New England Patriots Training Camp - Days One & Two: 7/26 & 7/27/2012

Not to be quoting the Dave Matthews Band or anything, but with the Patriots training camp kicking off at long last, I find myself with so much to say, so much to say.  Feet first, let's just jump right in:

    • The first surprise cut of training camp came right away as running back Joseph Addai apparently flunked out of the conditioning test, quitting on the drill and team on day one.  No big loss, here.  If Addai was going to get on the field for the Patriots, it would not have been a good thing.  For the Kevin Faulk fan club, this is great news.  Probably no running  back brought in right away, as undrafted free agent Brandon Bolden should get plenty of reps alongside Shane Vereen and Steven Ridley.
    • The veteran guard who walked on after training camp last year and had a pro bowl season is apparently planning to do the same.  As far as I am concerned (and apparently Bill Belichick, as well) Waters can show whenever he wants if he is going to be ready to go for game one.  Waters has all the leverage in this situation.  If he wants to retire, he just stays home.  Obviously, based on his play and his $3 million bargain salary this season, the Patriots want him back.  The worst thing to do would be to fine him, suspend him or do something stupid like call him out.  I am sure he and Belichick have a date when he will report.  Until then, there's nothing to report.
    • Shiancoe is here to prevent the tragedy that was the Super Bowl when the offense sputtered with Rob Gronkowski injured and reduced to Wes Welker and Aaron Hernandez as the only play-makers as Deion Branch struggled to get open.  Shiancoe can block, but is especially someone who can run a route and get open. When Daniel Fells is healthy, the Patriots can go four deep at tight end and have sufficient depth to withstand some bumps and bruises.
    • It's always about number 12.  Nothing is more important. Remember that. Always. As Brady goes, so goes the Patriots.  The greatest quarterback in NFL history is never to be overlooked or taken for granted. As he keeps rolling along with record-setting performances at age 35, it is important to step back and appreciate Tom Brady.
    • Forget the summer of Gronk.  All that matters is Big 87 is on the field catching passes from Tom Brady.  The off-season and off-field stuff are nothing that really matters.  He was not arrested. There was no one getting shot. He didn't stab anyone to death, hide the evidence, and pay off the relatives so as not to go to jail (cough-Ray-cough-Lewis-cough).  He had some fun (he is young and wealthy) and he apparently did his rehab.  As long as he's ready to go opening day, that's all that matters.
    • Cross your fingers. This is the wildcard of any season.  Who is healthy matters the most.  Right now, the Patriots know that TE Jake Ballard will likely be stashed on injured reserve for 2013, but the big question marks are OG Logan Mankins coming off knee surgery and OT Sebastian Vollmer and his injured back and other assorted injuries. Otherwise, TE Daniel Fells has been out since the beginning of the team activities, DT Myron Pryor and WR Jeremy Ebert are slightly dinged and should not miss much.  Undrafted free-agent offensive linemen Markus Zusevics and Jeremiah Warren are injured as well and need to get on the field as soon as possible.