In this episode of Patriots Fourth And Two, we discussed the positives and the negatives from the last pre-season game for the Patriots. Next, we discussed the contract extension of Aaron Hernandez, and how his new deal could affect Wes Welker getting a new contract.
We wrapped up the show by each host giving five players to watch in the final pre-season game that could be on the bubble of making the Patriots roster. Please do take a listen.
Reportedly, the Patriots are about to sign un-drafted running back Jeff Demps from the University of Florida, and he is also a recent Olympic silver medalist with blazing speed. He does have a background as being a returner, and that made me think about the future of Julian Edelman with the Patriots.
I know Demps is a running back, and Edelman is a wide receiver, but at this point in his career, I feel Mr. Edelman would make this team as a returner. Edelman could be on the hot seat the rest of the pre-season attempting to hold on to his job.
In college, Demps averaged 28.25 yards per return which is pretty good, and in his freshman year also had a few punt returns so he does have some experience in that area as well. He also had a very productive career running the ball averaging 6.73 yards per carry, and had 23 touchdowns for his career.
Now, I could see why some might think that Danny Woodhead could be on the hot seat, but that is not how I see it. Woodhead has been a productive and clutch running back for the Patriots. He averaged 4.6 yards per carry last season which is really good. He has been more than just a third down back, and I feel has a significant role on the Patriots.
In the case of Demps, he could be used at running back, but like we have seen with other running backs lately, he might have to wait a season to truly get a chance to play.
So, that leaves us with the potential of Demps being a returner. The Patriots have lacked a real good kick-off returner for awhile now. He might be able to fill that role, and maybe get a shot at punt returner as well.
Edelman has had his moments with the Patriots, but his flashes have been too far apart. As a wide receiver he has not lived up to the potential we saw in his first season as he had 37 receptions in 2009. The last two seasons, he has had a combined 11 receptions.
Coach Belichick likes players that have versatility and upside. Demps has the potential to be a returner in his first season, and maybe has a role as a running back in future seasons.
On the flip side, Edelman has a role as a returner, but I don’t see him have any upside as a wide receiver since his production has gone down the last two seasons.
So, if you want to look at a battle for a roster spot, I think Mr. Edelman will have to beat out a silver medalist from the Olympics to stick with the Patriots this season. I will be following these two players closely the rest of the pre-season.
In this episode of Patriots Fourth And Two, we looked back at the Patriots first pre-season game against the Saints. Then, we focused on the upcoming pre-season game against the Eagles, and shared what we will be looking for from the Patriots.
We were also joined during the show by Tanya Ray Fox who is a writer for shesgamesports.com. Please do take a listen.
Wednesday at 7PM EST will be another live episode of the internet radio showÂ Patriots Fourth and TwoÂ .Â WeÂ will look back at the Patriots first pre-season game against the Saints, and then look forward to the next game which is Monday Night against the Eagles.
Football is back and the Patriots will be back in action at home with a pre-season game Thursday Night against the New Orleans Saints. Kickoff will be at 7:30 PM EST at Gillette Stadium, and there are several players to really focus on for the Patriots on both sides of the ball. Here are “Ten Patriots Players To Watch For Against The Saints”.
10. Marcus Cannon – This offensive lineman was a fifth round draft pick out of TCU in 2011, and showed promise at the end of the last season. With all of the offensive lineman out, he will be counted on to help protect Tom Brady. I have heard mixed reports regarding his play so far in Training Camp. He will definitely be a player to watch against the Saints.
9. Nate Solder – This left tackle has the responsibility for taking over the job of Matt Light at protecting Brady’s blind side. Solder was a first round draft pick last season, and looked pretty solid during the season. However, he will be asked to do more this season as he has a very important job. I think he is up for the position, but Thursday Night against the Saints will be his first true test.
8. Shane Vereen -Â This 2011 second round draft pick out of California, did not play much last season as he was dealing with an injury early in the year. When he did play, we got a glimpse of the burst that he had in college. In a very limited role he had a long run of 19 yards, and looks like he could have break away potential. I will be watching him because the Patriots offense could use a running back that can offer something special.
7. Ryan Mallett – As Brady gets older, it is only normal to think about the future at the quarterback position. Mallett was a third round draft pick in 2011 out of Arkansas, and some experts predicted he would go in the first round.
He actually was pretty impressive in his first pre-season game against Jacksonville last season, as he had a passer rating of 108.2, and threw for 164 yards. However, in the next three pre-season games he struggled, and definitely looked like a rookie quarterback.
Mallett has the rocket arm, but so far he has shown me a very slow release which could get him into trouble in the NFL. For him to become a starter someday he is going to need to speed up how he reads defenses, and releases the ball. Thursday Night will be the first test to see how much he has progressed as a quarterback.
6. Bobby Carpenter – This linebacker has never lived up to the hype of being a first round draft pick after playing seven seasons in the NFL. However, so far in camp reportedly he has been involved in many of the sub packages the Patriots have been showing on defense. He certainly looks like he has settled in nicely to this role.
Brandon Spikes has been out of action for several practices now, and Carpenter could get a serious chance to play in his absence. Before Training Camp began, I had my doubts about Carpenter making the team. He will have a huge opportunity on Thursday Night to show if he belongs.
5. Brandon Lloyd – This wide receiver has looked very impressive in camp, and seriously looks nothing like the former player that wore the number eighty five for the Patriots. What has been impressive about Lloyd is he has the ability to not only stretch the field, but jump and fight for the ball.
Last season he caught seventy balls combined with Broncos and the Rams. He might not get those types of numbers this season, but he could have the quality receptions that could take the Patriots offense to the next level if that is possible. A huge asset has to be that Lloyd knows the offense, and I am looking forward to watching him against the Saints.
