The New England Patriots is continuing to bring its days of OTA’s spring minicamps and the past five days of training camp continuity back into the field as the team build its path for this exciting, and yet, a challenging upcoming season. Names are being removed and added at the speed of light, but that’s not unusual– it’s a part of the puzzle in building a championship team.
In addition with the unexpected release of offensive lineman Nick McDonald, the explosiveness of wide receiver Kenbrell Thompkins was an unexpected indication that he has turned on the competition for the No. 5 receiver a notch by catching everything that is thrown at him, running precise routes, and quickness at the line of scrimmage. Aaron Dobson with a slow start from the beginning of OTA’s and minicamp is steadily getting into the program followed by a minor setback on Monday and Tuesday. He should be a big part of this year’s offense. Our fourth round Josh Boyce (102nd overall) grab before Miami Dolphins could even notice what hit them, has been proving his draft value through his speed, athleticism and separation from defenders. And of course, Tom Brady and Danny Amendola rapport is steadily improving; both are in the same page.
While there was a bit of pushing and shoving between Kyle Arrington and Stevan Ridley, Ridley should really be more concerned in improving ball security skills and protecting the ball as if he was carrying a baby. It was not even raining, Ridley! Marcus Cannon is showing strengths that he can play well at the guard position while Dan Connolly is falling a bit behind. Michael Hoomanawanui, Daniel Fells, Zach Sudfield have the tight end position still open for further coaches’ evaluation as they’ve all been showing improvement, except for Jake Ballard, but his case is different.
I like the consistence and ongoing improvement at the cornerback position. Aqib Talib, Kyle Arrington and Alfonzo Dennard clearly complement the secondary, and a group free of injuries or other non-field problems, it will only get better. We expect Chandler Jones to have a monster season, and he expects to have improved as well since adjusting his diet and upper body strength during the offseason. At the end of day, this team is continuing to show improvements, regardless of what the assumptions are – whether being “vulnerable” or “lack of receiving options”. There is one common theme among all the players in just about every interview. Besides the usual “do your job” and “put the team first”, the focus is “getting better” “trying to get better” and “keeping getting better”.
With the first preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles in less than one week away, the New England Patriots have a great sense of urgency. There is nobody better than Tom Brady to emphasize and communicate the message to the team. The Patriots have the ability to bring calmness to chaos, and that is reassuring enough of its potential to succeed.