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Trade: Patriots Send Green to Cowboys, Acquire Defensive End

The New England Patriots traded defensive back, Justin Green, to the Dallas Cowboys for defensive end, Ben Bass. broke the news of the player-for-player swap Tuesday evening. Green was signed as an undrafted free agent by New England last summer. He was facing an uphill battle to make the team’s 53-man roster this season.

Bass is a third-year defensive lineman out of Texas A&M. The 24-year-old is listed at 6’5, 294 and recorded one tackle in two games last year for Dallas. With the Patriots interior lineman banged up and Cowboys cornerback, Orlando Scandrick, suspended four games, the move makes sense for both sides.

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Tuesday Patriots Training Camp Observations: 8/12/14

Patriots rookie QB, Jimmy Garoppolo, looks to build of his first preseason game this week. (USA TODAY Images)

The New England Patriots hosted the Philadelphia Eagles on Tuesday afternoon. The two teams had a two and a half hour, full-padded session on the fields outside Gillette Stadium. The competition level was high as they gear up for their Friday night exhibition game.

Here are my observations:

- I can’t remember a practice that had as many fans in attendance as Tuesday. The Patriots announced 25,317 came to watch the joint practice, which shattered the previous single-season record. The crowds came pouring in and brought a ton of energy. The atmosphere was great.

- Patriots defensive captain, Jerod Mayo, was not present at practice Tuesday. It’s the first session he’s missed this season.¬†Defensive back¬†Tavon Wilson and linebacker Ja’Gared Davis were present, but not wearing pads.

Good news on the Patriots injury front. Backup quarterback Ryan Mallett returned to practice Tuesday after missing Sunday and Monday. Receiver Aaron Dobson (foot) and rookie defensive lineman Dominique Easley (knee) — taken off PUP on Monday — were both in full pads for the joint practice, but practiced on a limited basis.

TE D.J. Williams, LB Cameron Gordon, TE Michael Hoomanawanui, OL Bryan Stork, OL Chris Martin, WR Jeremy Gallon, DL Chris Jones and DT Sealver Siliga were not spotted.

 - Tom Brady looked really sharp Tuesday. He was throwing lasers at every level of the defense, winning nearly every matchup. Best throw of the day was deep down the left sideline to Kenbrell Thompkins. Despite two Eagles defenders in the area, the throw was perfect and Thompkins made a great play.

As good as Brady was — and usually is — Eagles QB Nick Foles was on par with no. 12 Tuesday. Foles carved up the Pats defense without much resistance, which was disappointing. At one point he connected with wideout Jeremy Maclin for a deep touchdown over Darrelle Revis and Devin McCourty.

- Some of my favorite moments at training camp are when receivers go one-on-one with cornerbacks. The Patriots and Eagles had some great battles throughout the first session. Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman put on a clinic. They stood out and had their way with whoever lined up across from them.

- I continue to wonder what will happen at the safety position next to Devin McCourty. We have seen several players get work with the perceived first-team defense: Duron Harmon, Patrick Chung, Tavon Wilson, Nate Ebner, Logan Ryan and even Kyle Arrington.

You would think the sooner the starters could play alongside eachother the better it would be in terms of communication and continuity, but it appears the coaches have not made a decision. I’ll be focusing on this battle moving forward in preseason.

- ¬†After practice the Patriots completed the “Ice Bucket Challenge”, raining awareness for ALS. With owner Robert Kraft and Belichick in the center of a group huddle, the team lifted up their buckets and dumped the icy water all over themselves.

Not sure how he got the honors, but rookie Zach Moore dumped the bucket on Belichick. The Pats then challenged the other AFC East teams to do the same. Great moment.

Do you have a Twitter account? Be sure to follow me: @PatriotsHaven!

Patriots vs Redskins: Five Thoughts on Preseason Opener

Patriots rookie quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo impressed in the 23-6 loss to the Redskins Thursday night.   (USA TODAY Images)

The New England Patriots opened the preseason Thursday night against the Washington Redskins.

