Patriots 2023 Training Camp Article
| Review, Recap, Predict
A Review of the 2022 season, a Recap of the offseason, and a prediction for the future of The New England Patriots.
2022 - A look back
The New England Patriots began their 2022 GZL season on a high note. They had been able to secure their division along with a first-round bye the previous season. Although they had been taken out by the eventual Superbowl champions, the Denver Broncos, the organization knew deep down that they had what it would take to get back into the playoffs in 2022. To even take their run all the way until the end.
That positive outlook and belief in themselves, however, didn't stop the eventual collapse that happened in 2022. Everything looked good when they won their first game of the season. A complete destruction of the Washington Redskins 44-25. A home game that they had won with ease. The rest of the first half of the season did not, however, go as smoothly. They lost their second game to the Titans, before recovering with a victory against the Bengals... at that's how the rest of the season went. It seems for every game that the Patriots were able to win, there was another that they just couldn't win and they ended up finishing with an 8-8 record on the season... A stark difference from the 12-4 record they put up the year before as they clinched a first-round bye.
No, in 2022, they weren't even going to be seeing the playoffs, and that... that hurt. The person it probably hurt most of all was GM Matt Spencer. GM Spencer had been the GM of the Patriots for 13 years... a respectable length for just about anyone in this league. GM Spencer was the heart and soul of the team, and when he threw in the towel and moved to New Orleans, you could visibly tell that the heart and soul of the New England Patriots had disappeared along with him.
The Collapse of 2022
We have now discussed what happened in 2022, but we have yet to talk about why. Why did a team that went 12-4 the previous year fail to even make the playoffs? It's hard to spot a particular problem. Had GM Spencer already lost interest in the team and was looking elsewhere? Were the players overconfident in their approach to the season? Or was it something else?
Perhaps it was Ryan Nassib, who missed five games with an injury? This reporter doesn't think so. The Patriots only looked slightly worse with backup QB Bortles at the helm. They went 2-3 with Bortles at the helm. That means there was still five loses in the season that could not be placed on Blake Bortles' play.
If it wasn't QB play, then what was it? Analysts around the league were finally able to agree on a major problem that the Patriots had in 2022, and it was on the opposite side of the ball. Looking back on every game, the problem stood out more and more as the season went on, and that was their inability to get to the opponents quarterback. The Patriots were ranked 27th in sacks and 29th in opponent passer rating. These are two stats that no team ever wants to be ranked so low in. If your QB is getting pressure put on them, but you aren't returning the favor against your opponent, then you are not going to have a good time. It's a surprise to this humble reporter that with stats so low, the Patriots were even able to manage to pull out eight wins.
Hopefully, during the 2023 season, the Patriots can figure out once again how to get pressure back on the QB.
As mentioned previously, the 2023 Offseason began in the worst way possible, and that was with the departure of GM Matt Spencer. The longtime fan and GM of the Patriots left in disgust at their 8-8 record and joined the New Orleans Saints in order to start anew. The hole that GM Spencer left was quickly filled by GM Travis Robbins, a two-time super bowl champion GM with the tendency of only lasting a few seasons before going back into semi-retirement. I suppose one can only golf so much before the urge to return rushes back.
The Patriots were in shamble in more ways than one. Their hearts had been ripped out of their chests with the departure of their long-term GM, and GM Robbins confessed to even worse news. The Patriots were in a dire Salary Cap situation. In the efforts to win a super bowl, cash was being thrown at Free Agency over the past few years and those large contracts were beginning to reek havoc on the stability of the organization.
Apparently, the situation called for a little more than just cutting a few depth players that we couldn't afford. No, the first thing GM Robbins did in his new job was trade away the beloved Jarvis Jones, who was drafted by the Patriots in 2014 and played for them ever since. Patriots fans around the country were not happy but had come to accept their situation. A week later, GM Robbins had worse news; The thirteen million dollars that they saved trading away Jarvis Jones was not nearly enough to resign many of the young guys who only wanted reasonable contracts.
The next player who needed to go was announced. CB Jamar Taylor was traded away to the Falcons. CB Taylor's contract wasn't nearly as large as Jones but the Patriots already had a pretty decent cornerback squad, and GM Robbins announced that it was one of the only two positions that he felt could take a hit like that and survive.
