Typically football in May and June isn't that interesting. It's refreshing to hear that the players are getting back to work because it means the next season is right around the corner, but other than that it isn't anything special. Not this year. With the offseason addition of Darrelle Revis, everyone wants to get a glimpse of how the new-look Patriots defense will look with #24 as the feature player.
According to Michael Felger and Dan Shaughnessy, it's a story that's being heavily underplayed by the team. Last night on Comcast Sports Net, both Felger and Shaughnessy said that Revis is a truly special player and they believe fans don't understand how great he really is. Tom Brady certainly understands Revis' full potential, and as Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald noticed at practice on Friday, neither Brady nor Mallett targeted a receiver that was covered by Revis. It appears Revis may already be on his own island.
The New England Patriots held their third organized team activity on the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium on Friday, May 30, 2014.
After one week of organized team activities, Revis is impressed with the team. According to Shalise Manza Young of the Boston Globe, Revis is excited to get the season underway and with the help of his teammates, he's quickly adjusting to the team's defensive system.
"I'm just trying to take this time to get to know the guys, and for them to know me as well," said Revis. "I'm just trying to come in here and learn as much as I can and improve and get this defensive scheme down and just keep on working."
With the addition of Revis, the 2014 season may be the first year since 2004 that the Patriots defense is the strength of the team rather than the offense. Ron Borges and Kirk Minihane debated this topic over the weekend on CSN's Early Edition.
"It's still the offense, to me, and Tom Brady," said Borges. "He's more proven than anybody else."
Speaking of Mr. Brady, Mark Daniels of the Providence Journal had an interesting article this weekend on the star quarterback's throwing coach, Tom House. He compared Brady to Nolan Ryan, who House coached in the mid-80s while working for the Texas Rangers. The Hall of Fame pitcher was able to play baseball at a fairly high level until the age of 46 -- House believes that Brady can do a similar thing in his own sport of football.
"We know that if the athlete is willing to pay his dues — willing to do what he needs to do — he can delay the aging process, not forever, but he can slow it down," said House according to the article. "Of the athletes that I'm working with, he's right up there with ones that I can project to be efficient and effective into his mid-40s."
As we all know, one key to a quarterback's success (no matter how young or old he is) is having a strong cast of weapons around him. One position of need for the Patriots is at tight end. Other than Rob Gronkowski, the team doesn't have another strong receiving threat at tight end. There have been rumors that the Patriots may be interested in signing another tight end before training camp begins. Recently, Jermichael Finley and Dustin Keller have been the two names that writers say are "good fits" for New England.
As ESPN Boston's Mike Reiss points out in his quick-hits column, today marks the date that teams can sign free agents without having them count against the compensatory draft pick formula. He believes that both Finley and Keller would provide a needed upgrade at the position. According to Kyle Brasseur of ESPN Boston, when Gronkowski was asked about the prospect of signing Keller or Finley, he said that he's just focused on rehabbing and making himself a better player.
As he continues to go through the rehab process, Gronk and the Patriots hoping he can play a full season in 2014. If he's able to do so, #87 could have a big comback year. In fact, NFL.com's Chris Wesseling ranked Gronk as the second most-likely candidate for the 2014 Comeback Player of the Year. Gronkowski was ranked just behind Robert Griffin III and just ahead of Julio Jones.
"Gronkowski has rewritten the early-career expectations for the position by being borderline unguardable," writes Wesseling. "Are you telling me Gronk can't make history while catching passes from a Hall of Fame quartback?"
Another Patriots player who's hoping to have a better season in 2014 is Danny Amendola. After suffering through a groin injury for most of the 2013 season, Amendola is now fully healthy and according to Glen Farley, he's excited for a fresh start. In an article on the Tauton Gazette's website, Farley explains that Amendola believes he's in a better place now than he was a year ago.
"You get more experience, the better you are," said Amendola. "The more you play here, the more in sync you'll be, and I'm really excited to go into my second year here."