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Training Camp Competitions

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by rookBoston, Jul 17, 2006.

  1. rookBoston

    rookBoston Rookie

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    QB(3) Brady, Cassel, Bramlett, Mortensen
    It will be interesting to see whether the braintrust brings a veteran into camp to compete with Bramlett and Mortensen. Accounts of the recent mini-camp were that Brady and Cassel stood head and shoulders ahead of either of the younger QBs. Going into camp without the QBs currently on the roster is a real vote of confidence in Cassel, and leaves the only drama in the competition between Bramlett and Mortensen for garbage duty.

    RB(5) Dillon, Moroney, Faulk, Mills, Pass, Evans
    I think the competition at training camp will not include Dillon or Moroney... they will both make the roster regardless of how camp shapes up. The most interesting competition will be between Pass and Evans, for the right to play veteran FB. I count Mills as a lock for the roster based on his draft status, long term potential and the fact that rookie contracts are an utter bargain for the team. I can imagine Evans winning the spot over Pass, although Pass is clearly the incumbant. The competition is likely to come down to roster versatility and usefulness on Special Teams, where Pass probably has the edge.

    WR(5) Branch, Caldwell, Jackson, Brown, Childress, Z.Smith, Stone
    The first four receivers are all locks, but the competition for the #5 spot is wide open. I have Childress as the favorite for the 5th spot, based on the fact that he has a year in the system, is a hard worker and had a good game against the Fins in 2005. The wildcard in the equation is whether any of the WR camp fodder are able to make a case for themselves based on skill in the kicking game. If someone like Zuriel Smith lock down the PR job, or flash something special in KR, then they could easily win the last spot. In the past, we've carried 6 receivers, but with our depth at TE and our lack of deep skill at WR, it looks unlikely in 2006.

    TE(3) Graham, Watson, Thomas
    No news here. There can hardly be anything more certain on the 53-man than this threesome. Whatever we think of our WR corp, the depth and athleticism of our TEs makes up for it. And if we flex Mills into TE based on need... well, that's just even better

    OT(4) Light, Kaczur, Gorin, O'Callaghan, Britt, Roehl, Hand
    The competition is for the 4th tackle position. I'm giving the nod to the oversized rookie, Ryan O'Callaghan, based solely on his size 6-7 330-- easily the biggest lineman on the roster. But, there are a number of prospects for the position who could easily claim it for themselves.

    OG(3) Mankins, Neal, Stevenson, Yates, Tucker, Steitz
    The 3rd guard, in practice, is probably Hochstein, who can play any of the five OL positions in a pinch. But, he's our primary at OC, so I wont double count him. In rookie camp, the braintrust was playing Stevenson at OC, so they may have something very similar in mind for him. The rest of the OGs on the roster actually seem to have some good upside. It'll be interesting to see how this evolves, but we probably have to give the rookie from ND the inside track.

    OC(2) Koppen, Hochstein, Barthelmes
    I think any drama at the OC position will be purely a question of whether Koppen returns for his contract year in good health. If he doesn't, I expect Hochstein to start, and Stevenson to be groomed as the #2, making roster room for someone like Yates or Tucker. But, if Dan is healthy and productive, there's not much to talk about here.

    NT(2) Wilfork, Sullivan, Smith, Wright, Thomas
    This will be one of the most interesting camp competitions, in my book. Sullivan is a former top-10 draft pick, but doesn't realize how tough he has it in saving his career from the brink of disaster. Smith sounds like a solid prospect, and Wright was the success story of TC last year. Getting busted with pot in his car is not a promising start-- he'll need to come into camp in shape and dedicated to proving he's not a bust, or he'll be flipping burgers for the next twenty years. He didn't even finish his degree at Georgia-- he came out early-- so he doesn't have much to fall back on, beyond his signing bonus.

    DE(4) Seymour, Warren, Green, Hill, Drame
    Dont see much competition here. The only question is whether Hill will ever break into the rotation on the regular D, or whether he's going to be a career inactive player. Kader Drame doesn't seem like serious competition.