Thursday night’s game gave fans and analysts the chance to get an in-depth look at some of these players¬†in a more competitive setting than on the practice field.¬†Here are five takeaways from the 23-6 loss. -

1) Ugly Team Performance:¬†If you watched the whole game, it wasn’t pretty. Overall, way more negatives than positives. It was disappointing to see the Patriots perform so poorly after some strong showings in training camp.

In all three phases of the game, the team had too many mistakes. Head coach, Bill Belichick summed it up after saying the team has “a lot of work to do” Don’t cancel the season just yet, though, it’s only the first preseason game. With so many unknown commodities on the field for the majority of the contest, it’s a learning experience.

2)Offensive line Struggles: Throughout the game the offensive line struggled to protect quarterbacks Ryan Mallett and Jimmy Garoppolo. New England was not winning the one-on-one matchups.

Jordan Devey (starting at left guard in place of Logan Mankins) and Josh Kline at right guard both gave up some inside pressures and did not look in control. Something to monitor moving forward as they reshuffle the personnel up front.

3) Chris Jones Injury a Concern: Chris Jones carved out a nice role for himself last year and looked like a nice rotational contributor for the upcoming season. Late in the second quarter, however, he was rolled up on and limped off the field under his own power.

With fellow defensive lineman, Sealver Siliga, injuring his hand earlier in the week, it would be a shame if Jones’ injury caused him to miss a significant period of time. He left the game with what the team called an ankle injury and did not return.

4) Mallett Struggles, While Garoppolo Shines: Tom Brady watched from the sideline tonight giving Mallett the opportunity to start. The fourth-year backup was very inconsistent, which is what we have seen from him far too often at this point in his career. The offense as a whole looked abysmal and could not move the ball.

Rookie signal-caller Garoppolo stepped in for the second half and looked much better. So far in training camp Mallett had out-performed the rookie, but that was not the case Thursday night. Garoppolo did a good job keeping his eyes downfield, showing poise in the pocket and connected with wide receiver Brian Tyms on a few occasions. I liked his touch on the ball and hopefully he can build off this moving forward.

5) Depth an Issue: Throughout the game I thought running back, tight end, defensive end, linebacker and safety all looked thoroughly unimpressive. With many starters observing from the sidelines, it makes me question the quality of depth at each of those positions.

None of the tailbacks flashed, the tight ends were nearly invisible, the front seven struggled whether it was run or pass and several safeties took some bad angles. The opportunity was there for many of the players to take advantage and very few of them did. I will be focusing on those positions very closely next week. A lot of room for improvement.

Three Stars:

CB Malcolm Butler –¬†Cornerback is one of the deepest positions on the roster, but don’t count out Butler just yet. The undrafted rookie from West Alabama responded well after being targeted early in the game. He plays with confidence and a good competitive edge. He could be someone to watch as a darkhorse to make the 53-man roster with Brandon Browner suspended the first quarter of the season.

QB Jimmy Garoppolo –¬†The rookie QB threw a few dimes on the evening, finishing up 9-of-13 for 157 yards a touchdown. After a rough start to training camp, Garoppolo showed he has some promise moving forward.

WR Brian Tyms — ¬†He was targeted six times, hauling in 5 catches for 119 yards and a touchdown. The third-year receiver stood out, albeit against mostly third string opponents, but looked like he deserves more of an opportunity to prove himself as the preseason continues. He and Garoppolo showed great chemistry throughout the evening.

Do you have a Twitter account? Be sure to follow me: @PatriotsHaven!

Tuesday Patriots Training Camp Observations: 7/29/14

Wide receiver Julian Edelman has been terrific throughout training camp. (USA TODAY Images)

The New England Patriots held their fifth practice of training camp on Tuesday. The team got a much-deserved day off Monday, but had their first of four practices this week on Tuesday.

The Patriots were in pads and it was a beautiful day for practice. While the temperature was rising, so was the physicality.

Here are my notes from Tuesday’s practice:

- Wide receiver Aaron Dobson, Jeremy Gallon, defensive lineman Dominique Easley, linebacker Deontae Skinner, Matthew Slater were present, but did not participate. Offensive lineman Dan Connolly, Chris Martin and tight end Michael Hoomanawanui were not spotted.