31-year-old The man played for the 49ers for six seasons before joining the Patriots in 2021. He had a great first season with the Patriots but his production fell off severely last year because he wasn't a full-time starter. His contract was just too large for his position as a backup.
It wasn't over yet. More news appeared only a day later. Ryan Nassib would not be a Patriot for the 2023 season. GM Robbins had to make the tough decision between the 31-year-old Ryan Nassib and his backup Blake Bortles.
Ryan Nassib never played as well as he should have, and GM Robbins wasn't going to gamble on him finally fully developing his abilities now that he was in his thirties. Instead, QB Blake Bortles was called up to start for the Patriots in the upcoming seas. Drafted in 2018, Bortles has been showing signs of improvement every year. Because of the cap situation, it wasn't logical to resign Ryan Nassib to a new contract when Bortles already had a healthy contract of his own, and so The Patriots let Ryan Nassib walk.
With the departure of Nassib, it finally appeared to be over. The announcements of player departure's and trades went away and instead news of player signings started to appear.
RT Ja'Wuan James got signed to a 5-year contract that will see him making over ten million dollars in 2027.
The Patriots got into a small bidding war over the signing of RG Vadal Alexander but were able to hold on to the player with a 1 year, ten million dollar contract. Hardly ideal, but letting Nassib walk meant that they were able to keep a stable offensive line for Blake Bortles.
Two other low Unfortunately signings pre-draft were Punter Mason Whitt and Wide Receiver Kelvin Benjamin, two key players that GM Robbins wouldn't have been happy trying to replace.
GM Robbins expressed that he wasn't completely happy with the Pre-Draft Free Agency. He had been hoping to get a better contract on RG Vadal Alexander, but he knew that there would be a risk in letting the young offensive lineman hear offers from other teams. GM Robbins' last thoughts on the matter were, "Once we sign all of the upcoming rookies, we can take another look at our cap situation. I am cautiously optimistic."
The biggest contract that emerged from this period was news of a large contract restructure for LE Owa Odighizuwa. In order to extend his contract and lower the upcoming season's salary cap amount, Owa agreed to a 57.61 million dollar contract over seven years with a 23 million dollar signing bonus. The twenty-six-year-old has to be happy with that payday.
Patriots fans could finally rest and gather their breath. Nothing crazy was going to come out of the NFL Draft. Sure, GM Robbins might decide to trade away his draft picks to avoid any rookie contracts, but we'd get something in return.
In fact, most expected this to be the case. The Patriots just had to trade multiple star players and agree to a ten million one year contract for their guard. There was no way, after all that, that GM Robbins would risk drafting rookies with engorged contracts and leave no money left for Free Agency, right?
Wrong. GM Robbins apparently had every intention of keeping his draft picks and drafting as much talent off the board as he could. When the critics started calling, GM Robbins answered with a media release explaining his actions, "We are not out of our cap situation yet. We may be in a worse situation next year with an even larger cap penalty because of these trades that were required. More Veterans might be leaving next season, and the only way to combat that is to have young players with talent and lengthy contracts. Large signings of talented players in Free Agency just isn't realistic... it's far too competitive. All the cash we have left will be going to young players hoping to make their dreams in the GZL."
And so the Draft went. The only trade that occurred was the trading away of a fourth-round pick for a pick next year. All other picks were used.
1.13 CB Grady Jones
2.8 FS Woody Carlisle
2.13 LOLB Elijah Strong
3.23 CB Lincoln Luna
4.4 WR Garcia Bend
6.12 C Bryant Fuller
6.13 C Gerald Watters
7.8 CB Paul Guyton
7.12 CB Liam O'Malley
It was an interesting selection. The main criticism coming out of New England and the country was the selection of Grady Jones, a developed cornerback for sure, but without the height advantage of a similar corner that was still available.
Out of the nine rookies, however, only four made the team.
1.13 CB Grady Jones
2.8 FS Woody Carlisle
2.13 LOLB Elijah Strong
3.23 CB Lincoln Luna
CB Luna and LOLB Strong were both signed to backup duty almost immediately. CB Jones might see some action, as the Patriots were down to only three corners prior to the draft. Jones could easily start playing in certain formations for the Patriots.
