Combine Day 1: What we learned

February, 20, 2014
Feb 20
7:00
PM ET
INDIANAPOLIS -- Day 1 of the combine is in the books.

So, what did we learn?

1. Lombardi's role non-specific. After traveling with members of the team brass on Wednesday, Mike Lombardi was officially named an assistant to the coaching staff on Thursday. What exactly will his work entail? That much remains unclear, but it'll be versatile. "Mike's got a lot of experience, he's done a lot of things in his career in the NFL and I'm sure he'll be doing many of those things for us," Bill Belichick said of the role.

2. Belichick takes the podium. In a reversal of plans, Bill Belichick opted to address the media at a podium after not originally appearing on the schedule. A full transcript can be read here. As a testament to his preparation, Belichick noted that nearly the entire Tennessee offensive line was invited to the combine, save one player. Belichick pinpointed Alex Bullard -- who was not invited. That's preparation.

3. Around the AFC East. Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin was the first coach to address the media, sending a strong message that he's dedicated to fixing the work environment amidst the recent bullying scandal in Miami. Jets head coach Rex Ryan noted that Geno Smith was one of two quarterbacks with five game-winning drives last season. The other was Tom Brady. Bills head coach Doug Marrone shared praise for two former Patriots assistants.

4. Tight ends in focus. Tight end was among the position groups made available to the media today, with Texas Tech's Jace Amaro and North Carolina's Eric Ebron leading the way. Several of the tight ends noted that they've met with the Patriots. Our message: teams meet with hundreds of players. No need to read into such meetings.

5. Odds and ends. We liked this comment from Jaguars GM David Caldwell on what he looks for in meetings with players. ... Former Patriots defensive coordinator Eric Mangini is now coaching the 49ers tight ends. ... It sounds as though former Patriots quarterback Matt Cassel may end up back in Minnesota. ... Bears defensive end Julius Peppers could end up on the open market, while defensive end Shea McClellin can now be referred to as linebacker Shea McClellin.
Field Yates has previous experience interning with the New England Patriots on both their coaching and scouting staffs. A graduate of Wesleyan University (CT), he is a regular contributor to ESPN Boston's Patriots coverage and ESPN Insider.

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