The New England Patriots
Camp Opens: Thursday, July 24th
Last Season: 12-4 vs AFC East: 4-2 vs AFC: 9-3
Passing:Brady 4343 yds
Rushing:Ridley 773 yds
Receiving:Edelman 1056 yds
Thu, Aug 7th away Redskins 7:30pm
Fri, Aug 15th home Eagles 7:30pm
Fri, Aug 22nd home Panthers 7:30pm
Thu, Aug 28th away Giants 7:30pm
Quaterback : Tom Brady has been aging for ever, at least we have been told this often since the ESPN days, yet, he remains among the best in the game. A year ago he might have played his best football, why? He played with virtually no weapons. Edelman was invented to replace Welker. The WRs were raw rookies, and one wasn’t even drafted. The feared TEs were in jail and the other in and out of his new familiar surroundings, the infirmary. Tom managed to prevail with this group of farces, and win 12 games. The backups? Who really cares, none will ever see the field, unless Brady goes down.
Cornerback: The fact that I am actually putting the Patriots CBs on this list is hard to imagine. This team has probably lost two SBs because their secondary was brutal. In comes Darrelle Revis and suspended Brandon Browner, along with Kyle Arrington; backed by Alfonzo Dennard and Logan Ryan, and suddenly you have something to look forward to. The hope is that Revis has regained his form, because regardless of what many Patriots fans now claim, he was not Revis last year. The hope is also that Browner can start to help by week 6, it will take two weeks to get his legs “football game” ready, and stay out of trouble. If both happen, the Pats may be a very dangerous team in 2014.
Offensive Line: The OL has been huge for the Pats keeping Brady upright over the years. Nate Solder is the young stud, Sebastian Vollmer and Logan Mankins the older leaders. The rest Dan Connolly, Ryan Wendell are mediocre at best. Connolly will probably lose his starting job to One of the rookies, I would say Halapio. The back ups are young and inexperienced, Halapio, Fleming, Kilne and Stock, except for returning Cannon. In my opinion the Patriots should have addressed the OL earlier in the draft, or signed a replacement for Connolly, this could be the Achilles heal. The AFC East is stacked at DL, can Connolly and Wendell keep protecting Tom?
Linebackers: This group lost Brandon Spikes to free agency, but second year player Jamie Collins should be even more effective than Spikes was. Jerod Mayo, Dont’a Hightower are the other starters. Mayo is coming off-season ending injuries, and needs to regain his form, otherwise this group is solid; backing them up are Chris White, Ja’Gared Davis, and James Anderson. Needless to say, the hope is there are no injuries, because outside of Anderson, the others are scrubs at best.
Safety: Devon McCourty has found a home, he had become awful at CB, but since moving over to the middle, he is among the best in the division. Duron Harmon is a decent partner, and backing them is Patrick Chung and Tavon Wilson.
Defensive Line: Strange, because you would expect a DL that includes Chandler Jones, Rob Ninkovich and Vince Wilfork, to be rated higher; the other starter is Tommy Kelly. If Vince can regain his presence, and dominate on the inside as he has for years, than this is without question another strength, but I have my doubts. Vince has a lot of miles on that big body, and although he generally is a very fit big man, last year’s injury has to be taken into consideration. I really think that Vince will eventually become a situational player. The Patriots shocked Pats Nation by drafting often-injured Dominique Easley. Easley if he can remain healthy, should be a huge addition in 2015. Michael Buchanan, Will Smith (I didn’t know he gave up acting and singing), Sealver Siliga,
Jake Bequette, Joe Vellano, Chris Jones and Steve Beauharnais make up the rest of the household names, or “the collection of DL” that BB puts together every year.
Tight Ends: Wow, what a difference two seasons make! Gone is Aaron Hernandez, he now plays for the State Penitentiary. Rob Gronkowski is a rare specimen at TE. If healthy, there is nobody in the game that can even come close to his ability to make defenses concerned. Gronk is a stud, but Gronk has not been healthy for two years, can he be Gronk again? If he cannot play, then its all up to Michael Hoomanuwanui. Love the name, probably why he has even made it to the NFL, someone must have figured if a Polamalu can be good, then someone with even more vowels must even better. The other is a D.J. Williams. If Gronk is not healthy, this unit will be a total weakness.
Stephen Gostkowski is as good as there is in the NFL. He is reliable every week. Ryan Allen is adequate on a team that rarely punts. If I was to put this anywhere on the list, it would be a Strength for sure.
Question Marks / Weaknesses
Wider Receivers: There was a time when this category would have been right after Tom Brady. It seems the Pats have now reversed their philosophy and improved their CBs while totally ignoring weapons. Julian Edelman is adequate; Danny Amendola would make us forget Welker, but he hardly ever completes a season. Aaron Dobson would be known as Stephen Hill 2.0 if he didn’t have a HoF QB throwing him the ball. Behing them? Kembrell Thompkins, Brando Lafell, Jeremy Gallon and Matt Slater wil not keep any DC up at nights, but…..they do Have Tom Throwing to them.
Running Backs: With the lack of Good weapons, this group has to take the load of the QB. Last season they found a gem in LeGarrett Blount, but they let him walk. Left are Shane Vereen, Stevan Ridley, James Devlinand Brandon Bolden; they added James White. Ridley will have to step it up in a big way and not fumble. Vereen will need to develop, or this is a disaster.
Depth Chart by ProFootballFocus.com
Pre-Season Evaluations Schedule
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Yesterday – Miami Dolphins