my feeling is that Jennings will be tried out more as an edge rusher than LB. He was pretty good edge guy for Alabama IIRC, but I'm not sure he has the quickness or speed to be a true OLB. Set the edge against the run? I think he'll be good at it. Rush the passer? I hope he will be decent. Drop into coverage, I don't think soReiss' Sunday column discussed LBs but zero mention of Anfernee Jennings.
Foregone conclusion AF is a likely roster cut?
New England needs better health and big growth from McMillan and others in the middle of its defense after moving on from three veteran leaders.www.espn.com
I believe we will see some combinations of Wilson, Mcgrone, McMillan, Bentley Uche and Perkns handling the bulk of the ILB and OLB duties with Judon being a hybrid Edge/OLB player, Also adding to the mix will be some combination of Dugger, Phillips and Peppers to mix and match at the 2nd level depending on the situation.
That is a WHOLE lot of speed at that level and a complete departure of what used to be a hallmark of Patriots LB's of the past 20 years. But as people keep on telling me "the league has changed" and clearly the Pats used this draft to begin the transition of speed to this defense AND offense.
Now I plan on being at most of the open practices once the pads go on, which will likely start on day 3, and what I'll be looking forward to seeing how things look until pregames start. I'll mostly be looking for improvement in all the guys we added last year, Do they seem more comfortable and efficient. Are the receivers running their routes better and are in more sync with Jones. I'll also be looking to see what differences I can determine in both the offenses and defenses. Of course I'll be looking closely at Strange to see if he can hold up to the big guys and use his quickness and speed as a power base to anchor as well as the rest of the draft class.
When the preseason games start we will start to get a better feel for the team and who's looking good and bad and develop our own personal binkies.
BTW- I don't see Thornton having a big impact his year, except in a situational role or on ST's. most WR's need a year to provide impact. I think they have enough depth so they can bring him along slowly, which IMHO will be the best way to maximize his development over the next 5 years.
Still now more than ever the first 4 or so games are now extended preseasons where teams are still finding their ways, so early result both good and bad have to be taken with a grain of salt, so it will be into October before we can get a true feel fo what this team is likely to give us