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Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Patriots Training Camp is cool

So what's up gang? I took this past Friday and Monday off from work and had a nice long weekend. I needed a break from the day to day grind and I wanted to get some July-time in before it disappeared 'till next year.

Maybe you noticed I took a break from the site as well. Like I said, I wanted to get some time baking in the summer weather before it's gone for the year. It will be cold and dark around here soon enough and there will be plenty of time to sit in front of a computer screen then.

In the meantime, last Friday was Day One of The New England Patriots training camp and I was in attendance, along with the rest of the family. I packed the Wife and Kids into the mini-van and trucked them down to Foxboro MA to take in some real, live, Pats Practice.

Now I can say that I saw the Pats play football this year. It was not in a game and it didn't count for anything, but I got to see live Patriots football.

The Patriots Training Camp is a lot of fun. If you are a Pats fan and have some time off while Camp is in session, I would say that you should definitely head to Foxboro and check it out. Unlike some teams (The Redskins,) The Patriots don't charge a dime for you to come and watch them practice. Parking is free and Camp attendance is free too. There are bleachers setup around the fields to watch the practices and there is plenty to see and do. There are full concessions set up behind the bleachers as well. I gotta say, it's pretty cool.

I had two, 4 year old kids with me and they were not bored, so that right there should tell you something. Unfortunately, we did not get there in time for the Punt, Kick and Pass games that were set up for kids, but my kids still had a good time anyway.

We sat on the grassy hill on the back-side of the practice fields. There are two fields set up parallel to each other, one for the offense, one for the defense. We were near the field where the offense was practicing. The running backs were on the back-side of the field and the QB's and receivers were on the front-side, practicing the passing game right in front of us.

That was a great show. We got to see plenty of Tom Brady and Matt Cassel passes to various receivers such as Troy Brown and Kevin Faulk.

Later in the practice there were some one on one passing drills with the CB's and Safeties coming over to provide a little coverage on the receivers and there were some defensive line vs. offensive line drills as well. It was very cool to watch.

I wish I had some really definitive descriptions of the day to pass on but really I just sat on the grass, enjoyed the sun and tried to take it all in. I spent some time watching some defense and punt drills that were taking place on the other fields, but for the most part, I paid most of my attention to the passing drill action taking place on the field in front of me.

It was really cool to hear Brady barking out plays in the huddle as well as seeing Coach Belichick addressing the team. I could not make out what he was saying, but his mono-tone voice was very recognizable. Tedy Bruschi and Mike Vrabel were hanging out between plays for a short time near our part of the field and that was cool to see too.

During the practice the players are all business. For the most part they ignore the presence of the fans and are focused on their jobs. The only exception might be an occasional smile from a receiver if they get a round of applause on a good catch, but that's about it.

I did not hang around to the very end for autographs. Once practice broke up, the players were just kind of milling around on the field and getting together in small groups. People were lined up at the ropes along the field for autographs but the players did not seem to be in any rush to come over. We waited a short time but when it became obvious the players would not be sauntering over to the ropes any time soon, we decided it was time to head out.

I am not a huge autograph collector so I was not really disappointed. I would have rather have gotten a few close-up pics of some players but it was not a big deal. We had kept the kids out in the hot sun for quite a long time and we decided it was time to head home.

We made a quick stop in the Pats Pro-Shop where there was a leather bound Patriots recliner, with cup holders. Ohhh....

I told my Wife about it, but she just rolled her eyes. 'Forget it,' she said.

I took quite a few pics while I was at camp and I will try and put a few up tomorrow. Most of them are not that great, they are just long distance views of the practice fields and stuff, but I will put a few up anyway so you can get some idea what the day was like. Look for that tomorrow or the next day at the latest.

It's hard to believe, but the Pats 1st pre-season game is only a week and a half away.

In Belichick We Trust

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