by Scott Benson

Five random questions while trying to think of an angle for a new post:

1. Where did the summer go?  This week we learned that the Patriots will open their 49th training camp on Thursday, July 24th in Foxborough. All due respect to the calendar and everything, but that means it’s almost fall. This weekend I’ll be putting away the lawn furniture and winterizing my lawnmower. Do I seem overanxious to you?

2. Did you do everything you could to elect Jim Nance to the Patriots Hall of Fame?  Voting closes today, July 4.

3. Have the Patriots signed their best veteran free agent class since 2001?  Wishful thinking, of course. Few teams will match the success they had in ’01, when they added fourteen starters (including all-time FA’s Mike Vrabel and Roman Phifer, not to mention still-standing Larry Izzo) at backup money and went on to win the Super Bowl. Still, it being July and all, hopes are high for (relatively) under-the-radar signings like Victor Hobson, Tank Williams, and Fernando Bryant. Each of them has reached a career plateau of sorts, much as players like Antowain Smith, David Patten, and even established vets like Anthony Pleasant and Brian Cox had in 2001. And like that group, this year’s class now finds itself under the employ of a cerebral, methodical coaching staff with a specific task for each of them in mind, and a convincing way of articulating it. Might the results be the same, or at least a rough approximation? Add corner Jason Webster, swingman Lewis Sanders, special teamer Sam Aiken, lineman Oliver Ross and even former foil Marcus Pollard to the group, and I’m at least arguing the possibility that they, like Mike Compton, Marc Edwards and Terrell Buckley before them, will each find a role to play or a hole to fill, if even for just a moment. I’m thinking that the additions of Hobson, Williams and Bryant, along with rookies Jerod Mayo and Terrence Wheatley, have already given the Patriots a better defense than they had with Asante Samuel over the last couple of years.

4. Is the utter predictablity and sheer Onion-like mockability of Brett Favre’s looming un-retirement worth the inevitable pain of the weekly wax and buff from the likes of Sports Illustrated, Fox Sports and ESPN for another season?  Ouch. That’s a tough call. Hey, when the rumors first surfaced, I immediately tuned into the NFL Network, where they had suspended the Football Follies Marathon for live coverage of Brett: A Nation Waits. Adam Schefter was brought in for a discussion of what teams, if not the Packers, would want a how-can-we-miss-you-when-you-won’t-go-away Favre, and he says the only team that makes sense to him is…….wait for it……the New York Jets. Saints alive! I don’t care if Schefter knows what he’s talking about here; I want to believe him. I want to believe its even possible to be so blessed as to have Brett Favre quarterbacking a team in the Patriots division. Never mind having that team be the New York Jets. This could be the greatest season ever.  

5. How did Willie Andrews manage to hold it together for two whole years without launching a crime spree?  I guess we’ll never know.

Bonus Question: How’s new fatherhood treating you, Tall Man?