Cornerback, Alfonzo Dennard, was cleared off the Physically Unable to Perform list and did participate in practice. He rotated between drills and doing some conditioning work on the side. Working his way back into the mix.

Rookie center Bryan Stork appeared to suffer a minor lower-leg injury and walked off the field on his own, but did not finish the session.

-¬†This was the most physical session of camp. Offensive and defensive lineman we’re going at it, there was some live tackling and the defensive backs really got in the faces of wide outs.¬†

- With the NFL focusing more on defensive holding and illegal contact for the upcoming year, the first five yards are going to be even more crucial for defensive backs. I think we will see the Patriots cornerbacks play a lot more press and try to disrupt opposing receivers at the line of scrimmage. 

-¬†It was a big day for wide receivers and cornerbacks to go head-to-head. Whether it was one-on-one, and seven-on-seven or 11-on-11 drills. It’s always fun to focus in on the action as the players battle it out. During a one-on-one session with Brady at quarterback, Julian Edelman was dominant and had some beautiful catches. His route running is superior to everyone else on the roster. He beat Revis, had a terrific one-handed catch over Kyle Arrington and won just about every matchup. He has been one of the most impressive players in camp this year.¬†

- I’m not sure what it means, if anything, but we have seen Darrelle Revis lined up solely on the left side throughout camp. At first glance I thought it was about him, but then I thought it could be Brandon Browner. With Browner spending the last few seasons in Seattle playing across from Richard Sherman, perhaps he is only comfortable on the right side. Sherman never moves from the left, so Browner might not be able to be moved around as much. We’ll have to wait-and-see, something to monitor moving forward.

- At one point Tuesday, Tom Brady was working with Rob Gronkowski and Darrelle Revis off to the side. Tight end coach, Brian Daboll, was right in the middle of the action. Revis, intentionally playing loose in coverage, was shadowing Gronkowski as Brady was throwing him passes. It’s the first time I have seen any defender line up against Gronk and while it wasn’t true coverage, it seems like a step in the right direction as they ease no. 87 back in the mix.

Brady and Revis spent some time after talking about what each other are seeing in certain situations. One of the best in the game at both of their respective positions, no doubt learning from the other as the compete everyday in practice. Very cool to watch the two interact.

- It’s cool to see how far James Develin has come. He’s battled for a spot on this team, earned playing time and now it seems like he is a lock to make the roster. He shows versatility and sets the tone in the run game. He threw a block for Stevan Ridley Tuesday that you could hear from 120 yards away.

- Play of the day happened during 11-on-11 drills towards the end of practice. Ryan Mallett threw a lateral pass to his left to Edelman. Once Edelman caught the ball, he faked like he was running and then threw a deep bomb to Danny Amendola down the left side line. It was a great throw and catch, the crowd went crazy. Keep that in mind for late in the season.

Another highlight was during seven-on-seven drills, when Tom Brady threw a very deep pass down the middle of the field to receiver Brandon LaFell. LaFell beat the rookie cornerback Malcolm Butler and a fast-closing Nate Ebner to make a great catch in traffic. Brady was very fired up and you could see him celebrating and screaming with Mallet. Best play LaFell has made so far in camp.

- After practice was over, former Patriots players were on the field talking to each other. Offensive lineman Joe Andruzzi, Dan Koppen, linebacker Matt Chatham and former coach Charlier Weis was also in attendance Tuesday. It was awesome seeing some of the former members of the team back on the field.

Overall, it was long and physical day for New England. The team has a session on Wednesday and Thursday morning, followed up by an in-stadium practice for season ticket holders on Friday. The Patriots head to Richmond, VA this weekend before their joint practices with the Washington Redskins.

Do you have a Twitter account? Be sure to follow me: @PatriotsHaven!

Sunday Patriots Training Camp Observations: 7/27/14

So far James White has looked solid, which could put pressure on Brandon Bolden (pictured).

The New England Patriots held their second padded practice of training camp on Sunday. The sound of crashing pads and the more physical element of practice emphasized football is just around the corner.

