Today the media gets access to the Patriots OTAs so we’ll get some pictures and observations to help quench our thirst for football here as we prepare to enter the worst part of the offseason, aka The Void.
It’s important to understand that as much as I’ll be ready to dissect every minute detail, at this point it’s about teaching, not competition. So as much as we’ll want to read into who’s playing where and when, jobs aren’t being won or lost at this stage of the offseason. If anything it’s a chance for everyone to get on the same page and get a fundamental understanding of how business will be done when training camp opens in two months.
However, it will be interesting to see who is participating. If there’s one thing we will get a good sense of, it’s who’s still in recovery mode and not quite ready to make it onto the field, even for light practices.
Some injured guys to be on the look out for:
Dion Lewis – Wes Welker was at OTAs in 2010 after tearing his ACL just five months earlier and while he was still managed into training camp and the regular season, it was an incredibly positive sign that his recovery was quickly headed in the right direction. Dion Lewis is almost seven months removed from his ACL tear, and with reports coming in that he’s on schedule to be ready for the season opener, his presence on the field would be a big step forward.
Julian Edelman – Edelman was spotted in a walking boot just a couple weeks ago after having a “cleanup procedure”. It seems unlikely that he’ll be on the field so soon after, especially since everyone knows what he’s capable of and there’s no need to push him.
Dont’a Hightower – Hightower had knee issues that bothered him last season, reportedly a sprained MCL that he hurt against the Broncos, then re-injured against the Titans. Hightower should be fine but with his physical style of play he could be one who has a lot more going on that we know. It’ll be reassuring to see him back in the mix, especially after his extended recovery from a torn labrum last season.
Nate Solder – Solder tore his biceps last season, but has popped up in various team photos in recent weeks. I’d expect him to be a near lock to be back at his starting left tackle spot, a welcomed site indeed.
LeGarrette Blount – Blount’s 2015 season ended with a hip injury but avoided surgery. However the Pats must be concerned with his durability as his new one-year deal includes a split if he gets injured. If he didn’t need surgery, Blount should be out there.
Aaron Dobson, Trey Flowers, AJ Derby and Darryl Roberts are other interesting players who ended their seasons on IR and worth monitoring for their attendance. Of course, there’s always a surprise injury absence or two as well. Guys who had surgeries that were never reported. That’s just how the Pats roll.
But at least it will be nice to see the team back on the field, a small nibble that will have to help get us through the upcoming worst part of the offseason