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Counting On Tim Tebow And Danny Amendola: Lessons Learned From 2013 Training Camp Predictions

By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
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Tim Tebow (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Tim Tebow (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

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BOSTON (CBS) — Ah, training camp. It is a wonderful time of year if you’re a football nut, as the sight of the local football team on that freshly cut grass, running routes, making blocks and catching passes provides the exciting reminder that real, live football is only a month away.

In the meantime, Patriots fans will flock to Gillette by the thousands to watch practices, and the rest of us will all fill the free time with bold, declarative statements about expectations for the team, which players will shine, which players will fail, what the final roster will look like and much, much more. That’s what training camp is for, after all.

Yet in doing so, we tend to occasionally miss with a prediction or two. While that’s understandably a part of training camp prediction-making, it’s important that we all learn from our mistakes. With that in mind, here’s a look at what we were all saying a year ago (OK, here’s a look at what I was saying), along with a note on how we (I) can avoid similar misses this time around.

The Date: July 18, 2013
The Statement:
“The “injury-prone” tag is still unfair in describing Danny Amendola. … He’s been injured, yes, but it’s not as though he’s suffered muscle pulls or cramps that are indicative of chronic issues that will never go away. … Provided he’s used up all of his bad luck in the past two years, he should be a productive player for the Patriots.”

The Lesson: Here, I learned that you can make excuses for how injuries happen, but you can’t change the fact that they happened. Amendola suffered a groin injury in Week 1, which caused him to miss time and battle the pain all season long. This year, I’ll refrain from declaring him a healthy fellow.

The Date: July 18, 2013
The Statement:
“The next best option for Brady might be Jake Ballard. “

The Lesson: Woof, that is quite the swing and miss right there. The lesson here is to not rely on people with shredded knees. Now excuse me while I tone down my expectations for Dominique Easley.

The Date: July 26, 2013
The Statement:
“Adrian Wilson adds a lot to the Patriots’ secondary.”

The Lesson: Veteran additions are no guarantee to end up making the roster. Adrian Wilson, a past-his-prime veteran who was placed on season-ending IR before the season even began, added nothing to the Patriots’ secondary.

The Date: July 25, 2013
The Statement:
“The final roster spot will be a battle between Leon Washington and LeGarrette Blount, but Washington’s veteran experience — and abilities as a punt returner — gives him a distinct advantage over Blount.”

The Lesson: The thing about putting too much stock in past-their-prime veterans? Yeah, that one again.

The Date: July 25, 2013
The Statement:
“Julian Edelman is likely too valuable as a punt returner to lose his spot. However, Edelman could lose that job to Leon Washington, so that’s something worth keeping an eye on throughout camp.”

The Lesson: Julian Edelman did not lose his job to Leon Washington. As a matter of fact, Julian Edelman finished the season with more receptions than anybody else in the NFL, save for three guys, for more than 1,000 yards. Leon Washington finished the season with one rushing yard, zero receptions and one kickoff return for 19 yards.

The Date: July 26, 2013
The Statement:
“On the first day of practice, Tebow did indeed catch some passes in drills. … It could be an indication that the Patriots might use Tebow in some pass-catching role in some capacity. … So will the Patriots eventually use Tebow as a tight end this season? Let the speculation continue.”

The Lesson: Don’t count on Tebow to even make the team or stay in the league, let alone become an NFL receiver.

The Date: Aug. 8, 2013
The Statement (From Tim Tebow):
“I feel like I’m getting better every single day. More comfortable with the offense, better timing with everybody around me, better understanding of what the coaches want me to do and with the offense, with the reads, with the timing.”

The Lesson: Ha. Silly Tebow.

So there you have it. I do solemnly swear to not make the same mistakes again this year. By the way, with Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner in the mix, the Patriots have a chance to boast the best defense in the league. Also, Aaron Dobson is going to make huge contributions as a second-year receiver, and expect All-Pro seasons out of the healthy Danny Amendola and Rob Gronkowski. Furthermore, Jimmy Garoppolo will be a stud at multiple positions. All of this, you can take to the bank, for sure.

Read some more accurate prognostications from Michael Hurley by clicking here, or find him on Twitter @michaelFhurley.

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