FS Woody Carlisle will more likely than not be starting. The rookie comes out of the draft with good awareness of tackling ability. GM Robbins believes that he's the best option they have.
The rest of the offseason consisted of the cutting and signing of depth players who would take the cheapest contract.
As the offseason ends and the season is about to start, The Patriots don't even have the cap space to sign a single player... and their depth is basically at the bare minimum.
The Patriots players came into the 2023 training camp ready to prove themselves. Either they were trying to battle it out for a starting position or they were trying to prove that they were better than how they played last season. Some already had their heads in the game for next offseason, where another round of trades and cut were inevitable. The better they looked in free agency, the better the payday.
It didn't matter to GM Robbins, "Every man has his reasons for being out there. Every man has his reasons for playing at their very best. That's all I can ask from them."
The first player seeing a lot of work was CB Grady Jones, the rookie drafted in the first round. Along with his well-developed catching and tackling skills, his large bulky size is what made him so attractive so this organization. They hope that he'll have the ability to completely stop receivers at the line.
Along with his large frame, he's also very agile with a high top speed. The Patriots are looking to improve it some by conditioning and it seems to be working. Any fat on his frame appears to quickly be turning into muscle; he's looking faster every day. Because of the increase in muscle mass, he's putting on even more weight. One has to wonder just how fast he could be if he dropped 30 pounds. Possibly the fasted corner in the game.
Another rookie seeing attention is FS Woody Carlisle, who is the only rookie drafted by the Patriots that can expect to see any starting time this season. Because of the Patriots lack of depth at the safety position, Carlisle is getting a lot of one on one time with both the defensive coordinator and the Defensive Back coach. Speed is the one attribute that can cover for a players lack of awareness on the field, and their conditioning seems to be focused on that area, trying to get the most out of the young player.
Blake Bortles, who thought he had another season or two before becoming a starter seems to be having the time of his life with so much focus on him. The coaches appear to be trying to perfect his throwing motion... hopefully that manifests this season, as he was only able to put up a 75 QB rating in his handful of starts the previous year.
QB Bortles currently seems to be enjoying his new role as a starter, but only time will tell how he'll handle it when the whole season gets put on his shoulders by the media and the fans combined.
Conditioning and drills continue for everyone else. Some of the recently resigned players seem to be having an increased focused directed to them. Both RG Alexander and Kelvin Benjamin. Perhaps the coaches are trying to make sure their new contracts don't get taken for granted?
It will soon be clear as to who will be having a breakthrough during this short time before the 2023 season starts.
The 2023 Season
The new England Coaches remain positive that they have a very good chance of matching their 8-8 record of last season or maybe even improving upon it.
The fans and media alike are not convinced. They appear to be more under the impression that the coaches are merely trying to save face and what New England will face instead will be a complete dismantling of their team.
Experts predict that the Patriots will be lucky to put up even five wins this season, and next offseason they will be facing, even more, cap struggles. More players will be traded or cut, and more young players with limited knowledge and experience will be forced into starting positions.
This may be the season that Robert Kraft decides to just rebuild from the ground up.
With the doomsday prediction now over with, what is the best case scenario? The best case scenario is that the Patriots somehow manage to sneak their way into a wild card position where they lose in the first round. This would require many injured QBs in the Patriots schedule as well as Blake Bortles taking command of the Offense in a way that Ryan Nassib never could.
The Patriots still have talent on both sides. Taking away a few starters won't mean a whole lot if Blake Bortles can overcome his inexperience and keep the ball safe while converting on third downs.
The largest improvement that must be made however is an increase in the Patriots pass rush. Unfortunately, they have picked up zero players that could help them in this area. We'll have to hope that the Patriots come out more aggressive on defense and they can figure out a way to break through the opponents offensive line. Without pressure on the quarterback, it won't matter how well Blake Bortles manages the game... You can't outscore a team if your opponent has all the time in the world to throw the ball.
Now that we have the best case scenario and the worst case scenario, let's now see what GM Robbins has to say when asked the same question just days ago in a press conference.
"I'm not going to come out here today and say that this team has what it takes to go all the way. We have a lot of work to do before we can even begin to dream of such an idea. What I can say is that the players on this team could have what it takes to go all the way. They must work as hard as they've ever worked, and play as good as they've ever played, but I know, that this team can surprise the critics out there... I know my players can surprise everyone."