The first two days of practice were spent focusing on how players look, moved and the reps each were getting at their respective positions. Adding pads to the practice made the two-hour session a lot more interesting and made it easier to evaluate not only the lineman, but defensive players and running backs too.

Here are my notes from Sunday’s practice:

- Wide receiver Aaron Dobson, Jeremy Gallon, cornerback Alfonzo Dennard, defensive lineman Dominique Easley and linebacker Deontae Skinner did not participate. Offensive lineman Chris Martin and special teamer Matthew Slater were not spotted.

- The skies were threatening all morning, but the rain held off until about five minutes left to go in Sunday’s session. Practice was cut short, but still more intense than what we saw the previous three days. There was a big emphasis on the run game and the Pats were very physical.

- The play of the day happened about an hour into Sunday’s practice. Rookie tailback, James White, was running off tackle to the left side. Cornerback Brandon Browner delivered a huge shot, taking the running back off his feet and onto his back. Browner screamed towards the sky and the other defensive players went crazy. The defense played with a lot of attitude in team drills.

- Tom Brady had a very light workload Sunday. He participated throughout the day, but left the 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills mostly to Ryan Mallett and Jimmy Garoppolo. Mallett threw the ball great and looked sharp. He hit second-year receiver, Josh Boyce, on a bomb down the left side leaving the coverage far behind.

Garoppolo took a penalty lap after fumbling a snap for the third straight day. The rookie has struggled with decision-making and accuracy the first few days, but there’s no need to panic. He spent some time working with offensive coordinator, Josh McDaniels, one-on-one.

- As aforementioned, Sunday was spent with an emphasis in the run game. It gave the offensive and defensive lineman an opportunity to get more contact. During these padded sessions, it’s much easier to evaluate the running backs as well. I’ve been really impressed with rookie, James White. He’s had nice catches, broken some big runs and bursts through the hole. He received some praise from Bill Belichick after a nice run Sunday.

Another name to keep in mind is undrafted running back, Roy Finch. The UDFA has received a fair amount of opportunities and flashed a few times. He has a very small frame — listed at 5’7, 180 — but his speed and elusiveness make him fun to watch. Whether it’s the return game or catching a pass out of the backfield, he’s caught my eye a few times.

- The return game was also in focus for the Patriots. Boyce, Finch, Shane Vereen, Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman have been a few guys in the mix. The team worked on kick coverage as well, even putting Revis and Browner in for some reps on special teams.

- Funny moment towards the end of practice: Despite not participating, Dennard and Dobson were throwing the football back-and-forth at the end of the day. Dobson dropped an easy pass, which prompted a fan to yell “Way to go, Dobson!” in a sarcastic tone. Dobson stared at the heckler, then Dennard threw him another pass and the rookie wideout caught the ball with one hand. The same fan said, “There ya go!” The surrounding crowd laughed and Dobson enjoyed it as well.

Here’s a photo taken by our friend Fred Skott (@fskott):

Overall, the practice was more intense than the previous three days. Certainly more physical and now the team gets a much deserved day off on Monday.

Do you have a Twitter account? Be sure to follow me: @PatriotsHaven!

Saturday Patriots Training Camp Observations: 7/26/14

It was another eventful day at Patriots training camp behind Gillette Stadium.

The New England Patriots held their first padded practice of training camp on Saturday. The sound of crashing pads and the more physical element of practice emphasized football is just around the corner.

The first two days of practice were spent focusing on how players look, moved and the reps each were getting at their respective positions. Adding pads to the practice made the two-hour session a lot more interesting and made it easier to evaluate not only the lineman, but defensive players too.

Here are my notes from Saturday’s practice:

- Wide receiver Aaron Dobson, Jeremy Gallon, cornerback Alfonzo Dennard, special teamer Matthew Slater all did not participate and remain on the Physically Unable to Perform list. Defensive lineman Dominique Easley, offensive lineman Chris Martin and linebacker Deontae Skinner also did not participate and remain on the Non-Football Injury list.

