By Michael LeDuc @mike_leduc on June 19, 2014
Training Camp is finally here and the New England Patriots hope to have as big a season as their offseason. This is a championship-caliber team with title hopes in mind. However, there are plenty of question marks remaining on this team. Here are 5 questions that need to be answered before the start of the season.
Wilfork had an interesting offseason after suffering from an Achilles injury. When Wilfork was injured, the Patriots had an obvious hole in the middle of their defense. This hindered New England's run defense, which led to problems in the secondary. Wilfork, along with Tommy Kelly, are important for this defense. They need to be healthy and ready to contribute.
Ridley's fumbles led him straight to the bench last season with the Patriots. Luckily, LeGarrette Blount was able to step in and be the no. 1 running back. Unfortunately, Blount signed with the Steelers, so Ridley is the no. 1 back on the depth chart. There will be absolutely no tolerance for his fumbles this year. Ridley better hold on to that ball because when he does, he's a difference maker on offense.
One of the Patriots' few weaknesses is at the strong safety position. Right now they have second-year player Duron Harmon and Patrick Chung, who was statistically the worst safety in the NFL. Harmon showed signs that he could play, but his role is much larger this season. New England is relying on Harmon, so he'd better produce.
The Patriots have some depth on the defensive line. Chandler Jones is a stud, they have plenty of Defensive Tackles, Rob Ninkovich does his job well and Will Smith could potentially add a lot to the table. But is it enough? This is a passing league, which means defenses need pass rushing. Jones is the only healthy and proven pass rusher on this team. Did the Pats do enough to strengthen their D-line this offseason?
Last season was a struggle for Brady and his receivers. Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski, when healthy, were the only receivers he could trust. It is absolutely crucial that Danny Amendola and rookies Aaron Dobson, Kenbrell Thompkins and Josh Boyce get on the same page with Brady. If they don't step up, it is going to be a long season for Brady and this offense.
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