Reactions and reflections from watching the Tampa Bay Bucs practice…

Hello from steamy Tampa Bay, where the Bucs were practicing for about two-and-a-half hours earlier today. It was an intriguing experience, watching this new team under new coach Greg Schiano. It’s not college, but there is a college feel for the former Rutgers coach. Want some quick thoughts after taking it all in? — The one thing Schiano was known for at Rutgers was taking mediocre recruiting classes and turning them into above-average classes. He got the most out of his players, and you can see it happening here. The focus is clear: Fundamentals, tackling, ball-security, details, buying in. This team is so young, there is so much inexperience, that’s what they need. They may be the youngest team again. […]

Recapping this trip: The Nashville edition

Well, it was a quick trip to Nashville, just one day. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t eventful. A nice meal, a visit with an old friend… and an up-close and personal look at one of the league’s more intriguing quarterback battles. Here is my training camp report on the Titans. What was Nashville like?  — There’s no doubt the focus is, and should be on, the battle to be the starting quarterback between former first-rounder Jake Locker and veteran sage Matt Hasselbeck. It is a topic every day, and Tennessean reporter Jim Wyatt is doing a fantastic job chronicling it locally. It is a real competition, but I have no doubt the hope inside that team is that Locker […]

Checking in on the Tennessee Titans QB battle: “For us, it’s about winning”

Hello from Nashville, Tenn., where the Titans are getting ready to practice in a few hours. Right now, veteran LB Keith Bulluck is officially announcing his retirement, which is great to see. But for this year’s team, it’s all about the QBs.

Matt Hasselbeck had a big day yesterday, while Jake Locker was slightly innacurate. Locker, the 2011 first-round draft pick, has had other big days. So, who has the edge? What will determine it?

A couple minutes ago, I spoke with GM Ruston Webster. He broke it down.

Wondering how far away the Patriots defense really is…

An article in my old paper, the Boston Herald, got me thinking… I wonder if the New England Patriots are on their way to being a defensive team again. Or, at least, a balanced team. No, seriously, I’m not crazy. So last year, the Patriots defense was bad. No shocker there. They finished 31st in yards allowed, a stat we monitored closely in 2011. But they also did other things that good defenses do — took the ball away (tied for third), made stops in the red zone, and didn’t allow a lot of points (17 per game in the playoffs). Heading into 2012, I think they could be in the top half of the league. I bring this up […]

Random stuff we’ve seen or heard through nine days of NFL Training Camp… in alphabetical order!

We’ve been on the road for the past week or so, seeing four teams and five practices. And yes, we’ve only begun to gain an understanding of the landscape of the NFL. Today, we rest (kinda). We’re home in Dallas, getting ready to board a flight to Nashville to see the Titans on Friday. While we have some time… let’s spin through one random thought on each team (in alphabetical order) that sums up what’s been going on in camp so far. Why? Well, why not? — Randy Moss has taken over the headlines, as he tends to do. But the only real question for the 49ers is whether Alex Smith can be an accurate enough passer to take his […]

Notes, quotes and other random stuff from the Cowboys first day of training camp…

I spent three years watching the Patriots begin training camp… and it was nothing like how the Cowboys do it. Out here in Oxnard, Calif., was an opening ceremony featuring three(!) skydivers, a marching band, and cheerleaders. Owner Jerry Jones asked fans to help him kick the Giants butt, and Oxnard Mayor Dr. Thomas E. Holden was on hand. So were 5,266 fans. What else happened today? A quick run-through… after you watch my hit from NFL Network’s Total Access. — First, three players failed the Cowboys conditioning test, including RB Felix Jones. Just an inexcusable thing. Jones missed mini-camp with a shoulder injury, and coach Jason Garrett was essentially asked if that made it OK. “We would anticipate all of […]

Recapping this trip: The San Diego edition

After a quick one-day stop in San Diego, we made the three-hour drive to Oxnard, Calif., to watch the Cowboys practice for a few days. It wasn’t a bad drive, especially considering we stopped and grabbed In-N-Out burger on the way.

What happened in San Diego? Let’s go…

Recapping this trip: The Santa Clara/San Jose/San Francisco edition

Another day, another new city. We spent the last two nights in San Jose, which is right by Santa Clara, which is actually where the 49ers play despite being still called the San Francisco 49ers. Got all that? Me too. Anyway, now we’re in San Diego, preparing for tomorrow’s live practice that’ll be shown on NFL Network. I can’t lie, I’m excited for that. The Chargers are one of those teams that I’d imagine are fun to watch work out, mainly because of the talent and athleticism they’ve always shown. So, should be fun. But before we do that…. Here is one of my hits from 49ers camp yesterday on NFL Network. Some highlights of the trip to 49ers practice? […]

Recapping this road trip: The Charlotte edition

We’re whipping around the country for a few weeks, hitting a whole mess of training camps. Football has started, and man has it ever! We’ll try to do these trip recaps after each stop, but they’ll be a little shorter than usual… because we’re in-and-out of places. So… I’m in New York City this morning, which means I’ve left Charlotte. How was the visit to the Panthers? Here is my hit from Total Access yesterday. Some highlights… — It wasn’t really a training camp day yesterday, and that was the point. Training camp actually starts on Friday in Wofford College for the Panthers. Yesterday’s session was for injured players, quarterbacks, and younger players. A great chance for Cam Newton to […]

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