Dec 21, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Buffalo Bills tight end Scott Chandler (84) is defended by Oakland Raiders safety Brandian Ross (29) on a 29-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter at O.co Coliseum. The Raiders defeated the Bills 26-24. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
As training camp approaches for the New England Patriots it is time to preview some of the position battles which should be among the highlights of July and August at the Gillette Stadium practice fields in Foxboro, MA. Despite coming off a Super Bowl championship season, there are numerous battles on both sides of the ball that will be determined throughout camp and the preseason games.
On offense, the Patriots have two 2013 draft picks pushing Danny Amendola to claim the third wide receiver role. Aaron Dobson, who had an impressive 2013 season as a rookie, struggled with offseason foot surgery heading into 2014 and later on was shutdown with a hamstring injury. He and 2013 fourth round draft pick Josh Boyce will try to supplant Amendola and push their way into the lineup.
At tight end, free agent Scott Chandler moved from the AFC East rival Buffalo Bills to join the Patriots. With Michael Hoomanawanui already having staked a claim as the second tight end in the offense, Chandler will have to battle him in camp to get regular playing time in the base offense with Rob Gronkowski.
Feb 1, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; New England Patriots offensive lineman Josh Kline against the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
On the offensive line, the Patriots drafted two interior linemen to help replace Dan Connolly who retired this offseason. With Bryan Stork set at center and Ryan Wendell at right guard, impressive young guard Josh Kline will attempt to hold off last season’s opening game starter at right guard Jordan Devey and 2015 draft picks Tre’ Jackson and Shaquille Mason.
Finally, at running back the Patriots have three players vying for the third down/receiving back role with the departure of Shane Vereen in free agency to the New York Giants. The Patriots have 2014 fourth round draft pick James White facing off against veterans Travaris Cadet and Dion Lewis to replace Vereen in the Kevin Faulk/Danny Woodhead role in the offense.
Earlier this week at Musketfire.com we looked at the position battles on defense. To read about the free for all at the cornerback position, three players battling to start at strong safety, a rookie and veteran squaring off for the coverage linebacker role, and a number of new additions via free agency and the draft to push veteran Rob Ninkovich at defensive end/outside linebacker you can click here.
Read on to examine these four roster battles at wide receiver, tight end, guard and running back
Next: Position Battle #1: Third Wide Receiver