    OLB(4) Vrabel, Colvin, Banta-Cain, Mincey, Claridge
    ILB(4) Bruschi, Beisel, Izzo, Davis, Gardner, Alexander, Roach, Mays, Woods
    Competition at LB will be wide open. The core five, consisting of Vrabel, Colvin, Bruschi, Beisel and Izzo, are locks. The question of the next three or four or five roster spots comes down to special teams play, and the ability to pinch-hit in crisis situations in the regular D. If any of the remaining players shows any upside to become anything more than a solid ST player, they have a distinct advantage. That's why I've listed Banta-Cain and Mincey as my favorites to make the roster at OLB. Davis and Gardner are both ST mavens, who can contribute in the regular D in an emergency. In this 53-man, Gardner's real competition is players like Mel Mitchell and Tebucky Jones, who are going to fill out the ST roster. That leaves Claridge, Alexander and the UDFA rookies on the outside looking in. Claridge is a tough call for me, because he's a recent draft pick and should fit well on the team. But I'm concerned that if he doesn't show up in camp this year, the team may be prepared to give up on him altogether. Any of the youngsters who flashes the best upside and a good mind for the design of the D should make the team. But I think a lot of these guys are heading for the practice squad.

    CB(5) Hobbs, Samuel, Gay, Scott, Andrews, Warfield, Poteat, V.Brown, Spann
    Hobbs and Samuel are the two locks, and competition for the next two or three CB positions is pretty wide open. Also in the competition at CB will be Eugene Wilson and Artrell Hawkins (given the great depth of talent at S, and their positional flexibility). Geno and Hawkins would both be very physical and strong CBs, which could be useful against "finesse" teams where some smashmouth, hard hitting is called for to set the tone. My choices of Gay and Scott over Warfield is based mostly on my lack of excitement over Warfield's abilities. KC was never any good on D with him starting for them. There is nothing in his history, demenor or performance at the mini-camp to make me very optimistic. Gay has been a nice surprise for us since his rookie year, and Scott drew some uncharacteristicly generous compliments from Belichick after last year's TC. Poteat is likely to go right back onto the Shadow Roster.

    I've kept Andrews purely as a KR. The fact that he's listed as a CB is a thin veil. Andrews's top competition for KR duty may be Vernell Brown, who was a sparkplug and captain for Urban Meyer, Belichick's new football buddy from UFlorida.

    S(6) Harrison, Wilson, Jones, Hawkins, Sanders, Mitchell, Scott, Ventrone, Herring
    I've decided to keep six safeties, with the expectation that the ST unit is going to be staffed from these players. It hurts me to lock Guss Scott off the roster, knowing that he could be a serious threat as a gunner. But after two injury filled seasons, he's got to prove something in camp to make the cut, especially with the quality depth in front of him.

    Really, there's quality competition at just about every position. The only exception is TE, where we seem to be locked and loaded with incredible talent. Interestingly, there is very little competition for starting positions. Most of the competition is 3 and 4 positions deep, and in the ST units.

    P(1) Miller
    Lock

    K(1) Gostkowski, Gramatica
    This looks like competition, but I think it's a pretty shallow ploy. The rookie gets the nod, and Gramatica is just on board to help provide a little bit of a veteran role model while the kid is finding himself in the NFL.'

    LS(1) Paxton, Condo
    Paxton actually has competition this year. I think Mills and/or Thomas also have LS experience from college, so it's no sure thing that the snow angel keeps his wings. Still, unless it's broke, why fix it?
  2. pats1

    pats1 Moderator PatsFans.com Supporter

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    One correction ;):

    OG(3) Mankins, Neal, Mruczkowski, Stevenson, Yates, Tucker, Steitz


    I also don't see any mention of Klecko or Gemera Williams (not like the latter matters!). You can also add Musinski, McGrew, Shelton, and Davis to the end of that WR list. Since a few more cuts (4) have to be made to accommodate rookies, I expect some of those could be shown the door.


