Newswire: Warfield, Dillon and Kickers

News from around the web includes: The Patriots approach to training camp and not overworking players, Eric Warfield working to become a starter in New England, Deion Branch contract negotiations wrinkle and more.

Newswire Items 7/31/06

Back to the basics for the New England Patriots:
-- The New England Patriots barely won their division last year and then bowed out of the playoffs with a divisional championship loss to the Denver Broncos. This is one reason why head coach Bill Belichick has opted for less classroom and more on the field work. Belichick explains "One of the things that I think is important for us this year is to become a better fundamental football team, to do the little things better and more consistently than maybe what we did them at times last year and in the past". The Boston Globe reports that the Patriots have not had back-to-back '2-a-days' since they moved camp from Bryant University to Gillette Stadium in 2003.

Deion Branch has an ace in the hole:
-- Wide receiver holdout Deion Branch has an apparent ace in the hole. Simply put, it is the current list of wide receivers that the Patriots have on their roster. Other than Troy Brown, the concern is whether this group of "never-has-beens and never-will-bes" will be able to provide the depth that is needed. According to the Boston Herald, the question is "Is that good enough?"… a question that Branch and his agent are pondering in their minds.

New England Patriot's Eric Warfield is learning on the job:
New England Patriot's veteran cornerback Eric Warfield is finding it a bit difficult to come right in and pick up a defensive scheme. "You would think a guy coming in with eight years under his belt would have seen every defense. Yet this was totally different…" Warfield explains, "I didn't think coming in and learning a whole new system was going to be a problem…" Warfield seems determined to make up for lost time and become a starter with the Patriot's defense.

Patriots Insider provides an in-depth look at the challenges Warfield is facing in New England. He explains that not having a playbook was a big obstacle for him to overcome, and he's working hard to learn the new scheme. Audio included

Patriots kickers compete for the starting role:
-- New England Patriot rookie kicker Stephen Gostkowski and veteran kicker Martin Gramatica are competing for the starting role. During the past two days, it has been nip and tuck with the accuracy going to Gramatica and the strength going to Gostkowski. Head coach Bill Belichick indicated that there is still a long ways to go and you can't make any real determinations based on just a couple of days.

Veteran running back Corey Dillon is not done yet:
Veteran running back Corey Dillon heard cheers from his fans. "Corey! Corey! Corey!" Dillon gave his fans a lot to cheer about running and banging heads, including a 20-yard touchdown run. On a scale of 1 to 10, Dillon says "I'm a nine all day". Dillon is both competing with and being a mentor for rookie running back Laurence Maroney.

These articles and more can be found in Today's Newswire


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