Aug 15, 2014; Foxborough, MA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles running back Henry Josey (34) makes the diving touchdown against New England Patriots strong safetyDuron Harmon
(30) in the second half during the preseason game at Gillette Stadium. The New England Patriots defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 42-35. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
3. Key Positional Battles Remain Deadlocked
Coming into this offseason, there were two positional battles we would be monitoring closely, the strong safety slot, and the starting center. And after two preseason games, here is what we know about both of them:
Ryan Wendell and Dan Connolly were splitting snaps last night, while there were at least six players that were rotated in at the strong safety position. Logan Ryan and Kyle Arrington both were featured at safety, which speaks to the depth of this secondary. The Pats are loaded at cornerback, which gives them the flexibility to place a talented corner at safety, to maximize all of their collective talent.
At the beginning of camp, I was convinced rookie Bryan Stork would take over the starting duties at center, and Duron Harmon would create some separation between him and the rest of the pack who were after that starting spot. But Stork is currently sidelined with an injury, and Harmon hasn’t done anything to show he is the clear starter (if anything, he has slipped backwards). Shoring up the interior of the offensive line is vital for the Pats, because protecting Tom Brady is the number one key every Sunday. Regardless of who wins the starting job, we have to hope they can adequately protect number 12.
It will be important to keep an eye on these two positions next week against the Panthers, as that is the closest thing we will get to regular season action before the Pats head down to Miami.