Official website of the New England Patriots

replay
Replay: Patriots Unfiltered Mon Jun 01 | 12:00 AM - 11:59 PM

Ask PFW: Patriots camp competition heats up

Has Rex gotten his subscription yet?

David Martin

I assume the "Rex" in question here is Bills coach Rex Ryan. I don't believe he's a Patriots Football Weekly subscriber, but he probably should be. PFW would give him a lot of insight into the team he needs to try and beat twice a year and for division supremacy. On second thought it's probably better that he's not a PFW subscriber, better off for Belichick and Co. that Ryan can't put our vast knowledge of the Patriots to use for his own evil purposes.

Andy Hart

How will the addition of second-round pick Jordan Richards affect the safety position? In particular, could we see Patrick Chung taken off the field more in passing situations and some sort of platoon at the position?

Richard

Foxborough

Well, Richard, Richards has gotten a decent number of reps and been relatively impressive in training camp practice this summer. With his addition and the return of Duron Harmon, I do think that Chung could see his playing time altered/cut in 2015. Chung is a proven physical presence up front, but his coverage can be an issue at times. In the new-look back end Harmon and Richards might offer more in that area. The problem is that in football it can be hard to have a rotation based on the offense in terms of run or pass. It's just not a run, run and then pass league anymore. The bottom line is that I think the Patriots secondary is going to be a more fluid, diverse group in 2015 and I think that Chung will see the field less this fall than was the case last year in his surprisingly productive return to New England.

Andy Hart

OK start for the Pats who were trying out a lot of players against the Packers. My question concerns WR Chris Harper. Knowing that they have a lot of good to very good wide receivers, what are your thoughts concerning Chris? I saw him make a number of receptions Thursday night and didn't see him drop a pass. Do you see any chance of him making the roster or is the practice squad the best he can hope for?

Tony Tauro

While Harper has done a nice job with his opportunities this summer, I still think the practice squad is probably about the best he can hope for as an undrafted rookie in New England. He looks like a receiver with some versatility. He also offers some return ability as well. But he hasn't show the ability to do anything at an elite level yet to earn himself a surprise roster spot. There is no shame in an undrafted rookie landing on the practice squad. There is still a lot of August action in front of us, but that's probably Harper's best chance to stick in New England at this point unless injuries really become a lasting issue at the receiver position.

Andy Hart

20150818_viewfromabove_boyce.jpg

Hey Guys, Thanks for keeping us all in the loop throughout the offseason. You're the best. My question is about Danny Amendola and the WR group as a whole. I watched the Baltimore game and the Super Bowl again recently and I was struck first of all by how great the Patriots were last year. For example Brady was almost exclusively in the shotgun and playing from behind in Baltimore and we still came out on top. What a legendary game. But also by the contributions of Danny A, who I have been rooting for a long time now. Seeing as Amendola was pretty quiet during the regular season, do you guys have the sense that Belichick kept him hidden as kind of a secret until the playoffs? I.e. let Baltimore think of him as a bust even though the Pats knew he could contribute in a big way? Or am I giving Bill too much credit?

Secondly, with the apparent emergence of Josh Boyce, and I guess my hopes (and organizational hopes) that Dobson will emerge, what do the Pats do at WR? Do they have space to keep both Dobson and Boyce on the 53-man roster? And how would that work? What are your expectations? Thanks fellas. Keep up the good work.

Jon Parisi

First question first, you are definitely giving Bill Belichick too much credit. He's the greatest of all time on his own actual achievements, you don't need to go overboard. I think Amendola worked his way more into the mix down the stretch and into the postseason. Julian Edelman did not play in the final two games of the regular season. Rob Gronkowski also sat out the finale. Amendola caught a combined 12 passes in the final two contests which may have boosted him into the postseason when he scored three touchdowns. Amendola's role in New England is complex in part due to the fact that he somewhat replicates the skills of Edelman. He doesn't have a distinct job all his own. But I don't think there was any plan to hold him back and unleash him late. It just happened. But I do think it boosted his rapport with Tom Brady and may help him be a more consistent contributor moving forward in 2015.

As for the second part, I'm not sure that either Boyce or Dobson will be on the roster this fall. Dobson has once again missed practice time to injury this summer. Boyce, who was cut and landed on the practice squad last fall, has been inconsistent and likely not done enough to win a job. The core of the group will be Edelman, Brandon LaFell (assuming he gets healthy), Amendola and, based on what we've seen, veteran newcomer Brandon Gibson. Matthew Slater is a special teams ace and wide receiver emergency option. Maybe, just maybe, Dobson and Boyce are battling Brian Tyms for one final roster spot.

Andy Hart

This is for Paul Perillo, Why are you so pessimistic on all your comments, there's a limit between being realistic & being depressed, we are New England fans, we are excited 'bout new season & we get down with your comments, from what I read from you the team looks like will end up with an 8-8 record & I can bet anything that we will be better than that.

Ramon Madrid

I can't answer for Paul … oh, who am I kidding? Paul isn't nearly as negative as he comes off as at times. He often says on the PFW in Progress radio show that things always work out for the Patriots. He also generally picks the team to win 12 games or so each season. He doesn't mean to bring depression to Patriots Nation. I apologize. But as I always say when people write in to criticize me – thanks for reading!

