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4 blogservations after 4 days of Patriots camp
The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed on the PFW Blog represent those of individual authors, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions or policies of the New England Patriots organization, front office staff, coaches and executives. Authors' views are formulated independently from any inside knowledge and/or conversations with Patriots officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.
It’s only four days of practice and only two of those took place in full pads, but there were still some pretty obvious things to assess from the first taste of Patriots Training Camp 2014.
So while the players get the day off and the coaches reset their plans for moving forward when the team returns to the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium at 9:15 a.m. on Tuesday, PFW uses this opportunity to pick four major takeaways from the first four days of training camp.
2 – Garoppolo is a work in progress: Jimmy Garoppolo was the talk of the spring. As a second-round pick he created buzz as the perceived heir to Tom Brady’s throne. He then went out and looked quite solid in OTA and mini-camp action. But the transition from shorts to full pads has been a tough one so far for No. 10. While many, including myself, felt after the spring that Garoppolo might be competing for the backup job his work through four days of action has been anything but competitive. Slow reads, too many check-downs, inaccurate throws and turnovers were the story. He even had a few botched snaps and handoffs. By extension, Ryan Mallett had arguably the best practice of his Patriots career with a few extra reps in Sunday’s full-pads workout. Mallett also seems more boisterous, vociferous and energetic entering his fourth season. Early odds seem to point to the Patriots carrying three quarterbacks this fall, and that Garoppolo has a long way to go before he looks ready for the main backup job. But there is also plenty of time and many reps to come for him to improve in the big jump he’s making this summer.
4 – James White is going to be a significant contributor as a rookie: The fourth-round pick has been one of the best all-around performers in the early stages of camp. The versatile, athletic rookie has been in the mix running the ball, catching it and on special teams. He’s gotten a lot of reps, including two days in pads with a decent focus on the running game. He’s hit big plays on the ground and through the air. With Dominique Easley working back from his ACL and Bryan Stork taking more penalty laps in practice than almost anyone other than his roommate Garoppolo, White looks poised to be the top impact rookie at this very early stage. He should get his chances even with Shane Vereen doing his veteran thing, and if Vereen goes down it looks like New England is more poised to fill the passing back role than a year ago.
What do you think of these observations from the first week of camp? Anything else that’s stood out to you as a fan? Let us know with a comment below!