By Justin Patrick @calling_allfans on August 1, 2014
Right now every NFL team is in the middle of training camp, and that includes the New England Patriots. Barring unforeseen injuries, there are some certainties, like Tom Brady starting at QB, but certain position battles and how the season will play out is far from decided. Here are five bold predictions for the Patriots in 2014.
So far Gronkowski has either played hurt during the playoffs or missed the postseason entirely due to injury. There’s no physical proof to decidedly say Gronkowski will be healthy for the playoffs and he’s coming off a season-ending injury (torn ACL), but based on the law of averages, he has to be healthy for a postseason sooner or later.
The Patriots selected White in the fourth round of the 2014 draft. Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen, both entering the final year of their contracts, will probably get the bulk of the carries at running back, but don’t forget about White. So far he has shown versatility as a rusher and a receiver, which could help him earn a decent amount playing time this season.
Jones, a first-round selection in 2012, had six sacks in his rookie season and 11.5 in 2013. Why will he make another leap in 2014? Jones played 98 percent of the defensive snaps in 2013, but he won’t be asked to do as much in 2014. He will be fresher when it’s time to pin his ears back and go after opposing QBs. The secondary will also be improved this year, making QBs hold onto the football longer which could translate into more sacks.
Collins, who is 6-foot-3, 250 pounds, played in all 16 games for the Patriots in 2013 (started eight). Brandon Spikes is now with the Buffalo Bills, so either Don’t’a Hightower or Jerod Mayo will take over at middle LB. There’s a great chance Collins solidifies his spot at one of the outside LB positions. He will see a lot of playing time due to a lack of depth at LB, and he is one of the most athletic and versatile players on the defense.
Brady has won two MVPs in his career — 2007 and 2010 (first unanimous choice since AP began using a nationwide panel of media members). In 2013, Brady threw for 4,343 yards with 25 TDs and 11 interceptions. He took the Patriots to the AFC Championship game despite not having a true No. 1 WR and the Patriots being hit with a litany of injuries. In 2014, Brady will show that he's the most valuable player in the NFL and the voting will reflect that.
March 27, 2015 by Shawn Spencer
The lack of depth on the Arizona Cardinals' roster was exposed after several crushing injuries. These five prospects would be immediate upgrades. Read More
March 27, 2015 by Michael Terrill
The Green Bay Packers' offense will become unstoppable with more shotgun and pistol formations being implemented into the scheme in 2015. Read More
March 27, 2015 by Julie Swartz
The Rams finished the 2014 season in last place in the NFC West. Fortunately, they've had a productive offseason, signing some key players. Here's how their top five moves grade out so far. Read More
LSU and TCU will be the main attractions for today's pro days. LSU prospects will look to improve their stock, while TCU prospects are seeking redemption. Read More
March 26, 2015 by Julie Swartz
The Indianapolis Colts are intent upon the Lombardi Trophy. Find out if their free agency decisions in 2015 suit that goal. Read More
March 26, 2015 by Jerry Landry
The Dallas Cowboys may not be able to change the call on Dez Bryant, but they can can control their destiny against these 2015 NFL opponents. Read More
March 26, 2015 by Gil Alcaraz IV
The familiarity and leadership Terence Newman brings is great, but it's not the move the Minnesota Vikings needed. Read More
March 26, 2015 by Bill Zimmerman
The Chicago Bears signed troubled defensive end Ray McDonald to a one-year contract earlier this week and its difficult to see the upside to this decision. Read More