Andy Hart

710x380-20150201-butler-int-ap.jpg

Are you at all worried about how well our secondary will hold up? If so do you see any last minute additions in the near future?

Trevor Poor

I do have some long term concerns about how the secondary with perform and "hold up" in the face of top opposing talent and potential season-on-the-line plays in the postseason. But I will say that I feel better about the group, as a whole, today than I did prior to the start of training camp. I like what I've seen from Malcolm Butler at left corner. I like the potential for veteran addition Tarell Brown. Robert McClain seems like a physical, feisty presence in the slot. And the safety position could be deeper and more versatile with the addition of second-round pick Jordan Richards. Overall the group will have its ups and downs. It can't possibly measure up in terms of talent and experience last year's Darrelle Revis-led group. But I feel better today that the group may be good enough and could improve as it gains experience over the course of a long NFL season. Time will tell. But I do not see the addition of any secondary-altering players at this point. The depth chart is what it is.

Andy Hart

I was always curious about whether the New England Patriots were going to sign any other playmaking WR off of free agency. Do you guys think this is ever going to be a good possibility like Mario Manningham or others to give Tom Brady or whoever some help?

Anthony Karustis

My initial reaction to this question is no. But you can never really rule out Belichick adding talent at any position at any time. He's also looking to improve his roster, especially as he gets a handle on the type of talent he thinks he has in the existing mix. I don't see Manningham as an option, essentially two years removed from a productive NFL season. The name that would seem to be more likely to toss around would be former Colts legend Reggie Wayne. The Patriots supposedly had interest in him prior to last season. He came back from a torn ACL to have a somewhat productive 2014 campaign. Really, though, unless injuries to guys like Edelman and LaFell become a long term problem I think the Patriots are going to try to go to battle with the group currently on the roster. It's a pretty good group, by the way.

Andy Hart

If Brady isn't playing how do you think Garoppolo will fair?

Liam Donovan

I have my doubts. I think he is a talented guy who just doesn't have the high-level experience in a complex offense. I think he needs reps and snaps. But he may not get enough of either before the regular season and the Pittsburgh Steelers roll around, assuming he is indeed thrust into action as a Brady fill-in. I think he, like all young quarterbacks, would have some struggles. He'd probably also make some plays and do some good things. If he's on the field come September it would be about minimizing the former and maximizing the latter. That goes for the entire team, not just Garoppolo, because if he plays he's going to need all the help and support he can get. Right now, I'm hoping we don't have to find out the answer to this question, though. Like everybody else, I'd certainly prefer to see No. 12 under center on Sept. 10. No offense to Garoppolo.

Andy Hart

Why does it seem like the league is a mess when it comes to punishments? It seems like it is whatever Roger wants it to be. Why not have a standard set of punishments to fit the offense?

Mark Bushnell

The NFL has certainly had its share if issues with punishment rulings in the last year or so in some high-profile cases. Part of the problem is that you can never have a set of standards for every unique, specific, individual offense. There will always be a gray area and room for interpretation. That's just the reality. And the reality is that under the CBA Roger Goodell's office has a lot of power to decide the punishment. Maybe that will change moving forward. But that's the reality right now.

Andy Hart

603-rex-ryan-ap.jpg

Has Rex gotten his subscription yet?

David Martin

I assume the "Rex" in question here is Bills coach Rex Ryan. I don't believe he's a Patriots Football Weekly subscriber, but he probably should be. PFW would give him a lot of insight into the team he needs to try and beat twice a year and for division supremacy. On second thought it's probably better that he's not a PFW subscriber, better off for Belichick and Co. that Ryan can't put our vast knowledge of the Patriots to use for his own evil purposes.

Andy Hart

How will the addition of second-round pick Jordan Richards affect the safety position? In particular, could we see Patrick Chung taken off the field more in passing situations and some sort of platoon at the position?

Richard

Foxborough

Well, Richard, Richards has gotten a decent number of reps and been relatively impressive in training camp practice this summer. With his addition and the return of Duron Harmon, I do think that Chung could see his playing time altered/cut in 2015. Chung is a proven physical presence up front, but his coverage can be an issue at times. In the new-look back end Harmon and Richards might offer more in that area. The problem is that in football it can be hard to have a rotation based on the offense in terms of run or pass. It's just not a run, run and then pass league anymore. The bottom line is that I think the Patriots secondary is going to be a more fluid, diverse group in 2015 and I think that Chung will see the field less this fall than was the case last year in his surprisingly productive return to New England.

Andy Hart

OK start for the Pats who were trying out a lot of players against the Packers. My question concerns WR Chris Harper. Knowing that they have a lot of good to very good wide receivers, what are your thoughts concerning Chris? I saw him make a number of receptions Thursday night and didn't see him drop a pass. Do you see any chance of him making the roster or is the practice squad the best he can hope for?

Tony Tauro

While Harper has done a nice job with his opportunities this summer, I still think the practice squad is probably about the best he can hope for as an undrafted rookie in New England. He looks like a receiver with some versatility. He also offers some return ability as well. But he hasn't show the ability to do anything at an elite level yet to earn himself a surprise roster spot. There is no shame in an undrafted rookie landing on the practice squad. There is still a lot of August action in front of us, but that's probably Harper's best chance to stick in New England at this point unless injuries really become a lasting issue at the receiver position.

Andy Hart

Related Content

Advertising