It was a busy Wednesday down at Gillette Stadium this week.
In addition to the usual press conferences with Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, and the open locker room to talk to players after practice, the Patriots made a couple of announcements.
First they named their captains: Tom Brady, Dan Connolly, Vince Wilfork, Jerod Mayo, Devin McCourty and Matthew Slater.
This was the 13th year Brady has been named captain, a pretty impressive feat. His response?
“It’s very flattering for my teammates, and I try to represent them the best I can in whatever fashion the team asks me to do things and wants me to convey messages to the coach. We’ve got a great group of young men who have really committed themselves to being the best teammate they can be. I hope I do a great job. I work hard at it. We’ve got a lot of other great captains, guys that I’ve always been able to rely on and depend on. It’s a big responsibility, so I accept it.”
This was the seventh time Wilfork has been named a defensive captain, the sixth for Mayo. McCourty (defense) and Slater (special teams) have been captains the last four years. But Connolly? This was the first such honor for the offensive lineman.
He said he was humbled by the selection and somewhat surprised. Interestingly, his name had come up many times this summer as a veteran who was in danger of losing his job. Apparently his teammates didn’t feel the same way.
In other news, the Patriots made some moves on their practice squad, signing offensive lineman Chris Barker, tight end Allen Reisner and running back Marcus Thigpen while releasing quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson, safety Kanorris Davis and defensive back Daxton Swanson.
The interesting part of those moves? Well they signed Thigpen from Miami – this week’s opening opponent – and Reisner from Minnesota – New England’s Week 2 opponent.
Both have NFL experience and both were released last Saturday, Aug. 30.
It will be interesting to see how long they stick with the Patriots.
And finally this. During his weekly conference call with the opposing media, Brady was asked if he remembered his first start in Miami. It came on Oct. 7, 2001 – his second game as a starter after replacing Drew Bledsoe. The Patriots got whipped pretty badly, 30-10, and Brady completed just 12-of-24 passes for 86 yards.
The loss dropped the Patriots to 1-3 but they, of course, would come back to become one of the great sports stories of the year, winning the Super Bowl.
“We got our butts kicked pretty bad,” said Brady. “We had a lot of work to do and we did. That team really was a great Patriot team and ended up having a great storybook ending to that season … That was a real turning point. We ended burying the ball. I remember Coach did that. There are a lot of things I remember from that particular day.”