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News Blitz 6/30: Could this year's Patriots defense be the best of the Belichick era?

Posted Jun 30, 2014

The Patriots.com News Blitz gets you up-to-date on the latest Patriots news from local and national media.

Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston believes this year's Patriots defense could be in for a special season assuming relatively good health across the different positional groups.

"While much of the discussion has been offense-based and if there are enough weapons for quarterback Tom Brady, I think the most exciting part about the 2014 Patriots will be the development of a potentially very good defense," writes Reiss. "Of the projected 11 starters, there are 6-7 first-round draft choices. While draft status isn't a perfect way to measure talent, I think this unit has potential to rival arguably the best defense in Bill Belichick’s tenure – the ’04 unit." READ MORE>>

Phil Perry of CSNNE.com takes a look at 5 Patriots undrafted rookies to watch during Training Camp: RB Roy Finch, LB Cameron Gordon, RB Stephen Houston, LB Deontae Skinner, and TE Justin Jones.

"At 5-foot-6 and 177 pounds, Finch was one of the easiest players to pick out during OTAs and minicamp when the Patriots opted not to wear numbers on their practice jerseys," notes Perry. "It wasn't only because of his size -- or lack thereof -- but his speed and quickness clearly stood out. Finch worked at running back and took reps returning kicks during the spring practices. Though the team appears to be set in its third-down back role with both Shane Vereen and rookie fourth-round pick James White, there is no clear-cut No. 1 kick returner on the roster so perhaps Finch could find a job on special teams." READ MORE>>

Doug Kyed of NESN.com believes retired TE Tony Gonzalez still wants to play in the NFL. Could he be an option for the Patriots?

"Seriously, though, I think Gonzalez still wants to play, but he probably doesn't want to participate in an entire training camp," writes Kyed. "I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s playing somewhere in 2014." READ MORE>>

Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk writes that Patriots CB Darrelle Revis recently praised the way things work in New England.

"They work their butts off in New England," Revis told the Tampa Tribune. "As soon as you get into the offseason program, it’s non-stop. They want to be winners. They know what I can bring to the table and at the same time, we want to win. As a Jet, we had a rivalry with [the Patriots] and from the outside looking in, I looked at them differently. We respected them, but you want to beat them. Inside looking out now, I've got way more respect because I’m there. I get to see everything, how it operates every day." READ MORE>>

John Clayton of ESPN.com writes that the Jets' additions of RB Chris Johnson and Eric Decker make their offense better, but the moves aren't enough to catch the Patriots.

"The gap between Tom Brady and even an improved Geno Smith is too vast," adds Clayton. "The Patriots scored 154 more points than the Jets did last year. Decker and Johnson can't make up the nine-points-a-game difference." READ MORE>>

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