Last ditch effort to motivate his players? Probably... but the least we can do in Patriots Nation is to at least share in his hope until it all comes crumbling down around us.
(by T_Robbins on 10/28/2017)
Replies - 0 :: Views - 12
Linebacker Jarvis Jones
| Linebacker Jarvis Jones
Rumors have emerged from the Patriots Lock Room: Linebacker Jarvis Jones will be traded
Jarvis Jones, the linebacker drafted fifth overall in the 2014 draft, may be leaving us soon. On paper he's a thirty-one-year old linebacker who's played his entire career with the New England Patriots.
But, in our hearts, he's the man who's saved us game after game. With last minute plays and last second turnovers; the man was a monster. Sure, one can argue that he started off a little slow as he learned the playbook but for half a decade now, he's been leading these linebacker corps with a high level of skill and game knowledge.
As we mourn the loss of one of our favorite players, we have to take a look at some of his accomplishments.
With 814 tackles in his career as a Patriot, he sits at #22 all time for GZL, and #2 as a Patriot, only behind Jerod Mayo. If he stayed for the extra two years on his contract, he'd be able to find a spot in the top ten.
The next stat is where it gets impressive. Although only ranked #22 all time in tackles, he jumps up to the 15th spot for tackles for loss. He even beats Jerod Mayo, who has over 200 more tackles than him.
He was also able to put up 26 sacks in his career. This is a higher sack count than anyone with more tackles than him. The number one tackling machine? Von Miller, with 1239 tackles in his career. His sack count? 17.
Jarvis Jones was a heat seeking missile. And the Patriots loved to aim him at opposing Quarterbacks.
His turnover stats aren't as impressive, but still no small feat. 8 forced fumbles with 5 recoveries, along with 15 interceptions. Even taking two of them back for touchdowns.
Is that what Jarvis Jones' career boils down to? 814 tackles, 133 tackles for loss, 26 sacks, 8 forced fumbles and 15 interceptions?
Maybe for everyone else. But for us at Patriots Nation, the impact he made on this team was far more than the stats he was able to acquire throughout his career. No, the impact he made was the accumulation of the heart, soul, and determination that he brought to the team on every down in every quarter of every season.
The man will be missed.
(by T_Robbins on 08/29/2017)
Replies - 3 :: Views - 27
GM Robbins Responds
| GM Robbins Responds
GM Robbins holds a press conferance after a scatching news article
We released a critical news report after the surprise announcement of the new Patriots hire General Manager Travis Robbins. In order to set some things straight, GM Robbins has agreed to a press conference. Below you can see a transcript of what went on.
GM Robbins: "Wow. Just wow. I knew it was rough up here in New England, but I sure wasn't expecting that. I can tell you that I'm well aware of my many short coming in the past as a General Manager, and I hope that I can correct them here in New England. Many of you may not know this, but I've been a fan of the Patriots ever since I was young and I had the privilege of learning how amazing football was. I grew up around here, and I hope that it will feel like home.
The treatment I've received so far makes me feel almost like I am walking through the front door of my parents' house during the holidays. The watching of my every move? The feeling of my every action being criticised? Yes, it feels just like the Christmas holidays.
Now, before I open up the floor to any questions, I will make this clear to you all. From now until my resignation, I will do my very best to keep this organization at the peak of the professionalism and performance that Matt Spencer has worked many years to achieve. If for one moment, I feel like I am failing this team, then you will never have to ask me for my resignation.
Now, who's first?"
Reporter #1: "Within days of sitting at your new post, you've listed two well respected and versatile football players up for trade. Jarvis Jones and Jamar Taylor. Do you really think you've been here long enough to gauge the talent of the players here? What has made you pick these two players? Are you trying to put your own personal seal on the Patriots to make them 'yours'?"
GM Robbins: "Well, for one I believe that was a little more than one question. I didn't stop you because it really all boils down to one answer, and that is the salary cap. GM Spencer has done a great job of bringing a lot of talent onto this team. More than I ever saw in Pittsburgh. Unfortunately, all these players are starting to reach the peak of their large contracts. We've become a very old team. In order to resign some of your younger players, we will, unfortunately, have to see some of our veterans go.
