By Connor Fulton @ConnorFultonRS on July 12, 2014
On July 24, the dog days of summer officially begin in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Just like every preseason, the New England Patriots will walk onto the practice field with visions of confetti falling in February. However, the Super Bowl is a light year away—right now, all the talk is about training camp. Here are the five biggest rumors surrounding the Patriots as July 24 approaches.
Johnson’s displeasure with the Houston Texans has reached a new level, with trade rumors rampantly circling the future Hall-of-Famer. Four unknown teams are in the running for Johnson’s services, and one of those destinations could be New England. For that to happen, however, the Patriots would have to fork over a bunch of money. They would also be forced to cut a young receiver like Kenbrell Thompkins.
The Patriots will enter training camp with a crowded backfield; Shane Vereen, Brandon Bolden, and rookies James White and Roy Finch will all be competing for roster spots along with Ridley. The inconsistent Ridley is not a lock to make the team because of his ball security issues and the wealth of talent at the position, so don’t be too surprised if he has to earn his keep during preseason.
Collins is one of the better-kept secrets in the NFL right now. He exploded onto the scene late last season, displaying an exciting blend of pass rushing, playmaking, and athletic ability. Collins didn’t let that success get to his head however, as he earned the team’s “Workout Warrior” award over the offseason. Expect big things from Collins in his sophomore season.
When the Patriots acquired Brandon Browner this offseason, they were fully aware that he would be out for the month of September. Ryan is the reason the Pats were content with Browner missing this chunk of time. The Rutgers product showed flashes of stardom as a rookie, highlighted by his five interceptions, but Alfonzo Dennard will do his best in camp to secure the starting spot himself.
The Patriots lack of depth at the tight-end position has been well publicized, with many arguing that the team should take the best player available on the market. While the addition of a guy like Dustin Keller or Jermichael Finley would be interesting, it’s worth letting young players like Asa Watson and Justin Jones Jr. have their chances in training camp before inking a veteran.
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