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The New England Patriots announced today that the team has voted six players to be named captains for the 2011 season. This is two more than the four captains that were named last season.
It should come as no surprise that Tom Brady leads the way as one of three offensive players given a captain label. This marks the 10th straight season that Brady will captain the Pats.
The other two offensive captains, lineman Logan Mankins and receiver/special teamer Matthew Slater are both first-time captains here in New England.
Over on the defensive side of the ball, lineman Vince Wilfork and linebacker Jerod Mayo return for another season as captains, while cornerback Devin McCourty was named a team captain heading into just his second season in the NFL.
If there are any surprises amongst this group, fingers would have to be pointed toward Mankins, who was at odds with team management at this time last season over landing a new contract, and McCourty, who is still one of the youngest players on the roster.
Could others on the team have been named instead? Wes Welker or Deion Branch perhaps? Or Matt Light, who has been a captain here before?
“Regardless of who the captains are,” stated Bill Belichick, “I think the leadership will come from all the players who provide that, not just the captains.”
So, I guess this whole captain naming thing might not be worth a hill of beans, in the big picture.
Nonetheless, the six-pack of captains will lead the Patriots into south Florida on Monday night, when the team kicks off their 2011 campaign against division rivals, the Miami Dolphins.