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May 3, 2008
Rookie mini-camp, day 2
The media-access portion of rookie mini-camp has concluded, as Bill Belichick just wrapped up his second press conference.
With three practices under their belt, Belichick said he and the coaching staff saw improvement from most of the players, which is a good sign. There's a lot thrown at the rookies during this weekend, from plays to on-field calls and communication to the training room drills the team uses, and how they respond to and process all of the information is part of the evaluation process.
On the field -- with Mother Nature once again not cooperating, it was held inside the Dana-Farber Fieldhouse -- a few things stuck out.
* Matthew Slater, who yesterday worked with both the offense and defense, today worked almost exclusively with the defense. Even as the group stretched to begin the session, Slater was in his white (offense) practice jersey with a blue (defense) vest over it. He continues to line up at safety. Belichick said it is better for Slater to switch on a day-to-day basis, if possible, particularly when there are plays being installed; were he to spend a week on one side of the ball and then switch, he would be behind the other offensive (or defensive) players who had spent the prior week learning.
* Kevin O'Connell picks up things well, which is a good sign. O'Connell looked shaky in the first session yesterday, but seemed to take steps forward in the afternoon and today, taking what he learned from Josh McDaniels yesterday and putting it into practice. Toward the end of this morning's session, a team camera man kneeled in front of O'Connell as he went through a series of drop-backs, and he'll be instructed on what he needs to work on based on the video. O'Connell said he's never gotten such intricate instruction before.
* Don't make Ivan Fears mad. The longtime running backs coach got fired up about lax coverage when he was working with his charges (three are on tryout and only one, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, has been signed as an undrafted rookie) and didn't mince words when he re-instructed them on what he was looking for.
* Mike Dragosavich is a character. The punter, here on a tryout, used to entertain the crowds at North Dakota State basketball games during halftime, posing as a janitor and doing a dance routine. He performed the boogie at the bat mitvah of his agent's daughter recently. Dragosavich said it was just him having a good time; "I try to be positive about everything," he said.
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