Who’s QB1 for the New England Patriots?
We have entered a completely new era of the Patriots even with Tom Brady being gone and a champion already for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in his first year. Not surprised. Yea sure, you can say it started last year but the previous season was more of a “what we have and what we can do” campaign. Newton took the Pats as far as he could in a new system and still getting those tough reps. They were missing 4 of their defensive starters and Edelman was on the IR basically the whole season. I wasn’t a big fan initially of the Cam Newton signing, thinking he wouldn’t be able to shoulder the burden of this team. Now he’s got 2 jobs, ball out and help Mac Jones build that confidence. Training camp is showing a better and more confident Cam while Mac Jones is out there looking solid. Jarrett Stidham is somewhere lingering around doing what he can do but I don’t see him really getting the first team reps without the two before mentioned guys are hurt or stick really bad.
It’s Not the QBs That Make the Patriots A Concern
The rest of the offense is really sexy on paper. Tight end combo of Hunter Henry, if he can stay healthy, and Jonnu Smith sounds nice for a Patriots offense that will look to resolidify that two TE package. Patriots missed that last year with average blocking and playmaking on that end and need to get back to being a strength for this team. I was shocked when they signed Nelson Agholor but this guy has really gone all out to revamp his game. After coming close to being cut by the Eagles, he was at practice early and staying late, working on his routes and hands. Established himself as a threat to the defense and even more when he went to the Raiders. Kendrick Bourne being his Robin is a nice 1-2 punch after what they had last year. I really don’t expect K’Neal Harry to stay long whether trade/cut or iniury. Theres too much of the same history throughout his career but I do hope he can make some strides this season.
The Offensive-Line In New England Is Dominant
David Andrews, Boss Hog, is back to anchor that offensive line as well as Trent Brown from the Raiders. Love this. Now insert Shaq Mason at guard and Isiah Wynn at left tackle, both back from injury, and we are tackling about a serious offensive line here. 2nd year guy Mike Onwenu with be the 5th piece to the puzzle and hes shown he can be that guy. Being a 6’6 350lb lineman helps really well at the guard position. This line has me feeling hoggy for the season and cannot wait to see this offense.
Don’t Sleep On The Patriots Defense
This defense in New England is not one to sleep on this year. Stephon Gilmore is still a top 5 cornerback in the league and had the mentality/skill to play every down. JC Jackson, after an amazing campaign last season, on the other side solidifies this combo as a nightmare matchup for any offense. Devin McCourty enters his 12th season and he still hasn’t regressed poorly. Testament against time he consistently goes out there and shows he can cover the whole field and make the hard tackles. Adrain Phillips at the other side of safety is a nice grab and plug. Plenty of experience to help round out that backfield and not be vulnerable to big plays. Patriots brought back Kyle Van Noy who was a great leader for that defense. Still has some gas left in the tank but with big dog and team leader Donta Hightower back, for what they lack in speed they make up in coverage and giving the QB a hard time trying to find an open guy up the middle. Patriots were bottom in the league for QB pressure so to change that they brought in former Raven Matthew Judon. Really like this, comes from a mean defense and has sole purpose to harass the QB which should amplify his game a little more. My dark horse is Josh Uche. Love the speed and drive of this guy. If most of this defense can stay healthy and first round pick Christian Barmore can be the Alabama dog he was in college at the pro level, I see a really developing defense as some of these old guys play their final games.