Early June to mid July tend to be the most dreadful time of year for any NFL fan. Coming off free agency and the draft, most everything else during this time stay under lock and key. One could go as far to call it “blue balling”, minus the beautiful girl you are dating.
Come August the ball will quickly start to roll again and fans have plenty to look forward to, especially if you’re a devoted New England Patriots fan.
Without further ado let’s take a look at the training camp preview for the Patriots which starts on 7/24 for rookies and 7/26 for the vets.
Edge rusher Derek Rivers will look to make a formidable impact for the reigning super bowl champs. With the loss of edge rushers Jaabal Sheard, and Chris Long there are some shoes to fill. However, Rivers (selected 83rd overall) might have been the biggest steal of the draft. Bleacher Report’s Doug Farrar was quoted comparing Rivers to former Patriot Chandler Jones. “Like Jones, Rivers has experience in two and three-point stances, and he’s lined up on either shoulder of the tackle.” Look for Rivers to challenge the right side of the line with incredible speed and strength at camp. It will take time for Rivers to adjust to the speed of the NFL level and still has a lot to learn concerning more sounds pass rushing techniques, mostly hand positioning and movement. Defensive line coach Brendan Daly will look to fix those kinks early on in training camp. Just like anything else in life, all good things are worth waiting for, and this guy right here… he’s a good thing.
Most teams have one or two veteran players brought in from another organization during the offseason to shine the spotlight on. This juggernaut of a New Patriots team needs to install a searchlight that revolves in all directions at the top of their field lighthouse just to shine on all their vets.
Stephon Gilmore, Kony Ealy, Brandin cooks, Mike Gillislee, Dwayne Allen, David Harris and Rex Burkhead.
Let’s start on the defensive side of the ball, look for the killer tandem of Stephon Gilmore and Malcolm Butler. Those two can easily challenge the league’s top pass defenders for best CB duo in the NFL. In Buffalo Gilmore was the lone should having no safety help trying to take on a workload not even the best of the best can handle. In New England 3x pro bowler Devin McCourty will allow Gilmore to play more man and challenge guys right off the line. This will allow butler to cover the shorter, slower receivers across the board. Watch out for these two in training camp.
Kony Ealy and David Harris will look to improve upon an absentee d-line which was near torn apart in 2016. In fact, in week 9 of 2016 the adjusted sack rating was 3.1% placing them in dead last during that time. At that time analyst were saying that kind of play wasn’t going to win a Super Bowl any time soon, we all know how that ended up. Regardless, Kony Ealy has a lot of upside and has shown flashes of great hand and feet movement on the outside. Look for these two to make everyone around them better.
Offensively Mike Gillislee just might replace Blount as the early down and red zone back. Rex Burkhead will certainly be some competition for Gillislee so look for these two to duke it out for a starting position as the bell cow.
You thought I forgot about Brandin Cooks? No, not going to over analyze and tell people what they already know.
Cooks is fast, he’s brilliant, and has Brady as his QB. Anything else, good, class dismissed.