    I'd probably also flip-flop Chad Scott and Warfield. Scott doesn't have the best history in the Steel-city, either (my sources say he was a frequent burn victim). We didn't get to see too much of him last year, but Warfield did appear to get the playing time edge in minicamp.
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2006
  3. T-ShirtDynasty

    T-ShirtDynasty Moderator

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    Great post Rook. Lots to think about, thank you!
    Just want to add that Big Britt is 6-8 and was 320 last year, before a year at the hands of Mike Woicik and crew (so who knows what he's at now), in addition he's got a year of Dante's O-Line School under his belt already.
  4. RayClay

    RayClay On the Roster

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    #75 Jersey

    Great post. One thing, isn't Claridge an ILB?
  5. pats1

    pats1 Moderator PatsFans.com Supporter

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    He played outside some in minicamp.

    Pierre Woods is an OLB though.
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2006
  6. flutie2phelan

    flutie2phelan Rookie

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    While superficially reasonable ... and even insightful ... this analysis must be deeply flawed.
    It agrees in altogether too many particulars with my own current mock roster.

    It may help to focus on the few positives.
    For example, i am confident that the final OT spot goes to Britt (or Gorin) ...
    while Mr. O'Callaghan's highest and best use is
    on IR for a year - learning NFL
    conditioning, strength, and technique.
    Rook thinking otherwise is to his advantage.

    Pats1 and i each rank Mruc above the unknown Stevenson ... and i imagine Mruc or Tucker
    claiming that job ahead of Stevenson. These forecasts combine to bode well for Stevenson.

    I would say that Sullivan already has squandered most of whatever shot he had, while Wright
    - who was the choice last season - is reported to only have improved himself.

    Several years ago one of my roles here was to insist that Larry Izzo was a legitimate
    backup ILB. If that was ever true ... it isn't now. ST or bust. And i suppose that his deficiencies
    last year catch up with our Pro Bowl ST captain this season.
    Give Don Davis ... cover ILB, emergency S, cover guy, and de facto asst. strength coach ... the final spot on the roster.

    Other than those few peccadillos, i can't see why anyone would take this work seriously
    since i wish i had written the rest of it!
  7. patsfan13

    patsfan13 Hall of Fame Poster PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Great Post, I I agree with most of it. Klecko most likely but could have been listed with the LB's. I think I would keep 1 more LB (Claridge) and 1 less Safety.

    Thanks for helping us get ready for camp!
  8. patsox23

    patsox23 Rookie

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    I echo the "great post" posts, but wanted to point out that Mike Wright is really more of an End, not a NT, despite having seen time there last year. Obviously he has some positional flexibility, which is good, but like I said, my understanding is that he'll be competing, mainly, for a DE spot.
  9. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    1010101010
  10. MoLewisrocks

    MoLewisrocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    The snow angel is a lock. One or both of Mills or Thomas may earn the designation as emergency LS with the goal of never seeing them lined up in that awkward position. Or flumoxing a rookies kicks.
  11. pats1

    pats1 Moderator PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Doty wasn't cut. Wouldn't expect him to make the roster, though!
  12. pats1

    pats1 Moderator PatsFans.com Supporter

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    The Pats actually went in with only 3 RBs last year (Dillon, Faulk, Pass (FB), with Chapman on the practice squad until he was picked up by the Colts. In came Zereoue, Cloud, and Evans.

    Evans has an uphill battle to fight, but Pass has and will remain the starting FB in this offense. Mills plays with a different dynamic, and I'd personally put him in with the TE group, not with the RBs. He's known for pass catching, not running and blocking. Pass is more of a prototypical backfield player, and also return some kicks if needed. I personally think it's Maroney who kicks out Evans and Mills who kicks out a 6th WR/KR (i.e. Bethel), with Maroney/Jackson/Caldwell/Faulk/Hobbs/Bam taking over the KR/PR duties.
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2006
  13. BelichickFan

    BelichickFan B.O. = Fugazi PatsFans.com Supporter

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    My Comments (and thanks for the great FOOTBALL thread) :

    It's all over for the backup QB spot, if they didn't have confidence in Cassel someone else would be in. It's starting to look like a veteran #3 guy may not be brought in either. I still hope for just two QB with one of the young guys on the PS. Sure the chance exists that Brady and Cassel could get hurt in the same game but it's pretty damn small.

