Observations: Five Practices Into Patriots Training Camp
Training camp is officially in full swing. Five practices in, fans and media members have gotten their first look at the New England Patriots. While there remains a lot of work to be done before the season starts, some notes can be made of what has been seen so far.
- The biggest positive is that no major injuries have occurred. Training camp injuries are always tough, and teams like the Philadelphia Eagles and Baltimore Ravens have already suffered major losses in Jeremy Maclin and Dennis Pitta, respectively. While key players like Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski have yet to practice, and others like Devin McCourty remain limited, the Patriots have had the majority of their 90-man roster practicing.
- Since Bill Belichick did the right thing and addressed the media before camp began on the Hernandez situation, there hasn’t been much of a mention of the former Patriot. Instead, Tim Tebow has been taking up most of the headlines, including catching passes, participating in ball-carrier drills, and lining up as a punt protector. Every practice has also included loud Tebow chants and cheers from fans every time the QB completes a pass. In the end, it probably won’t mean a whole lot as Tebow is far from a lock on the 53-man roster.
- WR remains one of the most wide-open positions for the Patriots. So far, rookies Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins have emerged as the favorites with free-agent signing Danny Amendola. Fellow rookie Josh Boyce has also looked good in practice. The Patriots released Donald Jones to give the rookies more time with Tom Brady. Time will tell if the chemistry they are building with Brady will show on the field.
- Tough to say who will emerge next to McCourty at the safety spot, but according to ESPNBoston’s Field Yates, the competition looks like it’s between Steve Gregory and Adrian Wilson. Tavon Wilson has reportedly been practicing with the third-stringers, which is not a good sign for last years second round pick.
- Marcus Cannon has been seeing a lot of reps at RG with Dan Connolly recovering from offseason surgery. According to Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston, Cannon looked like one of the best OL on the field in one-on-ones. Connolly could lose his starting job to Cannon if he does not return soon. Even if he does, Cannon may be good enough to beat him out.
- TE is another area of intrigue. Between Daniel Fells, Jake Ballard, Michael Hoomanawanui, and rookie free-agent Zach Sudfeld, no one has separated themselves as the clear-favorite. On the positive end, all four have looked solid and made good plays. Perhaps all of them can find a way onto the roster.
- At CB, Aqib Talib, Alfonzo Dennard, and Kyle Arrington have all looked very good, especially on Monday. If all three can play well together, with Talib and Dennard as the starters and Arrington in the slot, then the secondary could be that much better.
- Every season, the Patriots award front-row parking spots to the 10 players they felt had the best offseason. This year's winners are Tom Brady, Vince Wilfork, Matthew Slater, Jerod Mayo, Nate Solder, Rob Ninkovich, Ras-I Dowling, Dane Fletcher, Talib, and Amendola.