Minicamp Report Day One
FOXBOROUGH By now you've heard that defensive lineman Richard Seymour has been a no-show at mandatory minicamp. The storyline for day one was dominated by the news about the all-pro not reporting to camp. Other storylines such as Tedy Bruschi's health and Rodney Harrison's contract concerns played second fiddle. Patriots Insider recaps the events of Day One, and takes look at some of the other items affecting players hoping to land a spot on the roster.
Richard Seymour MIA
Seymour's absence took center stage on Thursday as news of the former Georgia standout's status permeated the wires. While Seymour and his agent were unavailable for comment, the Patriots' head coach responded to questions about number 93 in his usual gruff manner. "Unexcused" was the word of the day.
Belichick, who is usually short in his responses when asked questions about contracts, told the media "I wouldn't comment on any player discipline or player contract situations. You know that. I would love to, but I just want to stay consistent with the policy."
Seymour, known to be unhappy about his contract, told reporters to "Ask Bill Belichick" about the contract. Belichick in the news conference turned the tables right back at Seymour. "He's under contract and he's not here," Belichick said. "That's really all I have to say about it. Anything else, you would have to ask Richard about it."
Maybe Belichick didn't mean to phrase it like that, but that's the way it came across.
Bruschi Not Practicing
Following the Seymour news came the expected exchange of "How's Tedy?" as the Patriots' well-known middle linebacker was not seen practicing with the team. Chad Brown and Monty Beisel say they've seen Tedy around the facilities at team meetings, helping them out.
According to their head coach that's an accurate assessment although he declined to elaborate on the matter. "He's been in the meetings," Belichick said. "He's been there just like all of the other players."
Bruschi and Seymour's absence opens the door for some younger players and undrafted hopefuls an opportunity get more familiar with the system through more reps with the units.
Doug Flutie was feeling good back in Patriots colors. Although he may be feeling good, according to those who were watching him in drills he was a little off. That shouldn't be a concern for Flutie as he has a lot on his plate in his efforts to secure a spot on the roster and trying to knock Rohan Davey out of the number two spot.
"Doug has a lot of experience. He's played in a lot of different systems. I think ours has a lot of similarities he's played in, yet it still has some nuances and differences that he's had to adjust to," said of his newly acquired veteran signal caller. "He's definitely picking up and working through it like all the other new players are."
Flutie should worry too much. Davey looked just as "off" when he was learning the system. The issue will be who has better command of the ball when they're on the field, and that won't play out until after full training camps reveal more about the players.
Training camp is scheduled for the end of July, so Flutie should have plenty of time to learn the signals and establish a rhythm with his receivers. Whether or not Flutie will get the second spot will not be based on his veteran status, but what he demonstrates on the field.
"We will play the best players," Belichick said of the competition between Flutie and Davey. "I think Doug is coming along fine and he's learning a system that is a little bit new to him."
Injury Bug Not Vanquished
Givens and Johnson missed sessions with unknown ailments. Johnson and Dwight are recovering from foot injuries. Bruschi's status remains unclear, although he has been cleared to participate in workouts. Ted Johnson did not dress for practice.
Thoughts on what is considered to be the biggest challenge the team faces turned to the offensive and defensive coaching staff. Missing from this camp is sound of Charlie Weis' voice calling out adjustments from across the field. While Eric Mangini, appears to be filling in for Romeo Crennel on the defensive side of the ball, there is no-one to take up Weis' mantle, at least not yet.
Belichick though backed his new defensive coordinator, showing the confidence he has that Mangini can fill in well for Crennel. "There's no question there will be a difference between any two people, I don't care who they are," Belichick said. "There will certainly be some differences. But in terms of teaching the system and understanding and utilizing the system and the way we play defense, I think Eric has a great background for it. I think he'll do a great job with it. That's why he has the job."
Ike Charlton was the first casualty of the numbers game. Charlton who was signed by the team in February to shore up a depleted secondary was given his release by the team on Thursday.
The 5-11 204-pound Charlton is a 4th-year pro who has spent time with Seattle, Jacksonville, The New York Giants and Oakland.
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