New England Patriots: Re-Evaluating Position Battles

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Aug 13, 2015; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots defensive end Chandler Jones (95) rushes Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) during the first half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Defensive End

Key Takeaway: All the depth

Man, the Pats sure have a lot of talented edger rushers on this roster. The two starters are obviously mainstays in Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich, but unlike past years, they have a whole group of talented guys they can bring in to not only spell Jones and Ninkovich, but to also run different pass rushing packages that feature three or four defensive ends.

Jabaal Sheard was easily the most impressive player on defense to play against the Packers, as he was constantly getting into the backfield, pressuring the quarterback, and disrupting running plays. He will get a lot of playing time this year, and I assure you he will make a huge difference.

Rookie Trey Flowers was very explosive off the edge before he left with an injury, as his move to get past the left tackle and sack Aaron Rodgers was a thing of beauty. He is definitely not a three down player at this point, but I could see him coming in on passing situations to help get some pressure on the quarterback. Second year man Rufus Johnson was also explosive, but he is very raw, and will probably need time to develop before he sees some serious game action.

The bottom line is this: yes, the Pats secondary won’t be as good as it was last year, but this pass rush will be one of the best in the entire league. They are big, talented, explosive, deep, and they have the best trio of linebackers in the NFL sitting right behind them. It is going to be fun to watch these guys tee off at the quarterback all season long.