Along with the few players that need new contracts, we still have a draft coming up. I see no other way forward than to start rebuilding as soon as possible. In order to keep Jarvis Jones or Jamar Taylor, we'd have to let go some other great guys. Great players.
I am by no means trying to 'make my mark'. I am simply doing the best that I have."
Reporter #2: "You have three amazingly talented quarterbacks on your roster, one without a contract. Are you going to be using some of this cap room to resign Ryan Nassib?"
GM Robbins: "As most of you no doubt know, GM Spencer has been shopping Ryan Nassib around the league for awhile now. Unfortunately, no deals could be made. I am afraid that this may just be the way that Nassib will be parting from this team. I plan to move forward with Blake Bortles as the starter next year. We can't have Nassib sitting on the bench with a contract the size that he demands. I have already talked to Nassib, and he too believes that we are at an impasse.
Reporter #3: "You lasted in Atlanta for only months and the Steelers for a few seasons. How long do you plan on staying around here? Should Robert Kraft already be looking for a replacement?"
GM Robbins: "I believe I have already addressed this line of questioning. If you'll excuse me, I'm going to go back to work."
And thus ended the press conference. In a move well known to GM Robbins, he 'resigned' from the press conference without any warning. Will we be seeing this again sometime soon? With GM Robbins's track record, you can count on it.
(by T_Robbins on 08/28/2017)
Replies - 1 :: Views - 32
GM Travis Robbins Hired
| GM Travis Robbins Hired
The New England Patriots were quick to hire Travis Robbins to replace the much loved former General Manager, Matt Spencer.
Although Matt Spencer finished his career in New England with only a few minorly successful playoff runs, the Patriot organization loved the man's eye for talent and appreciated the levity he brought to the football field every year. Fans all around New England were sad to see him go.
However, it was well known that he had a strenuous relationship with Robert Kraft. The crude business owner has been looking for another ring for a long time now and has faced multiple years of disappointments.
In a surprise announcement across the league, Robert Kraft announced the hiring of General Manager Travis Robbins within only days of the firing of Matt Spencer. This leads us to believe that Robert Kraft had been shopping for a new GM for quite some time.
GM Robbins is an interesting pick. He started in the league as the General Manager for the Falcons. He left the league not even a season later when he simply walked out of the stadium after a last minute loss. He resigned from his position that very night. It was years later that he resurfaced to lead the mighty Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers had proven themselves to be Superbowl contenders under Brian Brown, and GM Robbins didn't disappoint while leading them to two more Superbowl victories.
As the Steelers talent began to fade, GM Robbins had to rely on his own abilities to spot new young talent and he fared remarkably well. He acquired a new set of players that could perhaps restart the dynasty. However, the dynasty was never meant to be, for GM Robbins left the team before those aspirations could be met.
Because of all of this, GM Robbins has become known around the league as the "Rental GM." He'll come into a team. He'll do his job. He may even win, but don't expect him to remain at a team for long. Before you even know it, he'll be off doing something else.
Is that what Robert Kraft is looking for? A couple playoff runs? Maybe a trip to the Superbowl? Whatever he's hoping for, it isn't a Patriots dynasty because GM Robbins won't be around long enough to manage one of those. We at Patriot Nation hope that Robert Kraft's desire to win comes to fruition with this move for we all like to win.
Still, we'll miss all the work and dedication that GM Matt Spencer has given this organization. We can only hope that GM Robbins doesn't tear it all down.
(by T_Robbins on 08/28/2017)
Replies - 3 :: Views - 64
2022 Patriots Training Camp
Defending AFC East Champs Look to Extend Reg. Season Win Streak (11 Games)
Is Bortles Ready For For the Next Step, or More Nassib?
Will the Defense continue to dominate? Or is it time for the Offense to breakout?
2021 Season In Review:
The 2021 AFC East championship run was a surprise when after the 1st week of the season, the Patriots were down their star QB when Ryan Nassib was injured. However, one of the league's stingiest defenses along with a young QB who avoided costly mistakes helped guide the team to the division title and a first round bye in the playoffs. After starting the season 1-4, something clicked and the team took their play to a level that not many teams have matched in the GZL's history. The team reeled off 11 consecutive victories, allowing more than 20 points just twice in that span. Happiness would come to a cruel end for Patriots fans as they faltered in a 2 point loss in the Divisional Round against the eventual Super Bowl Champion Denver Broncos.