    I think Maroney and Dillon will be in competition this year - I wouldn't be at all surprised if Maroney gets more carries than Dillon by the end of the season.

    I'm thinking I'd list Smith ahead of Sullivan behind Wilfork for now. Sullivan has the talent to change that but you know Belichick wasn't happy getting the call about his newly acquired player being arrested. Sullivan had better show up in good shape.

    I hate to say "I agree" but there's little to disagree with on the rest. It certainly does look like we'll be using more Safeties than LB on ST this year. Hopefully that will improve the overall speed. I still want Law back - Law, Hobbs, Samuel is a trio that excites me with Gay as the top backup (I would still count Samuel as a starter with the amount of nickel we'll play with all the 3+ WR sets these days).
  14. Brady-To-Branch

    Brady-To-Branch Rookie

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    Guss Scott may have gotten raves from BB in TC '05, but he looked abysmal in the RS games he played. Chad Scott might be asked to play some safety and he's a good tackler. With Antrell Hawkins and James Sanders ahead of Guss on the depth chart, IMO, and with the prospect of RH returning either in Sept or off the PUP list, I think Guss must show amazing progress to have a chance at making the roster.
  15. Mike the Brit

    Mike the Brit Minuteman Target PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Disable Jersey

    You're not serious, are you, rook?

    When Sullivan signed for us, the Saints picked up a $10 MILLION DOLLAR cap hit! With that much cash behind you, who needs a degree?
  16. patchick

    patchick Moderatrix Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    The big 3: OT, NT, ILB

    Thanks, Rook...as I read this, there were just three positions where your analysis gave me pause: OT, NT and ILB. Then I noticed that many of the responses focused on those as well. All of which suggests to me that those are the three biggest stories/questions heading into camp.


    OT: Let's assume we all write in Light and Kaczur as starters. Rook also has Gorin as a lock, which is understandable -- he's the sole veteran and has played in 25 games for the Patriots in the past 2 seasons. But has he ever faced competition like this in camp? O'Callaghan is a highly touted draft pick, and the kind of true road-grader who could make a significant difference on short-yardage downs. He's the rawest OT on the roster, but a probable keeper as a project with major upside at either RG or RT. Britt, meanwhile, is a smart pass blocker with a great frame. If the team thinks he's a legitimate prospect to play LT, that might get him the nod over Gorin's experience.


    NT: Wilfork, check. After that is wide open. As others have noted, Mike Wright appears to be heading outside to DE (which makes that position a little murkier). But I can make a case for any of Sullivan, Smith or Thomas as the leading NT candidate. I have a feeling that the survivor of that group will turn out to be a very pleasant surprise.


    ILB: Rook has pencilled in Bruschi, Beisel, Izzo and Davis, which is probably my #1 disagreement out of his whole projection. That leaves you with Beisel as the only player under the age of 32, and more importantly NO legitimate backup ILB. One of the young guys has to make the roster at this position. It may be as simple as shifting Claridge's name from the OLB to ILB column, but if some of the kids show up big in camp this could be the year we say goodbye to Don Davis.
  17. Brady-To-Branch

    Brady-To-Branch Rookie

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    A fool and his money...

    If Sullivan "eats" or "dumbs" his way out of football, I doubt $20mil will be enough for him to live on for 10 years. He's got bad friends, no smarts, a poor attitude, and no clue. Guys like that are a sieve with money.
  18. Ochmed Jones

    Ochmed Jones Rookie

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    #12 Jersey

    I haven't heard about the size of Sullivan's posse, but my guess is that most of that signing bonus has been snorted or smoked away.

    The good news is that there are going to be several openings for beer vendors in Athens Georgia for work this fall.
  19. 5 Rings for Brady!!

    5 Rings for Brady!! Rookie

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    Brady to Branch:

    I may be the only one who suspects Sullivan of already having a part time job. One where he makes $4,000.00 at about 4:00 A.M.

    I also may be the only one who thinks that if the cops had tracked him down an hour earlier, he might be going to jail for the next 5 years or so, under a mandatory minimum jail sentence.

    And if the cops caught up with him an hour later, he may have had nothing in the car at all except about $4,200.00 or so.

