4 roster battles to watch for as the New England Patriots return for training camp

  • Who will become the next go-to guy for Mac Jones?
  • Will a rookie kicker win the job from Nick Folk?
  • Can a second-year running back secure the backup role behind Stevenson?
New England Patriots v Buffalo Bills
New England Patriots v Buffalo Bills / Bryan M. Bennett/GettyImages
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Offensive line

This is probably one of the least surprising roster battles we know about heading into training camp.

After what was a roller coaster of a season from the entirety of the offensive line, maybe minus just Michael Onwenu, veteran and rookie additions accompanied by a competent o-line coach are exactly the changes needed to get the unit back on track.

Although the line struggled unanimously throughout last year, a few players will not be battling it out to secure a spot; David Andrews, Onwenu, and Cole Strange are likely the safest bets not to worry about being cut.

The most questionable spots to fill will be right and left tackle, which were consistently problematic and a liability throughout last season.

One of the biggest issues of all has now moved on to the Dolphins in free agency, Isaiah Wynn. However, the other disappointing performer, Trent Brown, has created a messy drama for himself during the offseason.

It all began when Brown was noticeably missing during OTAs, not a good sign for a team needing veteran leadership to help steer the ship ahead of the upcoming season. Belichick addressed his initial absence, revealing Brown's flight to Foxboro had been canceled due to weather.

It was an understandable excuse, especially given the massive cancellations by airlines in recent months. But Brown was never seen during the rest of the practices, calling Belichick's response more into question.

Now with training camp right around the corner, there is a bit of uncertainty regarding Brown's status with the team.

Will he be present? Will he be motivated to re-earn his spot on the offensive line? Time will tell.

In the meantime, Calvin Anderson and Riley Reiff were signed this offseason for much-needed depth to the o-line while simultaneously adding competition to those already rostered. Although neither has been entirely impressive during their respective careers, both bring experience and the possibility of replacing a starter if needed in the near future.

Since they both are known to play right tackle, and Brown has been a consistent swing tackle for the Patriots, they could replace Brown on the right side if they can prove worth the risk.

Regardless, they will be competing for a starting position, whether against each other or just Brown; it will be fun to watch over the next month and a half.