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News Blitz 6/20: Winners and losers from Mini-camp
"Aaron Dobson probably would have entered training camp as a starter if he had been able to practice this spring. Since he didn't, Dobson and Thompkins will enter the summer neck and neck for the "X" receiver role that KT earned in 2013," writes Kyed.
Ben Volin of the Boston Globe says that Patriots DL Will Smith could have retired this offseason, but he couldn't resist an opportunity to compete for another Super Bowl ring. Coming off a torn ACL, it's difficult to predict how much Smith will be able to contribute in 2014, but he says that he's out there working hard and competing.
"Love going out and competing. Love playing on Sunday," said Smith. "As long as I still have the drive and ambition and still want to go out and compete each day and win, as long as I want to win, I'm going to be out there playing."
We all know how much Coach Belichick values players who truly love the game and love to compete, so it's no wonder why he wanted to bring Smith to New England.
But as the Patriots have learned in the past, having a great team doesn't mean you'll finish the season as Super Bowl Champions. The Patriots has been among the league's best teams over the past 12 years, but they have been unable to win that elusive fourth Super Bowl ring. Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald says that this team is stacked with big-game experience, but they need to figure out how to take the next step -- winning a Super Bowl Championship.
Two players that are hoping to make a big impact in 2014 are Duron Harmon and Logan Ryan. NESN's Doug Kyed says that the two have put in a lot of work this offseason and it's made an impression on their teammates. Devin McCourty told Kyed that Harmon and Ryan were ahead of rest of the team when everyone returned to Foxborough for the start offseason program.
"Watching both of them, it inspires me. I'm always in there with those two trying to get extra work in," said McCourty according to Kyed. "I think it's good, once you've been in the league for a while you get some young guys that are in there and they're hungry. It reminds you to stay hungry and keep working hard."
"Though the corner has long been unafraid to speak his mind, he explained on Thursday that he understands the hierarchy: Belichick is the boss. And he's OK with that," says Perry.
So far, everyone in Patriots secondary has been present for the offseason workouts, except for Alfonzo Dennard. According to Ben Volin of the Boston Globe, Dennard is still recovering from shoulder surgery, which is the reason for his absence in practice. The third-year cornerback injured his left shoulder against the Cleveland Browns on December 8th -- the same game that Rob Gronkowski tore his ACL.