Defensive lineman Tommy Kelly has been cleared off the PUP list and had limited particpation. Similar to Rob Gronkowski he did not take part in team drills. Defensive back Jemea Thomas, Daxton Swanson and receiver Greg Orton were not spotted. Orton was carted off with an apparent leg injury Friday.

- The Patriots announced 13, 819 fans were in attendance Saturday. Patriots Nation was out in full force and brought a ton of energy to the practice.

- The sun was out for a second day in a row and coming down right on Revis Island. The All Pro cornerback was tremendous Saturday, intercepting Tom Brady twice, both passes directed at Julian Edelman.

He wasn’t perfect, though. Brandon LaFell beat him down the sidelines — his only significant play through three days — and Edelman beat him over the middle during a late seven-on-seven session. Nevertheless, it was great to see what Revis can bring to the table in person.

- In that same vein, many times today we saw Revis at left cornerback and Brandon Browner on the right side. Both get physical, especially Browner who will use his immense size to knock receivers off their routes. Everything Revis does is so smooth and he makes it look so easy. The addition to both of these players could turn the defense into one of the league’s best.

- Early on in practice, Gronkowski was taking part in some blocking drills with other lineman. Fullback James Develin was holding a large pad and was put on his back by an incredible blow from Gronk. It illustrated just how valuable Gronkowski is, not just as a pass catcher, but also in the run game.

- Second-year cornerback Logan Ryan had a nice day. He had one interception off a deflection (Jimmy Garoppolo to Justin Jones) and also had several pass breakups. His continued development could make the pats secondary even more dangerous. Ryan looks comfortable moving around in different formations.

- Rookie running back, James White, has flashed a few times throughout the first three days. It’s hard to evaluate tailbacks at times during camp, but White had a few good runs Saturday and it looks like he’ll be in the mix to contribute very early on.

- From a pass catching perspective, Gronkowski, Edelman, Danny Amendola and Kenbrell Thompkins have all been very good throughout each of the three days.

I have yet to see Brandon LaFell have a good practice. He beat Revis on a deep pass Saturday, but had several drops and struggled to fight through physical man coverage. Despite his signing bonus, I am starting to question his spot on the roster. We’ll have to wait-and-see to make a total judgement, but first impressions have been underwhelming.

- While Duron Harmon has been pegged as the starter next to Devin McCourty at safety, Tavon Wilson continues to see a lot of reps with the perceived “first team” defense. It’s tough to know what the coaching staff is thinking or what it means, but worth noting.

- The center and right guard spot battles are ongoing. Friday, Dan Connolly (center) and Josh Kline (right guard) had a majority of the snaps.¬†Saturday was a different story. Ryan Wendell returned to center with rookie Jon Halapio seeing some action at right guard. It’s the NFL version of musical chairs, only so many spots available. Wendell and Connolly might be fighting for one spot with all of the young lineman on the current roster.

- At the end of practice, the team brought out Danny Nickerson to sing “Happy Birthday”. Nickerson, a Foxboro boy¬†with an incurable brain tumor, was celebraiting his sixth birthday. Even though he was shy, it was an amazing moment. The large crowd followed up with a big applause.

Overall, the practice was more intense than the previous two days. Sunday should be similar to Saturday as positional battles continue to heat up.

Be sure to check out¬†Friday’s Notes¬†to get caught up if you haven’t and tomorrow more observations will be posted. Stay tuned!¬†Do¬†you have a Twitter account?¬†Be sure to follow me:¬†@PatriotsHaven!

Friday Patriots Training Camp Observations: 7/25/14

The Patriots got down to business during their second practice behind Gillette Stadium on Friday. (PHOTO: Derek Havens/

The New England Patriots opened up training camp to the public for the second day on Friday and fans piled in to watch the team practice.

Unlike Thursday’s practice session, which had dark clouds covering the sky followed by light rain to end the session, the sun was shining brightly Friday. Day two of practice was beautiful and a great atmosphere yet again in no small part due to all of the fans.

The players and coaches were in a light-hearted mood, but also got down to business working on fundamentals.

