BOSTON (CBS) – Patriots training camp kicks off one week from Thursday, and to help break down some of the positional battles Rich Keefe of 98.5 The Sports Hub’s The Adam Jones Show welcomed in Eric Frenz of Bleacher Report and Boston.com.
Quarterback Tom Brady is entering his 15th season in the National Football League and will turn 37 on August 3. The signal caller doesn’t move around quite as well as he used to, so protecting him will be paramount in 2014 and beyond as he plays into his football golden years.
To address this issue, the Patriots drafted three offensive lineman in May’s draft, and Frenz believes they can challenge not only for roster spots, but for playing time as well.
“One spot to look at is the offensive line. They drafted three offensive lineman in the draft this year and all three of those guys look like they’re going to make the roster so it’s going to push some people out,” said Frenz. “It’ll be interesting to see where they trim in other positions and go a little lighter, but you’re looking at guys like Bryan Stork at center and Jon Halapio at guard who can both be starting candidates for jobs this year if they can win out in training camp.”
Longtime assistant and offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia, 66, retired in the offseason after spending 30 seasons with the Patriots. Scarnecchia, known affectionately as “Scar,” was as good as anyone piecing together offensive lines — often times with less than impressive personnel.
Rich Keefe wonders if Scarnecchia’s absence was a reason for the team to draft so many offensive lineman.
“Was this a year to just sort of throw numbers at it, or was this just a year where they needed to replenish that spot?” Keefe asked.
“There’s different theories to that. If they’re going to be running a different protection scheme on the offensive line then you have to wonder if they’re looking in other directions to kind of move on from guys like Dan Connolly or Ryan Wendell. Or maybe they just felt those guys were in need of a slight push,” said Frenz.
“Both of those guys had a down year last season and you can make the argument that even though Wendell was brought back on a two-year deal he could be playing for his job this year. They did not give him very much guaranteed money. They could realistically start Bryan Stork at center this year and not feel too badly about having Wendell on the bench, or cut.”
Listen below for more positional breakdowns: