This year marks the 38th in which I have covered a training camp conducted by your New England Patriots, and a common practice in column writing is to use a significant number of that sort and produce a corresponding number of informative snippets for the body of the column.
But 38 snippets are an awful lot. We probably don't have the space to run that many and you probably don't have the time to read them. So I'll cut the number in half - 19 observations from the Patriots' current training camp that may be half as many as I wanted to write, but twice as good.
Without further ado:
-- The new administrative complex on the east side of the stadium is massive. It has no effect whatsoever upon the inside seating area, but hopefully what goes on inside it will have a positive effect upon the product that goes on the field.
-- There's something about soccer clinics going on inside the bowl of Gillette Stadium while a football training camp is being conducted nearby that just seems wrong to me. Yes, the World Cup didn't fully change my opinion of soccer.
-- Look at the Patriots' practice jerseys, and you might notice that the numbers now appear in the same lettering style as on the game jerseys, and not just plain block numbers. The font is called "Patriots," and it was created specifically for the team when the current uniform style was adopted in 2000.
-- Darrelle Revis has looked every bit as advertised.
-- I'm getting a little tired already of the constant attention being paid to Rob Gronkowski by some outlets of the New England media. Sometimes I think that North Korean landing crafts could be bearing down upon the California coastline, and yet New England newspapers and TV stations would still breathlessly tout Gronk's return to practice as the top story of the day.
-- I'm still not convinced that love of football is the only reason that fans have flocked by the tens of thousands to watch the Patriots' practices. The collapse of the Red Sox has probably spurred a lot of New England fans to look elsewhere for their sports-related enjoyment.
-- Jimmy Garoppolo looks awfully short out there.
-- Vince Wilfork looks as big as a house, and about as mobile as one.
-- Brandon Browner had better be just as good when he returns from his four-game suspension as he has looked thus far in camp.
-- The "Rodney Harrison Award" for best hit of camp so far goes to Browner, who absolutely leveled honorary Blue Bombardier James White (so named because his aunt and uncle live in Attleboro) during a routine drill.
-- I enjoyed Ty Law's admission at his fitting for his Patriots Hall of Fame jacket that sometimes he feels as if he might have a few plays left in him, but then he realizes that that ship has sailed.
-- I also enjoyed the fact that induction into the Patriots Hall of Fame really means something to Law. As one of the members of the nominating committee, it's good to know that I'm involved in something that has true meaning to the athletes that are selected.
-- Julian Edelman's attitude toward the media seems to have improved a lot this year. He used to seem unnecessarily antagonistic in my humble opinion. Catching 105 passes last season probably does that for you.
-- I really don't think Tom Brady has a legitimate and consistent deep threat on this team.
-- They've put new signs in both end zones that say simply, "STADIUM," presumably with the word "Gillette" to follow in letters so big, they might be able to be seen from space.
-- One of these days, I will have to ask team owner Robert Kraft, a man worth close to $2 billion, if he owns more than just one pair of flat-soled black sneakers.
-- The macaroni and cheese for media lunch on Tuesday was spectacular.
-- I have no idea what "Optum" is, but it's the corporate entity that is presenting this year's training camp to you. That's the last time I'll mention that.
-- Yes, I still miss training camps at Bryant College (now Bryant University, of course). But I don't mind the shorter drive. Enjoy the rest of camp, folks.