Here are my observations from Friday:

- The only two players not seen Friday were cornerback Jemea Thomas and offensive lineman Chris Martin. Wide receiver Aaron Dobson, cornerback Alfonzo Dennard, special teamer Matthew Slater, linebacker Deontae Skinner, defensive lineman Dominique Easley, wide receiver Jeremy Gallon and defensive lineman Tommy Kelly were not participating in practice. 

- It was a hot day Friday, so at the beginning of the session a few players got wet-and-wild. It was the NFL version of a slip and slide. One of the assistants soaked the far corner of the field for a while and then a few players — Garoppolo the only one I could pick out with confidence — would try to corral a simulated fumble.

- You hate to see any injuries in this setting, but recently re-signed WR Greg Orton went down with an apparent knee injury and had to be carted off. It’s not known how serious the injury is, but it didn’t look good.

- Rookie QB Jimmy Garoppolo had a rough day Friday. He struggled completing passes in team drills, fumbled a handoff with tailback Brandon Bolden and threw two interceptions. Obviously it’s early, but the second-round pick will want to put this practice behind him quickly.

In that same vein, four players ran penalty laps Friday. Logan Mankins the first offender; Bolden and Garoppolo for fumbling a handoff and Nate Solder for jumping offsides in seven-on-sevens. While coaches weren’t smiling, every time the player ran by the fan bleachers they received some loud cheers and applause from the crowd.

- It’s still early and I want to see more improvement, but Kenbrell Thompkins has put together some solid practices. He’s made some highlight reel catches and spent a lot of time with Brady, Gronkowski and Edelman for the second straight day. Once again,¬†the opportunity is there for¬†Thompkins. Brandon LaFell and Josh Boyce have progressed slowly, plus Dobson is still recovering. He’s making the most of his chances.

One of the plays of the day was during team drills at the end of the session. Brady hit Thompkins who made a nice diving catch to beat cornerback Darrelle Revis in the endzone. Tom Brady ran over and slapped Thompkins’ helmet, the two have built a good chemistry.

- The center position has gotten a lot of attention because many expect the Patriots to reshuffle going into the year. On Friday Dan Connolly got a lot of run at center with second-year lineman, Josh Kline, starting at right guard. It will be interesting to see how the team continues to move the guys around.

- It’s really hard to judge running backs without pads, but Shane Vereen made some nice plays Friday. He had a few great catches on wheel routes and saw significant reps lined up at wide receiver. We haven’t seen much of Stevan Ridley, but I expect that to change once the pads come on. Brandon Bolden has not looked good. He’s had a fumble and dropped a few passes.

- A funny moment after practice. Running back Stevan Ridley was signing for some fans and a group of young kids ran up to him. They weren’t asking for his signature, though, but a selfie with them. No. 22 was all smiles and it got some laughs from the rest of the crowd. It’s awesome to see the players interacting with the fans in a relaxed environment.

Overall, the practice was very similar to Thursday’s: positional drills, seven-on-seven, eleven-on-eleven, etc. Saturday’s practice should be really interesting as the team goes into pads for the first time this July.

Be sure to check out Thursday’s Notes¬†to get caught up if you haven’t and tomorrow more observations will be posted. Stay tuned!¬†Do¬†you have a Twitter account?¬†Be sure to follow me:¬†@PatriotsHaven!

Thursday Patriots Training Camp Observations: 7/24/14

Here’s a photo of Tom Brady connecting with tight end Rob Gronkowski during Thursday’s practice session (PHOTO:Derek Havens)

The New England Patriots opened up training camp to the public on Thursday and many observers got their first look at the 2014 squad.

Patriots fans were out in full force. No question a sight for sore eyes as football is back. The first two days the players are in workout gear and helmets so we will get our first padded practice Saturday.

Here are my observations from Thursday:

- Wide receiver Aaron Dobson, cornerback Alfonzo Dennard, special teamer Matthew Slater, linebacker Deontae Skinner, offensive lineman Chris Martin, defensive lineman Dominique Easley, wide receiver Jeremy Gallon and defensive lineman Tommy Kelly were not participating in practice. Skinner and Martin were not on the field.

