by Scott Benson, Patriots Daily Staff
The Patriots are enjoying some time off this weekend, after four more days of double sessions and some targeted tweaking of their roster. Let’s look back at the highlights:
- I guess the Pats weren’t as satisfied with their outside linebacker situation as I thought. On Thursday they completed the long-rumored trade for defensive end Derrick Burgess, the latest Pro Bowler to have the life sucked out of him by the Oakland Raiders.
- At first blush you figure to see him spotted as a stand-up pass-rusher from the edge, perhaps in relief of Pierre Woods, but Bill Belichick’s version of a well-rounded Burgess may be telling. With Ty Warren on the PUP and Richard Seymour limited in practice so far, could Burgess pull a Phifer and be on the field a lot more than expected?
- You’d hope so, considering the price they paid for him. For one year of guaranteed service from the 31 year old Burgess, the Pats could end up parting with a 3rd next spring along with a 4th in 2011, unless they can produce a 5th in 2010 to take its place. You know what this sets up, don’t you? A draft day trade involving one of their three 2nd round choices, and another bunch of bewildered draftniks.
- So what are we to make of Shawn Crable at this point? He was supposed to compete for – at minimum – some of the pass-rush snaps that Burgess will now presumably take. Are we to assume from this that he’ll remain among the PUP infirmed for even longer? Anyway, if the Patriots can get everyone on the field at some point, they could actually field an improved defense. Of course, I’ve thought that before.
- It was the second former Raider acquired by the Pats in four days. The beleaguered Andrew Walter arrived, recast as a veteran quarterback. Kevin O’Connell was instructed to cool his heels for awhile once Walter showed up, which left everyone wondering about O’Connell. Meanwhile, UDFA Brian Hoyer at times made his case for an extended stay in New England.
- Arch nemesis Mike Shanahan visited camp for a couple of days and palled around with the Pats brass and players. It was pretty cool to see; Shanahan is one of the few coaches who give you pause in a head-to-head matchup with Belichick. It was jarring to see him walk amongst the team he so frequently vexed. It’ll be fun to see where he winds up next year – hopefully with someone the Patriots never play.
- No less a referee than Terry McAulay visited camp to discuss those pesky rules, including those new kick-off regulations nobody understands. This will do no goddam good when the Pats draw this sap and his ridiculous crew for a game, however.
- The Pats named their pre-season captains; Tom Brady will lead the offense, 08 rookie of the year Jerod Mayo will lead the defense, and Sam Aiken will pilot the special teams. Aiken has already proven that he handles that role well, but I liked his run-after-the-catch skills in occasional WR spots last season (check the video). He adds value in a couple of areas, which will make it that much harder for camp surprise Terrence Nunn to work his way past Aiken, or even rookie quarterback/receiver/returner Julian Edelman. Good on Nunn for throwing himself into that mix though.
- First game Thursday night? You bet.
E-mail Scott Benson at firstname.lastname@example.org