by Scott Benson

picSince the initial free agency rush at the first of March, PD has put the big club aside for awhile as we’ve tried to get up to speed on next month’s college draft, now just four weeks away.

Maybe this is a good time to get caught up.

Roll Up, Roll Up, Roll Up…

It’s the magical Belichick tour. Is it just me, or have we seen more of the Pats coach this spring than ever before?

First it was Bon Jovi, then the WEEI Big Show call-in, followed by Sirius Radio and Fox Sports. Then he closed out his month in the Great Wide Open with a hardly concealed scouting cameo at UConn’s pro day.

What’s he up to? This is Bill Belichick we’re talking about – he’s always up to something, isn’t he? Every step taken with a hidden, devious purpose?

Maybe that’s just it. Maybe he’s tired of being thought of as a Lex Luthor-like super villain who controls world events from his secret lair. Maybe at 58 years old, in his 10th season as Patriots coach, it’s now simply easier to disabuse that notion than to propagate it.  

Free Agency Close Out

I was mildly interested in the signing of center Al Johnson, who had a nice little career going (45 career starts in 66 games) until he frigged up his knee with Arizona last August and got released.  He did play a little center and guard with Miami after successfully returning from that injury late in the season. There seems to be at least a reasonable chance he’ll be a reserve contributor.  

Same for Tank Williams, the hybrid safety-linebacker who lasted all of a quarter last August. Even if the Pats upgrade at the safety position through the draft, Williams could stick with his special teams play.

Speaking of things that need to be upgraded.

Throwback Comeback

Another indignity of Tom Brady’s season ending injury last September: his return to the field a year later will force the Patriots’ opening day game to ESPN’s Monday Night Football. When will it end?

On the other hand, last year’s ‘traditional’ Sunday at 1 debut didn’t work out that well either.

The consolation for many Pats fans will be the return of Pat Patriot and his throwback red uniforms, as the league kicks off a celebration of the AFL’s 50th anniversary. It never fails to amuse me the nostalgia these old costumes engender. Every year a thousand message board threads are launched, demanding the permanent return of the snappin’ minuteman. We can’t really miss him because he’s never gone away.

I like that the Pats eschewed the 80’s vintage for a reproduction of their 1963 duds, which really convey the throwback theme much better. Their opponent for the prime-time opener, long-time division rival Buffalo, has already made a similar jump backward with the best throwbacks in any sport.

I hope they will be enough to distract us from overhearing Tony Kornheiser’s opening monologue on Brady, Gisele, Terrell Owens, and inevitably, Brett Favre.