New England Patriots: Sammy Morris
Now, it seems, anything is possible for the 33-year-old running back entering Year 11. When asked about his future on a conference call this morning to promote his camp that will take place next week in Foxborough, he said he’d stay “as long as they’ll still have me”.
“Each year is its own entity,” said Morris, who totaled 499 yards of offense in 12 games last season. “As long as I still feel good, as long as a team will still have me, I’m playing for as long as I can. I’ve felt as good about this training camp as any other one.”
In these dog days of the summer leading up to the start of camp at the end of this month, Morris finds himself getting in his workouts at Gillette at random, sometimes odd hours -- last night, for instance, he showed up at 10:45 p.m. to get his work in.
“It’s still my job, still something I take very seriously,” he said. “I’ve always kind of looked at this time as, I still need to work out but it’s just not as structured as, say, April.”
The Sammy Morris Football Camp is set to run July 15-17 in Foxborough, for kids aged eight through 18. Former Redskins linebacker Devin Lemons, a teammate of Morris’ at Texas Tech, is set to join Morris at Gillette just as he did when the two ran a similar camp in Lubbock, Texas late last month.
As for Patriots players set to join, none are confirmed at this time, but Morris says he has reached out to the ones still around here, specifically Tyrone McKenzie and Jerod Mayo.
1. Starting inside linebacker Jerod Mayo, who was part of every defensive package and thus played every snap, was taken off the punt coverage team. Rob Ninkovich took his spot.
2. The alignment of the kickoff return unit was tweaked by adding running back Sammy Morris to the front line and leaving two players in the wedge (Chris Baker, Dan Connolly) instead of three. The changes once again didn't produce the desired result, as the unit averaged only 19.8 yards per return.
3. With core special-teamer Bret Lockett inactive with a groin injury, first-year cornerback Kyle Arrington filled his role as gunner on the punt coverage team.
4. Rich Ohrnberger stepped in for the injured Stephen Neal (ankle) on the field-goal protection unit.
1. Starting right guard Stephen Neal (head) is out, with four-year veteran Dan Connolly the projected fill-in. Rookie Rich Ohrnberger is active for the first time and he is the top backup at center/guard.
2. Left tackle Matt Light (knee) is inactive, meaning that rookie Sebastian Vollmer is slated to start for the fifth straight game. Mark LeVoir is once again the swing tackle.
3. While defensive end Jarvis Green (knee) is out, fellow defensive end Ty Warren (ankle) will play after missing last Sunday’s game. Mike Wright projects to start in Green’s place, with rookies Myron Pryor and Ron Brace the next linemen on the depth chart. Strong line play figures to be crucial against the physical Jets and their No. 1-rated rushing attack.
4. Running back Sammy Morris (knee) is out, so that leaves just three rushers -– Laurence Maroney, Kevin Faulk and BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Maroney projects to be the lead back.
5. With receiver and special teams captain Sam Aiken (hip) inactive, the Patriots figure to lean more on Isaiah Stanback and Julian Edelman as a No. 3 receiver, while rookie Pat Chung projects to take over some of Aiken’s special teams duties.
6. Linebacker Rob Ninkovich (knee) is out, so the Patriots lose a backup sub rusher and special teams player. Eric Alexander (groin) is back in the lineup to help fill that void.
7. Cornerback Shawn Springs is out for the second straight week. This seems tied in part to the team calling on Kyle Arrington (four special teams tackles the last two games) and Terrence Wheatley (kickoff returns) on special teams.
8. Outside linebacker Tully Banta-Cain (rib, groin) is active for the game. He is the Patriots' best pass rusher.
Jarvis Green on his return to practice. Defensive end Jarvis Green was hurrying out of the locker room to get a haircut, but stopped briefly to discuss his return to practice for the first time since undergoing knee surgery over the team’s bye week. “That was no dog and pony show,” he said, hopeful that he will be able to suit up Sunday. In addition to Green, outside linebacker Tully Banta-Cain expressed similar optimism on his potential availability after suiting up for parts of practice Friday.
