Coming Up
  • Fri., Oct. 24, 2014 8:50 AM - 9:30 AM EDT Live Belichick Presser Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his press conference from Gillette Stadium.
  • Sat., Oct. 25, 2014 12:00 AM - 11:59 PM EDT Replay Patriots Replay Listen to the "Best of the Week" in Patriots.com Radio programming.
  • Sun., Oct. 26, 2014 12:00 AM - 11:59 PM EDT Replay Patriots Replay Listen to replays of the best shows of the week on Patriots.com radio.
  • Mon., Oct. 27, 2014 12:00 AM - 9:00 AM EDT Replay Patriots Replay Listen to replays of the best Patriots.com radio shows from the past week.
  • Mon., Oct. 27, 2014 9:00 AM - 6:30 PM EDT Live Patriots Monday Tune in all day for PATRIOTS MONDAY. Hear from Head Coach Bill Belichick, Quarterback Tom Brady and more of your favorite players every Monday during the season. Join Sportsradio 93.7 WEEI's Dennis and Callahan at 8am, Merloni, Fauria and Benz from 10-2 and Dale and Holley until 6pm as they review and preview all the Patriots action all season long. Replay from 6 - 12pm.
  • Mon., Oct. 27, 2014 6:00 PM - 11:59 PM EDT Replay Patriots Replay Listen to replays of the best Patriots.com radio shows from the past week.
  • Tue., Oct. 28, 2014 12:00 AM - 11:55 AM EDT Replay Patriots Replay Listen to replays of the best Patriots.com radio shows of the week
  • Tue., Oct. 28, 2014 11:55 AM - 2:00 PM EDT Live PFW in Progress Have lunch with Editor in Chief Fred Kirsch along with editor Paul Perillo, assistant editor Andy Hart and staff writer Erik Scalavino as they take you behind the pages of PFW on their online radio show exclusively on Patriots.com. Send in your questions and comments to webradio@patriots.com or call (508) 298-0398.
  • Tue., Oct. 28, 2014 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM EDT Live Patriots Playbook Need your afternoon fix of Patriots information direct from the source? Listen to Patriots Playbook with John Rooke and Erik Scalavino as they bring you all of the latest Patriots talk exclusively on Patriots.com. You'll hear interviews and expert commentary from Patriots HQ.
  • Tue., Oct. 28, 2014 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM EDT Live Fantasy Football Champs 120 minutes of non-stop Fantasy Football Strategy. Bill Enright and Anthony Grace are committed to helping you dominate your league. Tune in for expert analysis, weekly player rankings, and fantasy advice that will get you a Championship.
  • Tue., Oct. 28, 2014 6:00 PM - 12:59 AM EDT Replay Patriots Replay Listen to replays of the best Patriots.com radio shows of the week
  • Wed., Oct. 29, 2014 12:00 AM - 11:55 AM EDT Replay Patriots Replay Listen to the "Best of the Week" of Patriots.com Radio programming.
  • Wed., Oct. 29, 2014 11:55 AM - 2:00 PM EDT Live PFW in Progress Have lunch with Editor in Chief Fred Kirsch along with editor Paul Perillo, assistant editor Andy Hart and staff writer Erik Scalavino as they take you behind the pages of PFW on their online radio show exclusively on Patriots.com. Send in your questions and comments to webradio@patriots.com or call (508) 298-0398.

Patriots Football Weekly Blog

Print
RSS

Patriots Training Camp -- 3 to see

Posted Jul 25, 2013

Here are three areas to keep an eye on as the Patriots open training camp on Friday.

With the opening of Patriots training camp 2013 now less than 24 hours away, it’s time to put the incredibly tumultuous offseason in the books and turn the page to practice, roster competition and football.

Bill Belichick’s team is coming off a 12-win season that included another AFC East title and resulted in a trip to the AFC title game. The squad was leading at halftime against Baltimore and appeared on its way to another Super Bowl when the bottom fell out last January.

But for a team that’s been to the Super Bowl and the AFC Championship Game after winning a combined 25 games over the last two regular seasons there are a lot of questions surrounding the practice fields of Gillette Stadium this summer.

Offseason departures, injuries and potential distractions bring plenty of storylines to Foxborough as 90 men prepare to don helmets, battle for roster spots and begin laying the foundation for what will be the 2013 version of the New England Patriots.

With that in mind, here are three issues to keep an eye on as training camp heats up Friday morning.

1 – The passing game’s scheme/personnel/production: Tom Brady’s passing attack has been a presumed strength of the Patriots since the offensive overhaul led to a record breaking season in 2007. Those days are gone. Randy Moss is long gone. Wes Welker is in the Rocky Mountains. Aaron Hernandez is in jail. And Rob Gronkowski is on PUP coming back from arm and back surgeries. Josh McDaniels has a lot of transition to deal with on a unit that’s scored 500-plus points four times since 2007. Can the Brady-led passing attack still be dominant? Are they better served turning more of the job over to the Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen-led backfield? Is the base set a two-tight end look? Three wide receivers? Two backs? Once the scheme is somewhat hashed out – as they will always be rather multiple and game plan-based – how will the personnel battles at tight end and wide receiver shake out? Once all that starts to come to some degree of clarity, which guys are going to make plays through the air and earn Brady’s hard-to-gain trust? That’s a lot to accomplish over the next month to be ready for the Bills on opening day. Things didn’t look all that good this spring as the passing attack had a lot of balls hitting the ground in OTA and mini-camp work, even when going against air in shorts and helmets. The passing game is a work in progress. The question is, how much work will it take to make some progress?

2 – Edge rush from top to bottom: Rob Ninkovich has proven himself at this point as a productive, versatile playmaker on the edge. He’s going to get his four to eight sacks with a few other big plays mixed in. But at the top of the depth chart at defensive end Chandler Jones needs to make a huge stride in his second season if this defense in New England is going to make a big leap this fall. Jones had a solid rookie season before injuries and maybe the length of season seemed to slow him. Jones faces huge expectations this season and it will be interesting to see if he looks bigger (he added 10 pounds this offseason) and faster or more productive as he takes advantage of his year of experience. On the other end of the spectrum, some of the less proven players need to step up to add depth on the edge. Jermaine Cunningham and Jake Bequette will be very much in a battle for reps and roster spots. Pass rush has always been a concern for the defense in recent years and that continues.

3 – Safety in numbers: There are a bunch of guys vying for time in the secondary, specifically at the safety spot. It looks as though Devin McCourty will be kept at free safety and likely bring stability to that position. But who will line up next to him and round out the safety depth chart? Adrian Wilson has a great resume, but word in Arizona was that he’s lost a step. A lot of eyes will be watching for that in camp. Tavon Wilson looks the part of a modern safety, but now he must put it together on the field. Steve Gregory seems to have drawn a lot of criticism for his play a year ago from fans and media alike, but he did start 12 games. It might be a little early to write the obituary on his career in New England. Duron Harmon is also interesting as a somewhat controversial draft pick. There will probably be a couple different bodies who get a chance to play at safety over the course of the season, but how that starts to work itself out will be an area to watch in the back end early in camp and into preseason action.

What do you think of these three areas of concern heading into training camp? Are there other areas that you’ll be more focused on? Let us know with a comment below!

Related Tags

BLOG DISCLAIMER


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.

Most Popular Media

View Series - Ask PFW Ask the PFW writers a question