EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

July 29, 2008

Don't sell this Pats' addition short

By Hector Longo

FOXBORO — Let's be honest. LaMont Jordan might never take a real snap in a New England Patriots uniform.

The eight-year pro joins an already-established bullpen of running backs assembled by Bill Belichick.

There's the lead man in Laurence Maroney; his able stand-in, a sleek and rebuilt Sammy Morris; third-down chain-mover Kevin Faulk and blitz neutralizer/special teams maven Heath Evans.

How can Jones squeeze into this mix? The answer for the former Jets and Raiders situation sub lies in the always-grinding mind of Belichick.

"He's a tough guy to tackle, hard runner, good in the passing game, and good with the ball in his hands," said Belichick, who always spoke glowingly of Jordan when the former Maryland Terrapin spelled Curtis Martin in New York. "He's a big kid. He can run inside, run outside and he can catch the ball. He is a good pass receiver in terms of route running. He's instinctive and he's returned kicks."

As a fifth wheel, Jordan can fill most every need of each of the top four. His willingness to lend his body to the kicking game makes the 5-foot-10, 230-pounder less of a luxury and more of a necessity.

"Any time you have a chance to put on a Patriots uniform, you take it," said Jordan as he attempted to soak in the complex offense.

Jordan is a weapon, yet another one for Tom Brady, and stocking the shelves around his quarterback has been top priority for personnel Scott Pioli and the coach.

Interestingly enough, Jordan's existence here could hinge on, of all people, punt/kick-cover specialist Kelley Washington.

Not that Washington is in a fight for his roster life. Nope, the former Cincinnati Bengal remains a lock. But is he a lock as the No. 4 receiver or the No. 5?

If Washington wrests the No. 4 spot from underachieving third-year man Chad Jackson, it creates roster space. And so far, Washington is turning heads, not with hits but with catches.

"I'm a wide receiver first," said Washington, readying for his second season with the Pats. "I'm going to work as hard as I can to get on the field offensively."

For now, Jordan remains a student at age 29 and a long shot to make it.

That's never stopped Belichick before. Jordan is not here for the show.

He's here to impact. And you just know he's going to get the chance.

Brett a Jet? We approve

A true Patriots fan perishes the thought, but wouldn't Brett Favre pump a little electricity into a dismally hum-drum AFC East Division.

"Favre to the New York Jets" remains in its infancy as far as rumors go.

Those here in camp to a man choose to keep their opinions close to the vest on the once-retired ex-Packer great. The truth is Favre, even with his oft-harangued penchant for the key interception, reinstates the Jets as a contender, probably more than Pats followers care to understand.

Most likely, he'll come without a hefty price tag.

With Chad Pennington throwing softer than Tim Wakefield these days, Favre offers Eric Mangini's club a bridge between the present and the future of Kellen Clemens/Erik Ainge.

Favre isn't Tom Brady, especially now at age 38. But hey, he took the world champion Giants to overtime last winter.

Wouldn't a potential Jets challenge be a lot more interesting than posting the 6-0 against the AFC East before the first snap is taken?

Camp chatter

There's been very little movement on the Pats "active/physically unable to perform" list, a fact that remains merely an inconvenience for now.

The sight of Mike Vrabel, Rodney Harrison, Stephen Neal, Ellis Hobbs, Wes Welker especially at the team walkthrough this weekend provided a nice teaser that there is little to worry about.

Still, with the team's busiest receiver, a starting offensive lineman and three defensive starters yet to clash helmets in the training camp heat, worry begins to bubble.

You might want to circle next Thursday, the preseason opener here with Baltimore, as an important date for the "PUP" crew.

It is that point, a month before the Sept. 7 season opener against Kansas City, when the missed practice time becomes a concern. ...

Two practices are slated, open to the public today, at 8:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Tomorrow, the team will practice once here at Patriots Place, starting at 11:30 a.m.

Thursday is expected to be a double session, 8:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.

For those of you interested in a football/food experience here, the new Red Robin Burger establishment is now open at the new Patriots Place.