Offense: 24.4 PPG - 11th in GZL | 85% RZ Success - 14th
We've covered the QB change due to injury, as Bortles played even football and may have earned himself the starting gig going forward into 2022 and beyond. On the ground, Giovanni Bernard was a disappointment with a sub-4.0 YPC season and managed just 51 yards in the team's biggest game of the season. The Wide Receiver corps was excellent with the steadily great CJ Washington at the forefront with another 1,000 Yard season to his name. Offseason acquisition Cordarelle Patterson helped stretch the field and open things up inside for Kelvin Benjamin and the Tight Ends; Luke Stocker and Jermaine Gresham. The Patriots still struggled up front, as Ja'Wuan James is still struggling at the all-important RT position, however LT Ereck Flowers had a pretty decent season. The Guard play also left much to be desired in production. 3rd Round rookie Fullback Derek Watt was a nice surprise for the team, as he racked up 65 pancakes and allowed 0 sacks to go along with good yardage averages when he did touch the ball.
Defense: 19.2 PPG - 4th in GZL | 34 Takeaways - 2nd | 55.3 Opp Passer Rating - 1st | 32 Sacks - 20th
The side of the ball with all the stars, but none other than Braylan Bender to start with here. Bender put together his best season as a professional and is being mentioned as a favorite for GZL League MVP honors. His 11 interceptions and 32 deflections show just how valuable he was as a disruptive force against most team's #1 wideout. He also returned 3 of his turnovers for Touchdowns, two of which came in 1-score games as the difference maker. They say Bender has better hands than some receivers in the league, and they would not be wrong. In the middle of the defense, captain Jarvis Jones was his usual steady great as well posting big tackle numbers and even 3 interceptions himself. Offseason additions Oliver Nixon (5 Sacks), CB Jamar Taylor (4 INT), and SS Matt Elam (2 INT) integrated beautifully into the team's defensive scheme and brought the unit to unseen levels. Up front, Star Lotulelei clogged the middle and brought pressure on passing downs (4 sacks), Owa Odighizuwa replicated his 2020 output with another 13 Sacks, and Leonard Williams was stout in the run game.
2022 Offseason In Review:
Notable Player Departures:
WR Cordarelle Patterson | Released | Nominated as one of 4 finalists for 2021's Addition of the Year, Patterson lasts just 1 season in New England before being shown the door. Patterson put up 929 yards and 7 TDs to bring the AFC East title back to New England, however a couple of off-field incidents and sideline dust ups were too much to handle for the organization and Head Coach Mike Zimmer. Patterson has landed in San Diego on a 3 year, $15M deal.
HB Giovanni Bernard | Released | The Patriots carousel at running back continues, Bernard lasting only 2 seasons in New England before getting the axe. Last season's sub 4.0 YPC combined with the salary that Bernard was making made him one of the more obvious cap casualties around the league. Bernard's best statistical season of his 7 year career came in his first season with the Patriots. He has now landed with the Kansas City Chiefs on a 3 year, $27M deal.
TE Luke Stocker | Released | One of the best all around TE's in the league for years, Stocker also lasted just 2 seasons as a Patriot. He had a monster year in 2020, but fell back to earth as age starts to creep up on him. Stocker has landed in Arizona on a 1 year deal worth almost $5M in what is likely to be his last season in the league.
TE Jermaine Gresham | Released | Another aging yet well rounded TE was released after the draft to make room for the team's rookie contracts. The team had hoped to keep him around for a role as a blocking TE, but could not stomach the nearly $5M cap crunch. The signing of TE Zach Ertz likely made both Gresham and Stocker disposable.
FS Ha Ha Clinton-Dix | Trade w/ Minnesota | The franchise tag was applied to Clinton-Dix at the outset of the offseason, and then he was dangled as trade bait for much of the offseason until the Vikings came calling. The team landed a 2nd Round pick and RB Tevin Coleman in exchange. Clinton-Dix is one of, if not the most talented FS in the league and this move could be one to look back on if the team's defense falters to star the 2022 season.
