It’s that time of year again. Here are three burning questions for the New England Patriots.
In Stidham they trust?
Tom Brady took his six Super Bowl rings to Tampa Bay. Many expected the Patriots to either make a play at a free agent quarterback such as Teddy Bridgewater and Marcus Mariota. They were also believed to make inquiries on Derek Carr after the Raiders signed Mariota, as well as Jacoby Brissett after the Colts signed Philip Rivers.
After none of those panned out, the Patriots were expected by many to trade up in the draft to select one of the top five quarterbacks available.
If anyone can make an inexperienced quarterback successful in their offense, it is the Patriots. Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett each had success in Brady’s absence in Foxborough.
How different will the defense look?
Former Jets linebacker Brandon Copeland and former Buccaneers nose tackle Beau Allen are a part of the Patriots’ new-look front seven, but those additions came at a price as the Patriots lost Kyle Van Noy to the Miami Dolphins, as well as linebacker Jamie Collins and defensive tackle Danny Shelton to Detroit, where they reunited with former defensive coordinator and current Lions head coach Matt Patricia.
While the front seven has to acclimate with their new parts, the secondary of Jason McCourty, the league’s best cornerback in Stephon Gilmore, and safeties Patrick Chung and Devin McCourty hasn’t changed, so if there are any growing pains upfront, they should be masked pretty well.
Will Josh McDaniels change his playcalling?
Of course, they’re likely to throw in a little bit of trickery with Sanu and Edelman to keep opposing defenses guessing.
Even with an inexperienced quarterback and a few missing pieces at key positions, a Bill Belichick-coached team can never be counted out. Being successful with yet another inexperienced guy under center will even further cement Belichick’s legacy.