Excited to be headed back to training camp practice with a press credential this morning. Well, the excitement now is really more to see some actual competition on the football field and to finally see the Patriots players take their camp frustrations out on another team.
There’s been plenty to be excited about through the first week-and-a-half of practices. Young players like Deatrich Wise, Adam Butler and Harvey Langi have gotten thrown right into the fire. New veterans like Stephon Gilmore and Brandin Cooks have brought new excitement on both sides of the ball.
But getting worked up over the first week of training camp can be foolish. The list of training camp players we thought would be lifelong legendary Patriots — like Zack Sudfeld, Kenbrell Thompkins and Anthony Johnson. Those guys all ended up doing nothing for the do nothing Jets. So yeah, let’s keep our heads on straight about a few good training camp practices.
Today things get a little more interesting though. We’ll see the rookies go against some new competition and try to apply what they’ve learned over the past couple months.
Here are the five Patriots I’ll be focusing my attention on this morning.
- Deatrich Wise — This one feels obvious because it’s been all aboard the Wise bandwagon all week. Still it’s undeniable what Wise has shown and we can only hope he continues to build upon the solid start that he’s put together. I’m curious to see how he fares in one-on-ones, where the Patriots are using him (guessing a combination of left defensive end and interior pass rusher) and just how well any Jaguar veterans handle the youngster.
- Adam Butler — I haven’t had a chance to focus on Butler in my trips to camp so far. Today he’ll be atop my list, especially to get a gauge of how quick he is off the ball. As I wrote yesterday, there’s always a need for pass rushers, but sometimes it’s too easy to get excited about them. Anthony Johnson looked unblockable at times last summer, but his inability to play against the run eventually led to his demise in New England. How does Butler do overall? Or is he a one-trick pony who makes a couple splashy plays but ultimately isn’t well-rounded enough to play here.
- Ted Karras — Does the second-year lineman have a legit chance to unseat David Andrews or Shaq Mason? He’s been getting a long look at both spots, and has the kind of mauler ‘tude that is always welcome. Finally we can see Karras with a chance to prove himself against another team. A few punishing blocks could be just what Karras needs to stay in the starter conversation.
- Austin Carr/Devin Lucien — The two wideouts have gotten consistent praise early in camp, and I’d expect them to get plenty of action in this full padded practice. Can one of them sneak onto the roster? It still is a tall order, but guys who can get open quickly are so vital to this offense, it makes a lot of sense to stockpile as many as possible. Maybe one of them can beat out Amendola if they really stand out, we’ll see…
- Shea McClellin — As anyone who reads this blog knows I’m not the biggest McClellan fan, but I’ve been trying to give him a chance this summer. The fact is I think they’re going to have to lean heavily on him this year and his progression in his second year here is vital. Really, I’m just praying he makes a play that impresses me.