DE Leonard Williams | Trade w/ Minnesota | In another move with the Vikings, the Patriots dealt stud DL Williams (former #3 overall pick) in exchange for a pick in each of the first 3 rounds. The 1st round pick would end up landing the Patriots QB DeShone Kizer, so they dealt an awesome DL for a 3rd string QB. Great roster management! The Vikings defense will be hugely upgraded with the addition of two former Patriots stars.
Notable Player Acquisitions:
WR Rueben Randle | 3 Years $21 Million | Similar to last offseason's gamble on Cordarelle Patterson, Randle joins the Patriots as a 2nd option to CJ Washington. A new starter has not yet been named, but if it is Blake Bortles like most are predicting, his big arm paired with Randle's ability to stretch the field could open up the Patriots offense into something fans haven't seen in a long time.
TE Zach Ertz | 4 Years $24 Million | After disposing of their two aging Tight Ends, the Patriots end up with one of the best in Ertz. He's not yet had a huge breakout season that most expected he would be capable of putting up, but with zero competition on the roster and the ability to lineup out wide, he should find a lot of targets in the Patriots' offense.
HB Gerard Campbell | Trade w/ Denver | After winning the Super Bowl with the Broncos, Campbell ended up on the trade block and the Patriots were eager to get him, seeing as they had a front row seat to his 161 yards and a touchdown in the Divisional Round. He put up back to back 1,600+ yard and 7 TD seasons in Denver and the Patriots could use that kind of performance in their backfield, especially if they are turning the reins over to the younger Bortles. Campbell has 2 years remaining on his deal.
2022 GZL Draft:
1.27 CB Cordrea Tankersley
6'1" 195 lbs | 92 SPD | 60 STR | 93 AGI | 92 ACC | 55 CTH | 60 TAK
The Patriots were dumbfounded at how quickly the talent that they were targeting was falling off their draft boards. Usually an aggressive draft day trader, GM Spencer was unable to land a trade that would move his team to the upper half of the first round where they were looking to target a WR or OL. With their original pick, the 27th in the round, they moved on the lanky Defensive Back Cordrea Tankersley out of the University of Clemson. Tankersley, and his highly decorated collegiate career, has good size and athleticism for the bottom of the 1st round. However, it is a very crowded depth chart for the Patriots with Braylon Bender, Jamar Taylor, Jordan Poyer, and Chikae Reeder as the top 4 options. It is very possible that Poyer finds his way to another program before the regular season starts, so Tankersley could mix in on the Nickel and Dime packages while he develops. If he lives up to the hype, he should pair with Reeder as a formidable CB duo for years to come in New England.
1.31 QB DeShone Kizer
6'4" 230 lbs | 67 AWR | 95 THP | 81 THA
Still disappointed by the way the chips fell in the first round, a puzzling selecting by GM Spencer as he takes DeShone Kizer out of Notre Dame with the 31st pick. With Ryan Nassib and Blake Bortles still on the roster, Kizer will likely go into camp getting 3rd team reps. However, Nassib was on the trade block all off-season, which means he is likely still on the block and could elevate Kizer to the backup role to Bortles. The Patriots have spent the past 4 seasons grooming Bortles to take over the job, and now they will begin that process all over again with Kizer, who does come out of the draft a little more polished than the aforementioned Bortles.
2.15 DE Tyson Smith
6'5" 264 lbs | 83 SPD | 72 STR | 49 AWR | 78 AGI | 87 ACC | 66 TAK
After dealing away former 3rd overall pick Leonard Williams, the Patriots may have reached here in the 2nd round as the go back to the Clemson well with Tyson Smith. Smith is a physical specimen, but lacks experience and fundamentals. His low on field awareness and poor tackling could lead him to a reserve role on game days, unless he proves otherwise during the preseason. He's not strong enough to hold up on the Right Side and replace Williams, so it looks as though the team will use him behind Owa Odighizuwa as a pass rushing specialist. Jonathan Allen, selected two picks later might have been the better selection as he fits into the team needs of the Patriots and is ready to step in and play from Day 1.
