New England Patriots 2014 Training Camp Superlatives and Awards
As another training camp for the New England Patriots comes to a close, it’s time to take a look back and hand out some awards for those who did or didn’t stand out for the right or wrong reasons.
Undrafted Rookie Star: An undrafted rookie makes the team almost every year and this year certainly won’t be an exception due to the exceptional play of cornerback Malcolm Butler. Rarely did a practice or game pass where Butler wasn’t making plays on the ball. Butler is a near-lock to make the roster.
Biggest Surprise(s): The immediate return to health of Vince Wilfork and Rob Gronkowski has been one of the nicest surprises of camp. Usually players coming off major injuries like a torn ACL or Achilles start out on the PUP list, but both of these major injury concerns appear to be on track for the season opener. Wilfork still shows great get-off and almost appears refreshed after the season off.
Nice summation of where everyone is at from Mike Loyko. As much sense as it all makes right now you never know where the shocking cut and/or addition will come from. And to be sure, something shocking will happen before the season starts, it always does.
For the most part are all the injured players returning on pace to play in the season opener
Overall I think the Pats have been pretty lucky this summer in that it doesn’t seem like any major pieces have been lost for the season.
The buzz kill injuries were Siliga and Chris Jones. It’s kind of ironic given that neither would’ve likely been on the team last year if Wilfork and Kelly hadn’t gotten hurt and now I’m bummed they’re both out.
Siliga was spotted today doing conditioning work with a cast on his left hand/arm (reports vary how big it was). I have to imagine he’ll be back before too long, just cast it up. He was having a great start to camp too and was really a guy I though could (and still should) break out this season.
Jones had an ankle injury and while initial reports were that he “dodged a bullet” and he was spotted in the locker room yesterday without a cast/limp/walking boot. However I worry (and this is pure Mike D. speculation) that it’s a high ankle sprain. Those can tend to linger.
Hopefully both those guys are back soon.
Otherwise the guys who were injured last season have all been on remarkable recovery tracks. Gronk, Wilfork, Kelly, Smith and Mayo all should likely be ready for the opener. That’s huge news, and ironically, very important for Wilfork/Kelly to be back with Siliga/Jones out.
Vollmer has missed the last few practices, that’s a big question mark but I think we all feel pretty comfortable with Cannon filling in for him for however long.
Lastly, Hoomanawanui has been back at practice, that’s huge to help manage Gronk early in the season. As everyone is aware, tight end depth is scary right now, though I think there will be additions there before the opener.
Regrouping after one week of Patriots training camp
We’re one week into training camp for the New England Patriots, and just one week away from their first preseason game, so it’s time to take a look at what we’ve learned so far about this edition of the Pats.
It’s hard not to be excited, especially on the defensive side of the ball, where the Pats are as healthy as we could’ve hoped headed into camp. Vince Wilfork, Tommy Kelly and Will Smith, all coming off major injuries, appear to be on track for the start of the season.
On the back end, the secondary has been as expected with Revis and Browner leading the way. Browner’s attitude and Revis’ high level of play have already seemed to bring a new swagger to the Pats defense that has been missing for a long time.
2014 PatsPropaganda Patriots Top 50 NFL Draft Board
For the past three years, I’ve put together a Patriots-only big board, ranking 50 prospects that I like most for the Pats, roughly in the order that I like them. Needs are taken into account and I try to spread them out across all levels to try and hit as many as possible. Think of this like a big lottery ticket.
My scores in past seasons: 2011 - four out of nine picks, 2012 - two of seven picks, and 2013 - two out of seven picks (plus Chris Jones though he wasn’t drafted by the Pats). Can I break .500 this year??
Input is welcome, but my only rule is to keep it to 50 guys, so for every guy I add, someone’s gotta come off. Many of you know these prospects far better than I do, so make your case in the comments for additions and subtractions.
PatsPropaganda is written and edited by Mike Dussault, a card-carrying Belichickian. He has a soft spot for hard core X's and O's, and believes in "throw to score, run to win", low pad level, and touchdown celebrations that last two weeks.
He is a Patriots Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report, and his work has been featured on FoxSports.com, Yahoo Sports, and SI.com. He also co-hosts the weekly PatsPropaganda & Frenz Podcast with Bleacher Report's AFC East Editor Erik Frenz.
PatsPropaganda was TruFan.com/CSNNE's 2011 winner for Best Patriots Blog.
He can be contacted at PatsPropaganda [at] gmail.com
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