New England Patriots OTAs Start Tomorrow: What to Watch For


The offseason is flying by. On Tuesday, the New England Patriots will embark on organized team activities. Nine more sessions will be held throughout the rest of May and early June before the mandatory three-day minicamp in mid-June. For more details on the substance of OTAs, see what’s Tom E. Curran wrote today. Here are some things to keep an eye on as the Patriots OTAs play out.

Development of Jimmy Garoppolo

The future is now for Jimmy G. As it stands right now, the sophomore pro will be the team’s starting quarterback for the first four games of 2015, and all eyes will be on him from the first whistle of the Patriots OTAs.

While not padded practices, OTAs will help to battle-test Garoppolo. OTAs feature 7-on-7, 9-on-9, and 11-on-11 scrimmages, all of which will help Garoppolo get accustomed to the speed of an NFL game.

The Tight Ends

The Patriots will have some tough decisions to make in August regarding the tight end depth chart. Rob Gronkowski, Tim Wright, Scott Chandler, Michael Hoomanawanui, Fred Davis and rookie A.J. Derby currently occupy the roster, but at least two (probably three) of those guys will get the chop before Week 1.

OTAs will be the first glimpse of the tight end competition. The odds are against Derby making the final roster, but OTAs will be his first chance to prove his worth. The same goes for Patriots’ veteran Hoomanawanui, who faces an uphill battle to retain his roster status among the influx of free agents additions at the position.

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Getting to Know the Cornerbacks

After fielding arguably the NFL’s best secondary in 2014, the Patriots saw their cornerback group disintegrate over the offseason. The losses have been well documented here on Musket Fire (check out what newcomer Jeremy Dawson had to say on the situation).

Right now, the Pats have a bunch of corners on the roster. It’s clear that they are taking a quantity over quality approach to the position, and OTAs will be our first glimpse into the competition.

Logan Ryan, Malcolm Butler, Bradley Fletcher and Robert McClain are the only recognizable names on the roster right now. Behind them reside a slew of practice squad vets, draft pick Darryl Roberts, and several undrafted free agents.

These are the three most important items to keep on your radar as the Patriots begin OTAs. Check back on Musket Fire for continuing Patriots coverage of OTAs, Deflategate, and everything in between.