Training camp is a little more than a week away with rookies due in town July 24 and the official public opening set for July 28. There will be a number of issues worth monitoring during those practices, not the least of which will be the breakdown of reps between Jimmy Garoppolo and Tom Brady.
But while the quarterback situation will receive plenty of attention, it's not the only position of importance. The secondary is an area that most Patriots fans are concerned about with the lack of depth at cornerback being the main reason.
Just don't count the folks at Pro Football Focus among those worrying about the coverage. PFF ranked the secondaries of all 32 teams and the Patriots checked in at No. 3, trailing only Denver and Arizona. The crew states Malcolm Butler and Logan Ryan "ranked among the top 25 cornerbacks in overall grade" and added that the tandem of Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung "have blossomed into one of the best safety pairings in the league."
Butler is set as the left corner coming off a solid Pro Bowl season a year ago, but there are questions beyond that. Ryan did a nice job on the right side last year, although he was picked on at times in key spots. Justin Coleman came out of nowhere to fill the role of third corner and when healthy was one of the team's pleasant surprises. So the overall depth isn't great, which PFF acknowledged as well and believes the team has addressed with the selection of Cyrus Jones in the second round.
"The secondary's biggest weakness is their third cornerback, but they hoped to have improved at the position with the selection of Cyrus Jones (Alabama) in the second round of the draft," PFF wrote.
Seattle and Green Bay followed New England at 4 and 5 while Buffalo, Minnesota, Washington, Oakland and Houston rounded out the top 10.