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News Blitz 7/23: Rob Gronkowski cleared to play

This edition of the news blitz focuses on a number of season previews as the Patriots prepare to begin camp.

As Jeff Howe of the* Boston Herald* points out, today marks the beginning of the Patriots season. Training camp is knocking at the doorstep and the team hopes that this week will be the beginning of another Championship journey in New England. Howe says that Rob Gronkowski's health is the most vital storyline during camp and luckily there's some good news in that department.

During his press conference this morning, Bill Belichick said that Gronk has been cleared to play football and will not be on the team's Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list at the start of training camp. According to's Zuri Berry, this means we should expect Gronkowski to be a full participant in practice.

NBC Sports came out with their Pre-season Power Rankings and the Patriots came in at No. 4. Pro Football Talk's Josh Alper provides a full review on the Patriots' ranking as the team prepares to start it's season.

"Getting beyond the conference title game and earning another Lombardi Trophy is a different matter, however," says Alper. "They'll need better health than last season, development from a young receiver or two and no noticeable slippage from key veterans to add a fourth ring for the Belichick era."

According to Ben Volin of the Boston Globe, money may be a big factor when deciding which players to cut before the start of the season. Volin highlights the players that give the Patriots the best value as well as the players that could be on the bubble because of their contracts.

"The financial evaluation can often trump the on-field evaluation," explains Volin. "A team rarely picks the 53 best players — sometimes it's stuck with a bad contract, or willing to take a gamble on a minimum-salary player with no risk."

Last night on Comcast SportsNet's "Sports Tonight," Bob Neumeier and Hardy from 98.5 the Sports Hub joined Michael Felger for a game of Over/Under. The three discussed a variety of Patriots topics including whether Brady will be a top three quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo's pre-season quarterback rating, and whether the defense will allow less than 16.3 points per game in 2014.


CSN*'s Gary Tanguay believes that this year could be Brady's last chance to win a Super Bowl. He considers Darrelle Revis to be the key to another Super Bowl ring and if this is the only year that Revis spends in New England, then the Patriots must take full advantage of the upcoming season.

"In the Super Bowl play in-game and in the big game itself, superior defense is needed. This year the Patriots have a shot at playing like one," writes Tanguay. "Next, year Revis could walk out of Foxboro. And with him would be Tom Brady's last chance to win a championship."

Lorenzo Reyes of USA Today asks whether New England will end it's ten-year Super Bowl drought in his preview of the Patriots season. Reyes breaks down each position and highlights all the main storylines entering the season. CSN's Tom E. Curran asked this same question as part of his daily "Camp Questions" column and he believes that they have as good a chance as anybody.

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