Last season Edelman became the first player in history to rack up 105 receptions and 35 punt returns, proving just how uniquely the Pats deployed him.
There is no exact timetable for Easley to begin fully participating in practice, according to an NFL source. Easley will return “as soon as he is ready,” according to the source, but he is “feeling great” and is “on track for everything” as far as rehab from surgery on his ACL.
With the Patriots practicing in full pads the last two days, fullback James Develin’s hard-charging, lead-blocking presence has been hard to miss. Develin, who graduated from the practice squad to the active roster in 2013, brings an attitude to the running game and was praised by personnel director Nick Caserio for having a “great offseason.” Ridley also pointed to Develin when asked about the overall running back group. “Not to single out one guy, but James has come in and done an awesome job,” he said.
Overall, the play of Browner and Darrelle Revis has been one of the top early storylines of camp. On Saturday, Revis intercepted two Tom Brady passes and broke up two others. On Sunday, it was Browner establishing a physical edge that reminded us of when safety Rodney Harrison was creating physical havoc in his first year with the team. The Patriots’ defense has been practicing with a bit of an edge, and Revis and Browner are a big part of it.
Brandon Browner delivered the biggest hit of training camp so far in one of these drills, knocking White clear off his feet as the running back tried to go around the outside edge. Browner let out a loud scream afterwards.

Chris Price has picked up the mantle of best Sunday notes column and this one has a really interesting nugget about Adrian Wilson’s injury problems last year. They were far more severe than anyone knew.

Tavon Wilson once again got a lot of attention with the first-team at safety, sharing the reps with Harmon. This has been a continuing trend over the first few days of training camp, but may not necessarily mean anything, as the team may simply want to get a better look at what he can do at safety after spending much of last season on the bench and on special teams.
What has belichick done that past few years that shows/tells you he is still one of the best defensive geniuses in football history despite having average defenses

Well his teams have been in the conference championship or Super Bowl in each of the last three years so for all the talk of how terrible the Pats defense has been, I think that’s what matter most - winning games, being within striking distance of the Super Bowl every season.

I’ve focused on the defense heavily since 2008. It was in great part the impetus for starting this blog. I wanted to study how Belichick would rebuild the defense that inevitably had to turnover.

There’s no question the Pats had their missteps in the rebuild which was complicated by drafts that really didn’t have a lot of talent from 2007-2009. 

I also think the Pats didn’t quite put enough value on pass rushers until recently. That’s why I loved the pick of Easley in the first round. That pick alone shows how Belichick’s thinking has evolved since last decade.

If the Pats win another Super Bowl, I think Chandler Jones and Easley will be two big keys. It took a long time to get two players like them and I think they might’ve been a little too picky trying to find defensive ends and pass-rushing defensive tackles.

It’s strange to criticize the Pats about being behind the curve, but their focus on corners like Terrence Wheatley and Jonathan Wilhite were missteps that didn’t fit the evolution of football where the value of playing physical man defense continued to rise as quarterbacks got better. It became a lot harder to win with smart guys who could pattern read and play sound “bend-don’t-break” defense.

I also look at defensive tackle as a spot where they were a little behind the curve, or maybe a better way to put it is that it just became too easy to overuse Vince Wilfork.

The guys who played next to Wilfork since 2009 just haven’t been good enough and that a significant spot in your front seven. Guys like Kyle Love, Brandon Deaderick, Ron Brace, etc. were just okay at best. Gerard Warren was the closest thing we had to a good compliment to Wilfork and he was at the end of the line.

Still, despite bad drafts and a defensive rebuild that took far longer than I thought it would, the Pats have been in the thick of it every year. That’s the testament of how good a coach BB is. Look at 2010’s defense and how many yards they gave up and explain how they went 14-2. It can’t make sense on paper.

How many coaches/GMs get a chance to rebuild a defense essentially from scratch? Not many have the longevity needed to do it, so we have to realize that BB was somewhat on new ground in the modern NFL era.

He’s one of the greatest coaches of all time but that doesn’t mean he’s perfect. He’s made mistakes, but in spite of them the Pats just keep on winning. 

Iron sharpens iron.
(via Patriots Training Camp - July 26, 2014)

Iron sharpens iron.

(via Patriots Training Camp - July 26, 2014)