    Just a crazy theory of mine. :D
  20. Brady'sButtBoy

    Brady'sButtBoy Rookie

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    A few battles interesting to me-

    QB- Bramlett makes team due to subconscious influence of matching initials with head coach. Whoops, that's Bonnie Bramlett the singer, this guy is named Corey. Well, then maybe he makes it because BB will be thinking about his CB's an awful this camp.

    RB- I'm going out on limb here a bit, but if LoMo and Mills show they can pick the blitz in the backfield then I wonder if Faulk is on the bubble, not Pass. At some level BB has to be tired of Faulk's killer fumbles and he certainly is tradeable, though his cap hit for a part-time back is a bit high @$2.5 million (the Pats would 'save' $1 million by outright cutting him) and it's REALLY high for a third string back up, which is what Faulk would be. Faulk's troubles double if Maroney's pass catching continues to improve in camp since Maroney will certainly be first in line to rest Dillon, if not be the actual starter. Pass and Evans barely cost the team $1million combined and offer good versatility and value as high end ST'ers. With Dillon and LoMo running, LoMo/Mills doing third down work and Pass or Evans the spare parts with size, Faulk could be gone...a 3rd rounder anyone? If it sounds outrageous think of it this way - last year we had Dillon, Faulk, Pass, Evans. Just switch out Faulk for Maroney and then Dillon, Maroney, Evans, Pass/Mills looks fine considering that LoMo appears to have the talent to be a true feature back making these four a much stronger group than with Faulk.

    WR - all hinges on Branch. If he isn't signed and delivered then everything changes. Assuming he works a new deal during camp then the only intrigue is Bam or Brown. Hard to bet against Troy in that contest.

    NT - Sullivan is in deep, deep do-do. Either he comes out flying and stays that way or he is way gone. Bethel could easily have been cut in camp if he hadn't been traded so the it's hard to argue Sullivan would be kept because he cost us a second rounder in theory. Axing a high profile name (noitce I said name not player) like Sullivan seems just the kind of knife work every coach must feel the need to do at some point to get his team's attention. Sullivan landing on the IR is also a strong possibility.

    DE - It's hard to imagine Hill getting cut but it's time he made some noise since he was picked in the 2nd round and costs more than contributors like Hobbs, Banta-Cain, Kaczur, Evans, Sanders, and Gay.

    LB - needing some youth and excitement at LB, BB works a miracle with Roach who pushes Beisel for playing time. $816K for Izzo when it costs the team zero to cut him? I don't think so, not when a youngster like Alexander would be the one who'd have to go, so Izzo is no lock. If Mincey doesn't go IR then Clairidge better come ready to hit or he's in trouble. Possible surprise move here? Axing Banta-Cain if he doesn't show he can get to the QB with consistency in camp. Zero charge off for this move while saving half a million and making room for Mincey and Clairidge.

    S - Jones is no lock, even if Rodney isn't ready to go. Jones isn't a great tackler even though he hits hard. If a few RB's bounce off him for long gains or if he whiffs on punt coverage in TC then he's gone (only costs $150K to cut and saves $750K). If'n Rodney's not ready, the starting job could be Sanders' to win if he can out tackle T-Buck and cover consistently like Atrell can. Either way, Hawkins is a lock. Scott is really a complete unknown at this point. Wilson, Harrison, Sanders, Hawkins - that's the core at this point. The rest are mix and match. So much youth already at safety works against Herring, who might shine in TC with a willingness to hit hard.

    CB - a weak area last year still has many question marks. Randall Gay returning to 2004 form would solidify things greatly. Hobbs and Samuel are the only two sure things! Think about that for a moment and you can clearly see why the Pats want Ty Law. If we don't get Law and Gay struggles, then this group needs major help because choosing your nickel back/first back-up from the Scott, Warfield, Poteat bunch is mighty scary for us, since it wouldn't scare any opposing QB's. What a gift it would be if Andrews can actually play CB with some elan. As stated before, Gay is the key to this group if Law signs elsewhere.

    K - Gostkowski. Is there really any doubt? At least Gramatica could be low round trade bait if he kicks well.

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