4. Tavon Wilson – This rookie safety was taken in the second round, and the Patriots were highly criticized by so called draft experts who had him going later in the draft.
The Patriots had a serious issue with a partner for Patrick Chung at safety last season. I am hoping this former University of Illinois player can be the solution for this season.
So far at training camp, I have been encouraged by what I have seen from Wilson. He has lined up at safety, and in certain sub-packages has been in at linebacker. This could be another player that has serious versatility, and I am interested to see what he could bring to the defense.
3. Chandler Jones – This defensive end was drafted in the first round from Syracuse, and I expected him to ease into the defense. So far in training camp, he has been very impressive, and reportedly been a part of the starting defense. He is listed as weighing 260 pounds, but he looks like he put on some extra muscle to his frame. His build reminds me of Richard Seymour, and lets hope someday he plays like the former Patriots player.
The Patriots need a player that can get off the edge, and get after the quarterback, along with stopping the run. I will be watching Jones to see if really does have that potential that I have already seen in Training Camp.
2. Dont’a Hightower – This first round linebacker from the University of Alabama has looked like a natural already in camp. Hightower is huge for a linebacker weighing 270 pounds and being 6 feet and 4 inches tall.
I have seen him all over the field from his outside linebacker position. On one play, he came up to blow up a screen, and then the next play I watched him dropping into coverage to cover the tight end. Hightower I feel looks like the player that Coach Belichick hoped Adalius Thomas would be a few years ago.
You can see his versatility, but he has something that I think the Pats defense has been missing, and that is a mean streak. I will be watching him closely against the Saints to see if he has that nastiness.
1. Steve Gregory - I have been very critical of this nine year safety from Syracuse. I have watched his entire career, and I am not convinced he is the answer at safety. He is an aggressive player that can hit like Rodney Harrison, but takes bad angles to the receiver like Brandon Meriweather.
Reports so far in camp have been very positive on Gregory as he has thrown himself into the playbook, and so far has played well. Reportedly, he has been partnered with Chung at safety on the starting defense mostly in camp.
I will give Gregory a chance to prove me wrong, and will certainly be watching him against the Saints. He is definitely the Patriots player I will be watching the closest.
Well, those are ten players that I will certainly be focused on in this game against the Saints. I will follow up this article with a review of how these players fared in the first pre-season game of the season.
Finally, if you didn’t get a chance to check out the latest episode of Patriots Fourth And Two, please do take a listen below.
In the latest epsisode ofÂ Patriots Fourth And TwoÂ we continued to update you with the latest stories at Training Camp. We also discussed the upcoming Pre-Season Game against theÂ SaintsÂ on Thursday. Please do take a listen.
Tuesday at 7PM EST will be another live episode of the internet radio showÂ Patriots Fourth and TwoÂ .Â WeÂ will continue to discuss the latest from PatriotsTraining Camp, and we will also get you ready for the first pre-season game on Thursday against the Saints.
Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady turned thirty five years old on Friday, and it didn’t take long for the media to talk about how much longer Brady could play at an elite level. Â Brady has mentioned in interviews several times that he wants to play into his forties. Already I have heard media members doubting his ability to be one of the best in the game at forty years old. Well, my question is, why can’t Tom Brady be an elite quarterback at forty years old?
Let me first say that the odds are against him as not many have been able to play at an elite level even getting close to this age. I will give you two quarterbacks that did very well late in their thirties.
At the rate Tom Brady is going, it wouldn’t be a big surprise to see him playing well into his 40′s. (FILE:USPresswire)
1) Kurt Warner: Warner had a very productive ending to his career in the NFL and played until he was thirty eight years old. In his last season with the Cardinals, he had a passer rating of 93.2, and a 66.1 completion percentage. The year before his last, he brought the Cardinals to their only Super Bowl.
2) Brett Favre: Favre played until he was 40 years old, but his last season honestly was not very productive. However, at age 39 years old, he had an elite season with a passer rating of 107.2 and completed 68.4% of his passes with the Vikings.
In regards to Brady, the odds have been stacked up against him before he entered the NFL as a sixth round draft pick. For a future hall of fame quarterback, I would not rule out that he could be the exception to the rule with being able to play at an elite level at forty years old.
Here is what Brady has working in his favor in regards to his ability at forty years old. First, he is not a quarterback that has leaned on his athletic ability with playing the position. He is not a running quarterback, but has the unique ability to successfully slide in the pocket and evade rushers. He does not have this rocket arm, but can make all the throws very accurately. He gets the most out of his athletic ability, and that might not diminish as some think as he gets very late in his career.
Second, Brady’s biggest strength could be his decision making in the pocket, and using his mind to make the best decisions quickly. This should not change much as he gets older, and this is a major reason, I see him having a chance to be elite at forty years old.
Third, you could argue that his arm is the age of a thirty four year old as he lost a full season of football in 2008, because of Â torn ACL. Brady might have some extra tread on his tire.
Fourth, with the rules of the games protecting quarterbacks even more, his elite career could be extended if he stays fairly healthy. The game is very different than even 15 years ago when John Elway was winning Super Bowls late into his thirties.
Lastly, Brady’s work ethic is a huge plus that needs to be mentioned. He might not be in Foxboro constantly during the off-season now, but that doesn’t change the fact that when he is at Gillette Stadium, he is working extremely hard at his craft. I see it now in Training Camp with how he demands the best out of every play.
I am sure some will read this, and tell me I am going to be wrong. These fans could be right because not many have been able to play at an extremely high level even getting close to forty years old.
However, if there is one quarterback that could prove everyone wrong, it would have to be Brady. I wouldn’t bet against him.