3.7 WR Benjamin Itzkoff
5'11" 220 lbs | 90 SPD | 72 STR | 52 AWR | 88 AGI | 95 ACC | 70 CTH
After missing out on the upper tier Receivers available in this draft, the Patriots pick up a project in the 3rd round in Itzkoff. The Stanford graduate impresses most with his ability to muscle off of the line of scrimmage and dominate in the blocking game against weaker Defensive Backs. However, he does not provide much to the passing game with his poor route running and questionable hands to go along with average athleticism. The team and GM Spencer must be hoping that their top three of CJ Washington, Rueben Randle, and Kelvin Benjamin hold up all season, or Itzkoff will be forced into playing important downs sooner than anticipated.
3.27 MLB Collin Harbor
6'5" 239 lbs | 78 SPD | 75 STR | 61 AWR | 79 AGI | 83 ACC | 76 TAK
With superstar Middle Linebacker Jarvis Jones not getting any younger, the Patriots dip into the linebacker pool and take Harbor near the end of the 3rd round. They were hoping that the combine numbers were off and that they would get a more athletic player, but it seems that Harbor is what he is and will provide Special Teams usefulness only. One of his best attributes is his height, where he stands 6'5" and could be disruptive in the passing game over the middle if he were to see any time on the field.
4.7 SS Herschel Glass
6'1" 194 lbs | 86 SPD | 78 STR | 61 AWR | 81 AGI | 87 ACC | 66 TAK
4.27 DE Harris Washington
6'4" 250 lbs | 83 SPD | 73 STR | 66 AWR | 78 AGI | 80 ACC | 75 TAK
5.7 FS Tommy Donovan
6'0" 210 lbs | 85 SPD | 69 STR | 66 AWR | 88 AGI | 87 ACC | 62 CTH | 75 TAK
5.27 LG Tomas Fernandes
6'7" 275 lbs | 70 SPD | 84 STR | 50 AWR | 60 AGI | 71 ACC | 78 PBK | 72 RBK
The Patriots focused on depth in the 4th and 5th rounds, and may have found a starter amongst them. At the 27th pick of the 4th round, the team tabbed DE Washington out of the University of Iowa and the team has been impressed since they got him into the building. Washington could develop into a nice off the line rusher if given the opportunity in New England. After trading Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix, the team is pretty thin at Free Safety, so Tommy Donovan drafted at 5.7 could get a chance to earn a starting job. With their final pick of the draft, GM Spencer took a flier on an athletic lineman in Tomas Fernandes out of Georgia. Fernandes is a very raw prospect that likely won't turn out to be anything but an extra lineman or 2nd TE in those packages that call for it.
2022 Training Camp:
CB Chikae Reeder | +1 SPD [92->93]; +1 ACC [91->92]
LE Tyson Smith | +1 SPD [83->84]; +1 ACC [87->88]
QB Blake Bortles | +1 THA [89->90]
MLB Collin Harbor | +1 SPD [78->79]
2022 Season Preview:
After spending last season on the hot seat and capitalizing with a Division Title, GM Spencer may have brought the Patriots back a step or two this offseason. While he was able to bring in some new weapons on offense (HB Campbell, WR Randle, TE Ertz), his stout defense that was likely the reason for that AFC East crown lost a couple of very talented players (DE Williams, FS Clinton-Dix). If the offense doesn't make strides and the defense regresses towards the mean, it could be back to unhappiness in New England. The team still has not announced who will start the season as the Quarterback, and it may very well be an open competition in camp. Regardless of who starts, the team will need better performance from the blockers up front. On defense, the team will look to see if big ole Montravius Adams is ready to move from inside to outside to replace the traded Leonard Williams. This could also be the emergent year for Chikae Reeder, hopefully he was studying Bender carefully in his career year last season.
2022 begins anew in the AFC East with 2 new General Managers in the division. The Dolphins are now helmed by former Saints General Manager Bryan Mellon and the Bills hired Ed Diroll after Darryl Breckheimer took his talents to Minnesota. Miami offloaded a boat load of talent over the offseason, but was able to climb the draft board and snag Leonard Fournette at the #2 pick, which will give New England plenty of headaches twice a year. In Buffalo, Diroll was quiet on the FA and Trade front, but snagged two talented players in the draft with OT DeLaney and CB Lattimore. The Jets will be the Jets, count on it.
(by M_Spencer on 02/16/2017)
Replies - 2 :: Views - 62
At A Glance