August 18, 2011

Patriots Training Camp 2011

New England Patriots Training Camp 2011

Last Saturday, my wife and I went down to Foxboro to see the New England Patriots Training Camp.

These sessions are open to the public, and free.  I've been going for years now and really enjoy them.  Not only do you get to see a taste of football from a different, up-close angle, but you get to see lots of behind-the-scenes work.  It's fascinating to see how the Patriots structure their practices, how some of their time is spent in small groups with positional coaches, while some time is spent in team drills.

One really interesting part is the one-on-one sessions, where receivers work one-on-one against defensive backs, or running backs work one-on-one against linebackers.  From repetition to repetition, you can see the players try to adjust their moves to improve.

It's also interesting to see Bill Belichick and watch what he decides to do during each drill.  During some of the full-team and seven-on-seven drills, he would pick up a blocking pad and throw it at the quarterback as he was preparing to throw. Presumably, this prepares the player to be better able to deal with bodies coming at him during real games.  It's also interesting to see Belichick and the other coaches correct players who make mistakes and congratulate players after making a good play.  At one point, Belichick instructed the team to run the next play from the right hash.  When the team started to shift over, he said "No, the other right hash", and everyone laughed.

A few player observations:
  • Tom Brady was very sharp.  He dropped some passes just inches over the fingertips of the defenders.
  • Rob Gronkowski continues to be unstoppable so far. He catches everything.
  • Wes Welker looked really fast, and really sharp making cuts.
  • Chad Ochocinco seems to still have a lot to learn about the Pats offense.  When not actively practicing, he often stands right beside Brady and discusses what they are seeing - smart.
  • Ryan Mallet has a gun for an arm, but holds the ball for a long, long time.

Once again, I'm really looking forward to the football year.

This article originally appeared in my blog: All Things Quality
My name is Joe Strazzere and I'm currently a Director of Quality Assurance.
I like to lead, to test, and occasionally to write about leading and testing.
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