Friday, January 28, 2011
Pro Bowl Pats enjoy laid-back practices
By Jason Kaneshiro
KAPOLEI, Hawaii -- One thing is abundantly clear during Pro Bowl week: These aren’t your typical Bill Belichick-type practices.
“No doubt, man,” Patriots offensive tackle Matt Light said. “Not even close.”
The laid-back nature of the practices was evidenced by the end of Friday’s workout at the JW Marriott Ihilani Resort. Light closed the session by breaking off the line of scrimmage, flaring out to the left and catching a pass from Oakland punter Shane Lechler for a touchdown during a field goal period.
“It came down to skilled route running and at the end of the day, a well-delivered ball,” said Light, whose name reflects the general mood of the day.
Matt Light is enjoying his time in Hawaii, playing in a relaxed atmosphere with his Patriots teammates and coaches.
When asked if he can see himself back with New England, he was quick to answer.
The trip to Hawaii takes the Patriots far from the chill in the Northeast and, perhaps, can put some distance between a disappointing end to an otherwise fine season.
“You have to be able to shut the door on those kinds of things,” Light said of the playoff loss to the Jets. “Obviously, not the way we wanted to end it. We still had a hell of a year, but didn’t get it done.”
And although they spend much of the fall around each other, the Pro Bowl offers a chance for the Patriots players and staff members who made the trip to bond in a more relaxed atmosphere.
“We don’t get to spend that much time off the field, so to be here in a setting like this and playing a game like this is great,” Light said. “We hang out down by the pool every day and get dinner and see each other’s families.”
Of course, there is some work to be done before Sunday’s game.
Friday’s practice followed team picture-taking, and the players took the 50-yard field at Ihilani in their game uniforms -- though without pads or helmets -- to walk through the plays implemented by the Patriots staff as the players try to get on the same page by kickoff.
So while the practices might not by all that rigorous, “at the same time it’s still long,” Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo said. “So these other guys are like, ‘Hey talk to your coach and tell him to shorten this thing up.’ [Belichick is] a competitor and always trying to get a win.”
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s Jason Kaneshiro is covering the Pro Bowl for ESPNBoston.com all week.