New England Patriots 2019 training camp primer: Linebackers
Widely considered one of the strongest and deepest units on the team entering camp, the Patriots have a bevy of starting-caliber options at linebacker.
It’s a fair argument to claim that the further away from the line of scrimmage you move along the Patriots‘ defense, the deeper – and more talented – the positions become.
There’s a justifiable level of concern that the New England defensive line doesn’t have enough star power on it currently… especially not when compared to some of the other squads around the NFL. On the flip side, the Patriots’ secondary probably boasts too many stars… it’s an embarrassment of riches and ability.
The Pats’ linebacking corps sits right in between the two, with a slight lean towards the secondary’s status as that of one of plenty. There are proven, veteran stars who have anchored the New England D for years and years now, and for the first time in a while, there’s actually some competitive depth behind them as well.
This bodes well if the Patriots intend to make another long, deep playoff run – and let’s be honest, they always do, don’t they? So it’s encouraging to witness Bill Belichick and the rest of the team ownership reinforcing the center of the defense, if for no other reason than to give a bit more rest to the team’s grizzled starters at times.
New England will have to be careful though with how they rotate their linebackers in and out. All it takes is one significant injury – and Dont’a Hightower, in particular, has a history of hurting himself during the regular season – and the Patriots might find themselves stretched a bit thin; if not in quantity, then at least in quality.