Hello, and welcome to another edition of ‘The Patriot Way’, your number one source to New England Patriots news and analysis from around the web.
Quick-hit thoughts around the Patriots, NFL
"As the Patriots’ defense takes shape after an eventful offseason of player movement, the group that keeps coming to mind for me is the 2014 Detroit Lions defense. That unit — led by first-year coordinator Teryl Austin — overwhelmed opponents with a front seven that generated pressure from all angles and resembled something of a brick wall against the run. That dominant front seven offset a secondary that had personnel questions coming into the season (especially at cornerback). While the Patriots’ front seven may not be quite at the level of the Lions’ last season (my early take would be that the Patriots’ linebacker group is superior, but the Lions’ defensive line was better), it could well be counted on to mitigate some of the pressure on a new-look secondary."
Camp Battle #5: Linebacker Depth
"The Patriots top 3 linebackers are Jerod Mayo, Dont’a Hightower, and Jamie Collins. On paper, that trio is arguably the best trio of linebackers in the NFL. In the grand scheme of things, that’s not nearly as important because as we saw the last two years that 1 major injury can really wreck the initial plan. At a position that is physically demanding, injuries are going to happen. You can’t predict injuries, but you certainly can prepare your team to be able to weather through that."
Predicting New England Patriots’ 2015 Unsung Hero
"The New England Patriots lineup is full of superstar names such as Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski, but some of the team’s impact players fly under the radar.Who is an unsung hero on this roster? What does he do exceptionally well?"
Best of the Belichick Era: Number 23 — Antowain Smith
"After making just three starts for the Buffalo Bills in 2000, carrying for a measly 354 yards, it seemed like it was over for Antowain Smith. It was a decent run for a guy who didn’t get to the NFL until he was 25. Having been saddled with a load of family responsibilities coming out of high school, Smith worked two years in a material dyeing factory before going to junior college and then onto the University of Houston. At 6-2, 232 pounds, he ripped it up for the Cougars and was a first-round selection in 1997. The Patriots had a need in 2001. Kevin Faulk had been their lead back and he wasn’t suited for everydown work. Smith was. And then some."