The New England Patriots opened their minicamp on Saturday at Gillette Staduim. Patriots Insider Jonathan Comey was there observing the rookies as they eagerly awaited instruction on how things are done in the NFL.
Within the practice bubble were the familiar sounds and actions of rookies fighting for a place on the Patriots' roster. One of those rookies was Florida's wider receiver Chad Jackson.
Coach Bill Belichick had this to say about Jackson. "We drafted him because we feel like he has the ability to contribute in our system. As a receiver, he can get open and catch the ball. That's what every receiver has to do. How all of that manifests itself, we have a long process to go through to see that."
-- Jackson had a standout day as he excelled in catching the football as well as creating separation between himself and his defenders. Doing well in drills is one thing but " standing in against Jonathon Papelbon " is another, reports the Providence Journal.
-- Along with Jackson, the Patriots have 4 other Gators in this weekend's minicamp. They are linebacker Jeremy Mincey, cornerback Vernell Brown, offensive tackle Randy Hand and safety Jarvis Herring. "It feels like home," Jackson said on Saturday. "I think (Coach Bill) Belichick likes those Florida guys a lot."
-- Memphis place kicker Stephen Gostkowski continues to be in the spotlight as the Patriots find a replacement for Adam Vinatieri . According to the Boston Herald, Stephen has a wealth of untapped and self taught ability.
"I love the fact that I'm in a place where fans appreciate the position I play," Gostkowski said. "You do good things here and they're going to love you I'm definitely excited to see what I can do in this league, I still have to fight my way onto this team. I'm going to work hard and hopefully win some games for the Patriots."
-- New England Patriots' center Dan Koppen arrived at Gillette to rehab his injured shoulder. The pain of missing part of last season seems to hurt worse his injury. The Providence Journal reports that Koppen still has some work to do before full strength and mobility will return, but he can expect a full recovery. Koppen is in the last year of his rookie contract.
-- Tom Brady is looking forward to the 2006 season. During the off season, Brady has undergone surgery to repair a hernia, traveled to Israel and participated in charity events.
But for the most part, Brady has been an average fan watching the many changes to the Patriots. "We've lost a lot," Brady admitted recently. "There is a lot of value in those guys. So it's obviously tough you see some of your core guys getting kind of taken away."
"This 2006 team is going to be different. We understand that and, hopefully, we find other players to come in and take some of the burden off the guys who are still here," Brady said "I'm looking forward to this year. I think we could have just an awesome season."
The rest of today's newswire: Sunday's Wire
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