ochocinco (trade), DE Albert Haynesworth (trade), DL Steve Williams. 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.

JETSAdditions: 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. 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).

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

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…


– In the wee small hours of the morning, the Jets re-signed talented cornerback Antonio Cromartie.

Woooooo! Jets are Super Bowl-bound now baby! No, Rex Ryan didn’t say that. One of the beat writers did. Oh, and his lead to the story was “Al-Cro-traz is open for business again.” I see what you did, Manish. Very clever.

– Call me crazy but I’d be a little bit wary giving Cromartie a four-year, $32-million contract. But maybe that’s just me.
– Plaxico Burress preferred returning to the Giants, but the Jets offered more straight cash homey.
– Do we really need to hear from Joe Namath everytime the Jets breathe?


– Former Giants center Shaun O’Hara is visiting.
– OT Jake Long started on the PUP list.
– Sun-Sentinel beat writer Omar Kelly writes WR Brandon Marshall “is bravest person I’ve known.That’s, um, interesting.


– The Bills made an under-the-radar move to add LB Nick Barnett, who was released by the Packers.

Will be watching what’s going on up there with the defense. With top pick Marcell Dareus paired with stellar Kyle Williams in the middle, the Bills appear to be building a Dolphins-like defense circa the late 1990s. Makes sense since former Dolphins coach Dave Wannstedt is there as an assistant head coach. But George Edwards is still the coordinator. We think. Anyway, Barnett would play the Zach Thomas role. Barnett’s a good, underrated player but he can play a little undisciplined at times, and he may need to slim down a little to be a better fit in that scheme. Of course, you only have a prayer of that scheme working if you have two dynamite press corners. The Dolphins had Sam Madison and Patrick Surtain. Not sure the Bills have those yet.


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