- The first day of camp always has a ton of energy from the crowd and today was no different. After several months without the Patriots, fans are a little football starved. So when Tom Brady, Vince Wilfork and Rob Gronkowski stepped on the field for the first time, there was an uproar.

¬†- Danny Amendola was the first Pats player out on the field. He looked good, no noticeable limp and made sharp cuts. Then again, I said the same thing last July. I’m not worried about how he does in camp or even preseason for that matter. For Amendola, it’s all about when the pads go on and the hits come. Big year for him.
¬†- Kenbrell Thompkins stood out at several points during the practice session. He made some terrific catches and looks like he’s built a good chemistry with Brady.
 - Many fans saw exactly what they wanted to see Thursday, Brady throwing a pass to Gronkowski in the endzone. Gronk looked good, showing some burst off the line and cutting well. While he did participate in position drills, he watched from the sidelines as the team ran 7-on-7 and 11-on-11s.

- None of the Quarterbacks were overly impressive in Thursday’s session. Obviously Brady looked much better than Ryan Mallett or Jimmy Garoppolo, but even no. 12 was off on a few passes. The backup QB position is one of the more interesting situations to monitor, but both had ups-and-downs. First impression from Garoppolo was his quick release and he’s not afraid to throw it into tight windows.

¬†- Cornerback Brandon Browner is big. I know I’m not breaking any news, but it was incredible to see him tower over the other defensive backs. He broke up a few passes and was moved around throughout the day. He’ll be an interesting chess piece Bill Belichick can move around this season.
On another note, it was awesome to see Revis hanging out with the other defensive backs and wearing Patriots gear. He looked good in drills, but I don’t think we’ll get a great look at him for a few more days. Revis did look comfortable, though. He fits in nicely.


Overall, a lot more positives than negatives as camp is underway. Be sure to check back throughout the weekend for more observations and analysis.

Do you have a Twitter account? Be sure to follow me: @PatriotsHaven!

Patriots 53-Man Roster Projection 1.0

The Patriots look to get back to work as they gear up for the 2014 season. (USA TODAY Images)

The NFL is back! Ok, maybe not quite yet, but training camp is nearly upon us. It’s hard to believe the New England Patriots haven’t played a game in over six months. The offseason is coming to a close and players are heading back to Gillette Stadium as the 2014 season is only a few weeks away.

Training camp opens up Thursday and 90 players will be fighting to make the team. Here is an early 53-man roster prediction.

Quarterback: 3

Tom Brady
Ryan Mallett
Jimmy Garoppolo

Brady is the face of the franchise, the only real question is who will be the backup? Expect Mallett and Garoppolo to battle it out in camp.

Running Back: 3

Steven Ridley
Shane Vereen
James White

Ridley, Vereen and White all seem like locks to make the roster. Brandon Bolden will be in the mix along with undrafted free agent tailbacks Roy Finch and Stephen Houston, but I’m not sure any of the three carry enough weight to make the team.

Full Back: 1

James Develin 

Last season, Develin carved out a solid role within the offense. He brings toughness in short-yardage situations and performs on special teams. The Pats experimented moving him around — even lining up at tight end — in OTAs, could we see an expanded role this year?

Wide Receiver: 6

Julian Edelman
Aaron Dobson
Brandon LaFell
Danny Amendola
Kenbrell Thompkins
Josh Boyce

This will be one of the biggest positions under the microscope over the next few weeks. As of now, six wide receivers seem like they have a legitimate shot at making the roster, but health questions make the situation unclear. Second year receivers Thompkins and Boyce will have the opportunity to step up while Dobson and LaFell work their way back.

Tight End (2)

Rob Gronkowski
Michael Hoomanawanui

By far the thinnest position on the roster. Essentially, it’s Gronkowski or bust for the tight end position. It seems possible he returns week one, but it’s not a guarantee. “Hooman” will have another chance to show he offers more than run blocking.

Tackle: 4

Nate Solder
Sebastian Vollmer

Marcus Cannon
Cameron Fleming

While I see Solder and Vollmer as the set starters, both Cannon and Fleming have the versatility the Pats covet in lineman.

