By: Steve Balestrieri
The New England Patriots have finished the first 8 days of training camp and now are preparing for their first pre-season game as well as joint practices against the Philadelphia Eagles this coming week.
We did our Roster 2.0 in June after Mini-camp and think it’s a good time to do the third version now. Look for version 4.0 in about 2 weeks after some pre-season action. All players are listed, players in bold are projected keepers.
Tom Brady and the Patriots offense will have a lot of new faces on it this season. (FILE:USPresswire)
All three quarterbacks make the roster, no change there. Tebow is an intriguing prospect at QB. The team has invested a lot of time and effort into developing his skills and has had him working with Coach Brian Daboll exclusively every day. Mallett is still inconsistent at times but has improved.
Running Backs (4)
Blount loses out to Bolden who has looked much sharper in training camp thus far. Blount just seems slow to hit the holes and isn’t a big a factor in the passing game. Winn is a candidate for the practice squad.
The Patriots won’t be keeping a fullback this season, they’ve worked Develin around a bit but it won’t be enough to stick.
Wide Receiver “X” (4)
Thompkins has worked his way onto the roster and should get lots of reps. Jenkins started camp strong but has tailed off and is now hurt. Aiken is nosing him out at this point, but veteran presence may yet win him back a job. Dobson has developed quickly. Slater is a captain, a special teams Pro-Bowler and one of the best in the league at that.
Perhaps the biggest disappointment has been Harrison who possesses incredible size and athleticism to be a big part of the offense. He’s been unable to get on the field due to an injury and is falling far behind in the development process.
Wide Receiver “Z” (3)
Amendola is everything they hoped for at this point and has quickly got in tune with Brady. Boyce has stepped up his game in camp thus far and can run inside or outside. Edelman is healthy (for now at least) and has Brady’s trust as well as being a valuable punt returner.
Tight End (4)
Jake Ballard is really struggling with his surgically repaired knee and has been hobbling badly before missing Saturday’s practice. Sudfeld has stepped up his play and is becoming a valuable target in the passing game. Ford, a converted wide receiver hasn’t flashed and has had numerous drops.
Solder and Vollmer are locks as solid starters, Svitek was a good quality pickup and can spot start if needed. Zusevics is an intriguing player and the team may yet find a way to keep him.
Mankins is locked in at one position and Connolly is fighting it out with Cannon although both are hurt now at the other. Cannon has the versatility to play guard or tackle. With injuries Green has been getting a lot of quality reps with the first team. It could bode well for him at camp cut-down time.
Defensive Ends (5)
Jones and Ninkovich are locks and a big jump in production is expected in Jones’ second season. Benard has really stepped up his play in recent days and now healthy after two seasons of frustration, he could be the reclamation project of this season. Buchanan goes to the practice squad.
Defensive Tackles (4)
Anthony Rashad White
Wilfork and Kelly look to be a dynamic pair, Armstead was expected to contribute but surgery to correct an infection may land him on the IR and able to return later this season. Forston in his absence has logged quality snaps and played well. The final spot could come down to Grissom or Vellano.
No change, the top three starters are firmly entrenched although Spikes will not be the 3-down player he hoped to be, Fletcher and Collins are getting good reps in sub-packages and Hightower has been very good in all three downs. Beauharnais got some first team reps this week and is a solid tackler.
With Dowling once again on the shelf with an injury, his position is anything but a lock and may be pushed by Cole. Talib has had a fantastic camp; Dennard stood out the first few days as well but hasn’t seen much work lately. Perhaps it is only the team seeing how can step up in his absence if his court case goes bad for him.
A big but somewhat overlooked story thus far is how far down the chart Tavon Wilson has dropped. He was supposed to challenge Adrian Wilson for starting snaps but has not done so and has been seen taking reps with the third unit. Adrian Wilson and Gregory have been sharing starting reps and with McCourty taking some reps at CB this week, the starters were both A. Wilson and Gregory. Duron Harmon has played well thus far in his rookie camp and earned some first team reps as well.
Special Teams (3)
No changes here for now but Allen the Ray Guy Award winner from Louisiana Tech was out-punting Mesko in the early going of camp. Mesko has since turned it up a notch and both are punting very well with Mesko now getting the nod over better situational work and pinning the ball deep inside the 10 yard line.
We’ve been at camp daily so if any of our readers or listeners have any questions about what’s happening there, please email or Tweet us and we’ll be happy to answer them.