Each week I plan on discussing thoughts that have been on my mind. It was an interesting week for the team. The Pats had their first pre-season game of the season. They also had Ty Warren and Torry Holt go on injured reserve. The Pats also saw the return of Derrick Burgess to the active roster. There certainly was plenty to think about. Below are my “ Five Thoughts Of The Week Regarding the New England Patriots”.

1. Will Ron Brace be able to step up his game and make an impact? With Ty Warren going on injured reserve, his loss would be softened by Ron Brace being able to raise his game and play. Brace finally got on the field this week in practice. As a second year player he has a chance now to play regulary if he takes advantage of this opportunity.

I watched him play at Boston College and I am still convinced he can play in the NFL. Vince Wilfork had a tough first year with the Patriots. It is a big adjustment switching from a 4 -3 up the field defense, to a 3 -4 read and react defense. If Brace can have that moment when the “light turns on” and he understands his job, the Patriots can survive the Warren injury. This is an important player to watch right now.     

2. How important is getting back Derrick Burgess to the active roster? Last season he was criticized heavily from the media with his lack of production. The big question is why did Bill Belichick praise the job that Burgess did last season at outside linebacker? Could there be more to the position than just sacking the quarterback? I think Coach Belichick knows more about linebacker play than the media or myself. I tend to go with the football expert and that is Bill Belichick.

The Patriots wanted Burgess back and let him take his time to work out his personal isuues. His impact on the team this season might be larger than most imagine. I have a feeling that Derrick Burgess could be an important player for the 2010 New England Patriots.  

3. Patrick Chung might be on the verge of becoming an impact player at safety.  It was only one pre-season game, but Chung was constantly around the ball and seemed to always be in the right place to make the tackle.

last year his play might have been mechanical at times. He could be comfortable enough in his second season to play with his instincts. He is far from being the second coming of Rodney Harrison, but he could be taking giant steps to becoming a quality safety.

4. The wide receiver corps should be fine without Torry Holt.  The Patriots have three players that can potentially fill the void of the third receiver. Julian Edelman I think has the chance to be a special player. He certainly flashed a great deal in the pre-season game.

Brandon Tate I have been following since he played in college at North Carolina. The media has been mentioning often that he has had a good training camp. You also have draft pick Taylor Price to choose from. Going into training camp I kept hearing concerns regarding the receivers. There is a possibility that those concerns will go away if someone steps up to take that third wide receiver position. I’ll put my money on Edelman.

5. The middle linebackers could become the focus of the Patriots defense for years to come. Just two seasons ago the strength of the defense was the defensive line. For several seasons you could point to Richard Seymour, Vince Wilfork, and Ty Warren as the best part of the defense. With Ty Warren on injured reserve and Richard Seymour gone before last season, this unit is definitely not the dominant force it used to be.

However, I think the new strength of the defense could become the middle linebackers.  Jerod Mayo and Brandon Spikes have a chance to be a dynamic duo and make a  huge impact this season.

Middle linebackers in the past have been a huge part of the Pats defense. Roman Phifer, Ted Johnson and Tedy Bruschi were all major cogs of defenses that won Super Bowls. Mayo and Spikes have the potential to be the play-makers of the future.   

Well, those are my five thoughts of this week regarding the New England Patriots. I am sure I will have more thoughts to discuss next week.