Guard: 3

Logan Mankins
Josh Kline
Jon Halapio 

The number of three guards is somewhat misleading because of the great versatility on the Patriots roster. Mankins will start at left guard, but what about the right side? Cannon, Connolly, Stork, Kline, Halapio — it’s up for grabs.

Center: 2

Bryan Stork
Ryan Wendell

Wendell had a very good season two years ago, but came up small in 2013. Stork has the size and talent to start from day one, which should make this training camp battle fun to watch.

Defensive Ends: 5

Chandler Jones
Rob Ninkovich

Michael Buchanan
Will Smith
Zach Moore

After Jones and Ninkovich, there’s a noticeable drop off. Buchanan offers intriguing upside, Smith could be valuable as long as he returns healthy from a knee injury sustained last season and Moore might need some time to develop. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see the team look for some veteran help.

Defensive Tackles: 5

Vince Wilfork
Tommy Kelly
Dominique Easley
Chris Jones
Sealver Siligia 

The defensive tackles could be a dominant force this season, but it could be a weak spot for the team depending on health. Wilfork (achilles), Kelly (knee) and Easley (knee) are all returning from serious injuries so how they return could be critical for the team’s defense. Jones and Siliga hope to pick up where they left off last season.

Linebackers: 6

Jerod Mayo
Dont’a Hightower
Jamie Collins
James Anderson
Steve Beauharnais
Cameron Gordon 

The three starters are set — assuming the Pats run a 4-3 base defense — Mayo, Hightower and Collins. The backup roles are up for grabs, however, and undrafted free agent Cameron Gordon is someone to keep an eye on. Every year New England keeps a UDFA or two on the 53-man roster and I project Gordon for a spot this season.¬†Anderson provides versatility and Beauharnais looks to make an impact after¬†a quiet rookie year.

Cornerbacks: 5

Darrelle Revis
Alfonzo Dennard
Kyle Arrington
Logan Ryan

Daxton Swanson

The big name left off is Brandon Browner. I believe he makes the team, but he won’t be able to start the year on the Patriots 53-man roster so first-year cornerback Daxton Swanson is kept for depth for the first few weeks. After Browner’s suspension is over, Swanson may be put on the practice squad or Injured-Reserve with the “Foxboro Flu” (wink, wink) if the team doesn’t want to lose him. The other four players aren’t much of a surprise and will likely see significant action throughout the season.

Safeties: 4

Devin McCourty
Duron Harmon
Jemea Thomas
Nate Ebner

McCourty and Harmon are slated to start for New England. Sixth-round selection Thomas provides versatility and depth, while Ebner’s presence on special teams helps his cause for a spot.

Special Teams: 4

Kicker: Stephen Gostkowski
Punter: Ryan Allen
Long Snapper: Danny Aiken
Specialist: Matthew Slater

No surprises here, Gostkowski and Allen are locks. Aiken will battle UDFA long snapper Tyler Ott, but I don’t think he’ll be able to make the team. Slater, a special team standout and team captain, also earns a spot on the roster.

Breakdown –¬†Offense: 24 ¬† Defense: 25 ¬†Special Teams: 4

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Player Bio: Jeremy Gallon

Name: Jeremy Gallon

Position: Wide receiver

School: Michigan

Selected: Round 7, Pick 244 overall


Weight: 185


  • Displays strong hands, route running ability¬†
  • Has great balance and vision after the catch¬†
  • Tremendous college production¬†
  • Could contribute on special teams


  • Undersized¬†
  • Not dynamic, lacks top end speed
  • Has trouble blocking


Gallon has strong hands, displaying great hand-eye coordination. He runs good routes and can read defensive zones. The Michigan product lacks top end speed, but shows burst and agility on tape.

Gallon shows some similarities to Julian Edelman. He may be able to contribute on special teams and has traits that could translate to the NFL. Almost built like a running back, great vision with the ball in his hands. His production in the Big Ten stood out on numerous occasions. Loves the game, very passionate.

Do you have a Twitter account? Be sure to follow me: @PatriotsHaven!

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