Before the morning practice that signifies the beginning of the Patriots 2010 season, Bill Belichick took to the podium for the season's first press conference.
It was what you'd expect from Belichick -- regarding players that aren't ready to practice, like Wes Welker: "They're all in that day-to-day category, we'll see how it goes on a day-by-day basis." -- but he did offer some thoughts on the receiver recently placed on the PUP list, along with the freshly-released Shawn Crable and absent Logan Mankins (an extra Belichick-ian, "All the players that are here are under contract. And Logan’s not under contract").
(Reports compiled from the Twitter accounts of Mike Reiss, Christopher Price and Ian Rapoport, via Pats Pulpit):
- Shawn Crable did not pass his physical, which is why he was released. However, there's still a chance that he may be brought back if he improves his physical condition. But in the mean time, the Patriots want to work with players who are football ready.
- The players who were put on the active PUP (aka: Kade Weston and Wes Welker) who "aren't quite ready." These players will be day to day until they're fully caught up with the rest of the team. Weston missed a lot of camp this summer because he was unable to obtain a work visa (he's from Trinidad and Tobago), so he's definitely catching up.
- Wes Welker, on the other hand, is being taken care of. He's not going to be rushed back into the offense because the team wants him 100%. Belichick said that "the last 10 to 20 percent on those injuries is the hardest to get back," which leads me to believe the Patriots won't take him back before he's ready. So no one should worry about Welker being pushed too hard, because he won't be back until he can handle it.
- Logan Mankins didn't show up and Belichick is clearly moving on. He said "all the players that are here are under control. Logan's not under contract." That most likely means that the Patriots are going to move on and plan as if Mankins won't be with the team. We'll be able to see who is going to be tapped on the shoulder to play left guard- Nick Kaczur or Dan Connolly.
- Belichick is excited about the joint practices with both the Atlanta Falcons and the New Orleans Saints. He says it proves the great relationship between the franchises, going back to the relationships between Belichick and Saints' coach Sean Payton, as well as Belichick and former Patriots Head of College Scouting and current Atlanta Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff. The practices are sure to give both the young players and the inexperienced coaches different scenery and new looks to prepare for the upcoming season.