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The Patriots are gearing up for their fist preseason game tonight against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Andy Hart from Patriots Football Weekly spoke with Toucher & Rich about thes game, player contracts and injuries.
What can we expect to see out of the Pats, and will Bill Belichick be concerned about injuries?
“At some point you have to trust these guys and put them on the field,” said Hart. “That’s what the conditioning run is for, that’s what your physicals are for. Once they reach that point where they’re putting helmets and pads on in practice, I think you have to say OK they’re ready to play. Maybe that doesn’t mean risking Brady and some of the super stars…”
Once guy Hart expects to see a lot of in the preseason is first round draft pick Nate Solder.
“Matt Light hasn’t practiced yet; he’s on PUP from offseason surgery. So just in case you need to have solder ready to be your starter. He didn’t have all offseason to work on the playbook, so he needs some reps,” said Hart.
Over on the defensive end, Hart said that the secondary is looking great. Second year Corner Devin McCourty looks as good as he did in his breakthrough rookie season, and Leigh Bodden is coming back nicely from shoulder injury that kept him out all of 2010.
“I think they’re managing it. He’s a guy with a history of knee issues and it sounds like he wasn’t quite ready to take the field when he got here,” said Hart, adding that Haynesworth has received some treatment on his knees.
“It’s obviously a concern when you can’t get a guy on the field to start the season; what happens when the wear and the tear of the season comes along. But I think they’re just being smart there and managing that,” said Hart, who is not concerned about Haynesworth’s absence in camp taking away from his regular season contributions.
And now that Logan Mankins has reportedly signed a long-term deal with the Patriots, who do the Patriots need to focus on next? Which one of Tom Brady’s favorite targets could be gone after the season?
What do you think? Should Belichick be worried about preseason injuries? And who should be the next Patriot to receive a long-term deal?