Moss hears Revis chatter. Veteran receiver Randy Moss responded to Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis, telling Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald: “I don’t feed into talking and all that crazy stuff. I’m a 12-year vet. So that stuff don’t bother me. My biggest thing is, when you talk like that, you better back it up. So, we’ll see. We’ll see what goes down."
Best practice squad in 10 years. Asked a question about the team’s practice squad by Andy Hart of Patriots Football Weekly, coach Bill Belichick took the opportunity to praise his personnel men, Nick Caserio (director of player personnel), Jason Licht (director of pro personnel) and Jon Robinson (director of college scouting). He called the practice squad probably the best group he’s had in his 10-year tenure as coach. He also pointed out rookie free agent Brian Hoyer, late-round draft picks like Julian Edelman, and free agent Rob Ninkovich as examples of how the personnel staff has done a good job finding players this year.
Maroney compares running backs to “Voltron” cartoon. Drawing a large media crowd at his locker, running back Laurence Maroney talked about the team’s running back corps returning to full health. He compared the situation to Voltron, the cartoon character in which five pieces connect together to form one large robot. Sammy Morris went through a full week of practice for the first time since injuring his knee Oct. 18, and Fred Taylor is apparently making progress in his recovery from ankle surgery on Oct. 8.
Morris, who has not played since injuring the knee on a 3-yard reception against the Titans, is not sure if he’ll be ready for Sunday’s game against the Jets.
“We’ll see Sunday, kind of just taking it day by day,” he said. “We’re just trying to make the best decision."
Morris has spent the last month rehabbing with fellow running back Fred Taylor (ankle), and while he said he enjoyed Taylor’s company, he called it frustrating to be sidelined.
He had been building momentum prior to the injury, totaling 68 yards against the Broncos, and before that, he had a 12-yard touchdown run against the Ravens.
“As a running back, when something happens to your knees or ankles, you’re a little more cautious or scared about the extent of the injury,” he said.
In addition to Warren, receiver Sam Aiken also increased his workload. After not practicing Wednesday because of a hip injury, he took part in limited team drills Thursday.
Did Not Practice:
OLB Tully Banta-Cain (groin/rib)
DE Jarvis Green (knee)
G Stephen Neal (head)
LB Rob Ninkovich (knee)
RB Fred Taylor (ankle)
WR Sam Aiken (hip)
LB Eric Alexander (groin)
TE Chris Baker (shoulder)
NT Ron Brace (ankle)
WR Julian Edelman (forearm)
C Dan Koppen (knee)
LT Matt Light (knee)
RB Sammy Morris (knee)
DE Ty Warren (ankle)
QB Tom Brady (right shoulder)
CB Shawn Springs (knee)
TE Benjamin Watson (back)
LB Gary Guyton (illness) and WR Randy Moss (not injury related) were removed from the participation report.
On the Jets' side, LB Vernon Gholston (hamstring) and S Jim Leonhard (thumb) did not participate for the second day in a row, DE Shaun Ellis and WR Brad Smith (quad) were limited for the second straight day, and LB Bryan Thomas (toe) once again had full participation. Long snapper James Dearth (not injury related) was removed from the report.
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Running backs Sammy Morris (knee injury) and Fred Taylor (ankle) remained sidelined as the New England Patriots began preparations Tuesday for Sunday's game against the Miami Dolphins.
In addition to Morris and Taylor, other players not spotted at the team's afternoon practice included wide receiver Julian Edelman, cornerback Jonathan Wilhite, offensive tackle Matt Light, linebacker Adalius Thomas and defensive lineman Jarvis Green.
One positive injury note for the Patriots was the presence of defensive lineman Ty Warren, who injured his ankle in the team's 35-7 win over Tampa Bay on Oct. 25.