The Patriots are off today, and after five days of practice there have been some interesting developments. Coming in we knew this would be one of the most fascinating training camps for the Pats in recent memory, especially with the amount of turnover at the wide receiver position.
There’s always turnover in NFL football, but rarely does it involve so many high profile players, but the Patriots still look primed for another great season.
Here are the things that have caught our eye over the first week of practices for the 2013 Patriots.
1. The Rookie Receivers Look Legit: Undoubtedly the best news of training camp, Aaron Dobson, Josh Boyce and Kenbrell Thompkins have all stood out in camp and all look ready to contribute. It’s been a long time since there was a collection of young weapons at the receiver position to be this excited about. They might be inconsistent early, but if they can maintain the level they’re showing in camp, the Patriots offense should be just fine.
2. Jamie Collins Standing Out: Linebackers coach Pepper Johnson raved about Collins earlier this week, and it looks like his presence will be felt primarily by his pass coverage. This is an area the Pats really needed help in, and Collins’ freakish athleticism will be a welcome addition.
3. Not so fast on Armond Armstead: Prior to camp most had penciled in Armond Armstead into a defensive tackle rotation, primarily helping out the interior pass rush, but Armstead was a surprise addition to the PUP list, and this past week it was learned that he had to have surgery for an infection. This is a blow to the defensive tackle depth, and has thrust Marcus Forston and Joe Vellano to the forefront of the positional battle. The Pats have struggled to find a specialized interior pass rusher the last two seasons, and now, with no expected return date for Armstead, they’ll have to get creative once again.
4. Tavon Wilson Not Starting: The safety position was one area where we thought there’d be a three-way battle, but so far it’s just Steve Gregory and Adrian Wilson lining up next to Devon McCourty. Tavon Wilson looks like he’s headed for another season at the dime linebacker spot, but perhaps a year to learn from Adrian will serve him well.
5. Chandler Jones Making the Leap: One player we wanted to see dominance out of was Chandler Jones, and so far he has delivered and really stood out. In NFL Football you must have a force at defensive end who can make an impact on three downs, and Jones looks ready to be that guy.