Lining up some vacation plans

In a recent radio interview, Patriots safety Devin McCourty said of media coverage at this time of year, “Football is close enough that you can smell it, and everyone wants to talk about it, but there’s still not much going on to talk about it on a daily basis.”

No arguments here, Devin, and that’s why I felt like I was sort of crawling to the goal-line to get to a two-week stretch of vacation that starts today.

We want to “keep the conversation going” with relevant topics, but at the same time be able to break away and recharge batteries to be ready for the start of training camp. With this in mind, I’m going to try to disconnect for the next two weeks, focusing on quality time with my wife and two kids, and appreciating this great time of year in the New England region.

As for what can be expected on the Patriots’ blog over that time, here are a few things that are scheduled:

1. ‘Checking the locks’ series. As part of getting a better feel for the roster, I go through each position (one per day) and identify “sure-fire locks” to make the team. Those updates should post daily at 5 a.m. ET, and ultimately the idea is to provide a snapshot of how many open spots there really are on the club. I felt going through the exercise helped me organize my thoughts and provided a nice road map for roster analysis. As for the 5 a.m. post, why that time? I sort of view it as the 2014 version of what I used to do first thing every morning as a kid — run out to the end of the driveway and grab the newspaper to see what’s in there to start off the day.

2. Rookie and sophomore status checks. Instead of the “quick-hit thoughts around the NFL and Pats” posts on Sunday mornings (July 6 and 13), there will be a rookie status report and a review of the second-year players on the roster. That’s a way to share thoughts on what might be some realistic expectations for those players in 2014.

3. Top plays series. You might recall about two weeks ago, opinions were solicited on Twitter on the top plays/most memorable moments in Patriots history. I narrow those down to three and there is a video element to it as well, along with fan voting. Sort of a fun summer project, as part of ESPN.com’s NFL Nation, that ties in the history of the team.

4. AFC East round-table. Along with reporters Mike Rodak (Bills), Rich Cimini (Jets) and James Walker (Dolphins), there is a round-table discussion on some of the hot-button topics around the division.

Also, Field Yates, who has been such a great teammate over the last two years, might be chiming in with some thoughts of his own. There is one day devoted to power rankings as well.

I sort of look at the blog like a restaurant; we can’t just close the doors and say we’ll open back up in two weeks and expect people to show up.

So that’s what we have planned and thanks, as always, for reading.

Catch up with you in mid-July.

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Mike Reiss
@MikeReiss
Patriots reporter/analyst for ESPNBoston.com.
  • Video: Weekly P.A.T. with safety Devin McCourty as the Patriots prepare for Bengals: http://t.co/F9ftCnHcYD (produced by ).
  • Patriots-Bengals matchup through a stats-based lens. http://t.co/LJrTqgHRPA
  • Weekly Patriots chat scheduled for 11 a.m. ET. http://t.co/ilL7FErZfd
  • Weekly Patriots special teams breakdown, highlighting player value on the 46-man game-day roster: http://t.co/1nxqf1kS39
  • Will look into it, Ash. Was not aware of it.